Techno-thrillers (or "technothrillers") are a hybrid genre, drawing subject matter generally from spy thrillers,
war novels, and science fiction. They include a disproportionate amount (relative to other genres) of technical detail on its subject matter (typically military technology); only science fictiontends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various disciplines ( espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the particulars of that exploration.
Techno-thrillers tend to have a broad scope in the narrative, and can often be regarded as contemporary speculative fiction—world wars are a common topic—and techno-thrillers often overlap, as far as the genre goes, with near-future science fiction. To the extent that technology is now a dominant aspect of modern global culture, most modern thrillers are 'techno-thrillers', and the genre is somewhat diffuse. The category of technothriller blurs smoothly into the category of
hard science fiction; the defining characteristics of technothriller are an emphasis on real-world or plausible near-future technology and a focus on military or military-political action. Michael Crichtonand Tom Clancyare considered as the father of the "modern techno-thriller;" Crichton's book The Andromeda Strainand Clancy's book The Hunt for Red Octoberset out the type example which defined the genre, although many authors had been writing similar material earlier. Nigel Balchinwrote earlier examples of similar stories during the 1940s. Other early examples of techno-thriller, written before the category had been well defined as a subgenre, include " Fail-Safe" (1962) by Eugene Burdickand Harvey Wheeler, "The Penetrators" (1965) by Hank Searls(writing as Anthony Grey); Tree Frogby Martin Woodhouse(1966), "North Cape" (1969) by Joe Poyer, and "Firefox" by Craig Thomas' (1977), later made into a movie, and Shuttle Down, by G. Harry Stine(writing as Lee Correy) (1981).
Significant techno-thriller authors and works
The Hunt for Red October" — submarinetechnology, espionage
Red Storm Rising" — a (conventional) third world war fought in Europe between NATOand Warsaw Pactforces, military technology
** "Rainbow Six" — modern
** "Red Phoenix" — a specualitve military fiction novel about a Second Korean War, as told from the differing points of view of various American servicemen.
** "Vortex" — a South African war that spreads to neighboring nations and ultimately involves Cuba and the United States.
** "Cauldron" — a French and German led European Confederation go to war with the US, Great Britain and several Eastern European countries over the Polish, Czech and others refusal to join the European Confederation - satellite weapons,
military aircraftand nuclear weapons.
** "Nimitz Class" —
** "Kilo Class" —
submarinetechnology, U.S. Navy SEALs
** "H.M.S. Unseen"
** "U.S.S. Seawolf" —
submarinetechnology, espionage, U.S. Navy SEALs
** "The Shark Mutiny"
** "Barracuda 945"
** "Scimitar SL-2" —
** "Hunter Killer"
Flight of the Old Dog" — lasertechnology
Day of the Cheetah" — fighter aircrafttechnology, espionage
** "The Tin Man" —
Angels and Demons" — antimattertechnology
Deception Point" — about a discovery of a meteorite with proof of extraterrestrial life, microbotics, weapons technologies
Digital Fortress" — computer technologies
Flight of the Intruder"
** "Decipher" - nanotechnology, solar physics
** "Gene" - genetic engineering
Eric L. Harry
Arc Light" — a third world war including a large-scale nuclear exchange and the limited use of chemical and biological weapons.
** "Invasion" — a conventional Chinese invasion of the United States, infantry warfare.
** "The Grid" —
architecture, smart-building technology, feng shui
A Philosophical Investigation" — speculative neuropathology, philosophy, gender and criminal investigation
The Second Angel"
The Andromeda Strain" — plague
Jurassic Park", " The Lost World" — cloning, dinosaurs
** "Prey" —
State of Fear" — eco-terrorism
** "Timeline" —
Next (novel)" — genetic research
Douglas Prestonand Lincoln Child
The Ice Limit"
Dance of Death"
** "The Book of the Dead"
James Clancy Phelan
* James H. Cobb
The Arctic Event"
** "Killing Time" (set in mid-21st century)
** "Red Army"
The War in 2020"
* Leonard Crane
** "Ninth Day of Creation" —
biotechnology, germ warfare, protein folding
* Matthew Reilly
** "Area 7"
**"The Judas Strain"
**"Map of Bones"
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