Best-selling thriller writer Robert Ludlum, author of The Bourne Identity, The Acquitane Progression, and The Moscow Vector, announced the end of his blockbuster career yesterday. Speaking to a packed meeting at the American Publishing Society conference in Florida, Ludlum said, “There comes a time when a man has to accept that he has run out of portentous sounding proper nouns.”

His decision was not a complete suprise to industry insiders following disappointing sales of his most recent novels, The Liberace Directive and The Spongebob Conspiracy. Ludlum said he would henceforth take a closer interest in movie adaptations of his work and spend more time with his family, writing only as a hobby, and then concentrating on children’s books. He joked, “Hell, if Madonna can do it, anyone can!” and waved the proof edition of his first foray into young fiction, The Odessa Heffalump.