For many, the word technothriller might conjure up images of futuristic worlds and far-fetched technology, but if that sounds too intimidating, hold up. Technothrillers might have their origins in sci-fi, but these days a technothriller isn’t necessarily a hard sci-fi book. A technothriller blends technology (sometimes futuristic, but always realistic) with the mystery, thriller, and espionage genres. The focus is often on exploration and possibility within tech, and the mysteries and crimes found in technothrillers often look at what happens when new technology is exploited or used in nefarious ways. The genre really took off in the mid-to-late 20th century, largely pioneered by authors like Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy. But those aren’t the only authors writing technothrillers. In fact, if you’re a fan of thriller books, you’ve probably already read a few technothrillers without even realizing it. Here are five technothrillers that you might have heard of, plus a few new releases we recommend checking out.
The Hunt for Red October kicked off Tom Clancy's career with a thriller focused on a highly advanced Soviet submarine holding a powerful nuclear weapon! Jack Ryan is a CIA analyst who doesn't do fieldwork, until photos of the submarine headed for American soil land on his desk, and suddenly he's drawn into a very real, very dangerous web between two world powers that could change life forever. This older novel is finding new audiences thanks to a new Amazon Prime TV series.
Jason Dessen lives a happy, somewhat mundane life with his wife and kid, and works as a physics professor. But one day, he's knocked unconscious by a masked figure who asks him a strange question: "Are you happy with your life?" When he wakes up, he seems to be in an alternate reality where he's hailed as a physics genius and his wife isn't in his life. Who was his attacker, and where is Jason? And more importantly, can he unravel the mystery in time to get back to his family?
Trending more toward the realistic end of the spectrum, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is about a disgraced reporter hired by a millionaire to investigate a cold case but it features a protagonist, Lisabeth Salander, who is extremely talented when it comes to all things tech. She's a hacker and expert tech researcher, and her skills come in very handy when it comes to fighting nefarious crimes both historical and contemporary.
When the world's largest meteorite is found on the tip of South America, an American billionaire commissions a high-tech ship with the best engineers and scientists onboard to bring the meteorite back to New York so it can be exhibited in a museum. But that plan goes south when people onboard the ship begin dying the closer it approaches to the meteor, making it clear that this is no ordinary discovery.
When a military space probe is knocked out of the upper atmosphere, it crash lands in the Arizona desert. What follows is a terrifying sequence of violence that leaves only two people from a nearby small town left alive. Under the cover of absolute secrecy, scientists are summoned to Arizona and sent to trace the Andromeda strain, before it can spread.
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