Techno-thriller

From Academic Kids

Techno-thrillers 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; 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. They are often criticised for overwhelming the human characters with machinery.

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.

Michael Crichton is often regarded as the grandfather of the genre, his 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain combining elements of rigorous, hard science fiction and detective fiction in a thriller context. Craig Thomas' 1977 Firefox is the father of the modern military techno-thriller, although it was firmly rooted in the Cold War spy thriller genre; Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October is the first modern techno-thriller to be recognized as such, and Clancy has come to dominate the genre much as Stephen King dominates modern horror fiction.

Significant techno-thriller authors and works

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