Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Definition of Thriller

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 06 Feb 2009

  • Next message: davezeltserman: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Definition of Thriller"

    A definition of 'thriller' that excludes vast numbers of recognised thriller writers (Michael Crichton, Alastair McLean, Peter Benchley) seems seriously flawed to me. The term 'thriller' can be applied to just about any genre as far as I can see, and is not the exclusive domain of crime fiction. As long as somebody's trying to prevent something unpleasant -- such as being eaten by a shark in JAWS -- it's a thriller.


    ----- Original Message ----- From: "JIM DOHERTY" <>
    > Danger abounds in the Captain Aubrey books by Patrick O'Brian, the Captain
    > Hornblower books by C.S. Forester, the Colonel Sharpe books by Bernard
    > Cornwell, etc. You wouldn't call them thrillers, however, because they're
    > not crime fiction.
    > Similarly, even in the coziest whodunit, danger abounds. Someone's almost
    > always dead, and mortal danger is as dangerous as it gets, and the person
    > who made that character dead is still at large, and, therefore, still
    > poses a danger.
    > No, once more the essential elements are that it be a piece of crime
    > fiction ("crime fiction" being synonomous with "mystery," Kerry), and that
    > the plot emphasize action, suspense, and pace over cerebration. That the
    > appeal, or at least the hoped-for appeal, be visceral rather than
    > intellectual.

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