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 fiction tends 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 Crichton and Tom Clancy are considered as the father of the "modern techno-thriller;" Crichton's book The Andromeda Strain and Clancy's book The Hunt for Red October set out the type example which defined the genre, although many authors had been writing similar material earlier. Nigel Balchin wrote 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 Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, "The Penetrators" (1965) by Hank Searls (writing as Anthony Grey); Tree Frog by 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

* Tom Clancy
** "The Hunt for Red October" — submarine technology, espionage
** "Red Storm Rising" — a (conventional) third world war fought in Europe between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, military technology
** "Rainbow Six" — modern counter-terrorism operations
* Larry Bond
** "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 aircraft and nuclear weapons.
* Patrick Robinson
** "Nimitz Class" — submarine technology
** "Kilo Class" — submarine technology, U.S. Navy SEALs
** "H.M.S. Unseen"
** "U.S.S. Seawolf" — submarine technology, espionage, U.S. Navy SEALs
** "The Shark Mutiny"
** "Barracuda 945"
** "Scimitar SL-2" — submarine technology, terrorism
** "Hunter Killer"
* Dale Brown
** "Flight of the Old Dog" — laser technology
** "Day of the Cheetah" — fighter aircraft technology, espionage
** "The Tin Man" — body armor technology
* Dan Brown
** "Angels and Demons" — antimatter technology
** "Deception Point" — about a discovery of a meteorite with proof of extraterrestrial life, microbotics, weapons technologies
** "Digital Fortress" — computer technologies
* Stephen Coonts
** "Flight of the Intruder"
* Stel Pavlou
** "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.
* Philip Kerr
** "The Grid" — architecture, smart-building technology, feng shui
** "A Philosophical Investigation" — speculative neuropathology, philosophy, gender and criminal investigation
** "The Second Angel"
* Michael Crichton
** "The Andromeda Strain" — plague
** "Jurassic Park", "The Lost World" — cloning, dinosaurs
** "Prey" — nanotechnology
** "State of Fear" — eco-terrorism
** "Timeline" — quantum mechanics
** "Next (novel)" — genetic research
*Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
** "The Relic"
** "The Ice Limit"
** "Mount Dragon"
** "Brimstone"
** "Dance of Death"
** "The Book of the Dead"
* David Hagberg
* James Clancy Phelan
* Clive Cussler
* James H. Cobb
**"The Arctic Event"
* Harold Coyle
* Caleb Carr
** "Killing Time" (set in mid-21st century)
* Ralph Peters
** "Red Army"
** "The War in 2020"
** "Dead Hand"
* Leonard Crane
** "Ninth Day of Creation" — biotechnology, germ warfare, protein folding
* Matthew Reilly
** "Ice Station"
** "Area 7"
** "Scarecrow"
*James Rollins
**"The Judas Strain"
**"Black Order"
**"Map of Bones"
**"Ice Hunt"
**"Deep Fathom"
*Jake Thoene
*Bill DeSmedt

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