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  • Linda M. Whitaker

Science Thrillers versus Science Fiction

Updated: Jul 4

My novel, The Crucible of Steele is technically Science Fiction, but maybe best categorized as a Science Thriller or Techno-thriller.  The science and technology in my book may seem futuristic and scary, but it is well researched and more fact than fiction.  “In the best science thrillers, the parts that are made-up are discernible only to specialists in the field,” as described by sciencethrillers.com. Also, no aliens (spoiler alert). The term, Near-Future is also becoming popular to indicate this type of science fiction.


Michael Crichton’s Prey, a 2002 thriller about artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, was pivotal in the founding of my software company (sold in 2015). My co-founders and I were inspired to use techniques featured in his book (i.e. swarm optimization and genetic algorithms) to develop new ways of managing inventory in the retail supply chain (and you thought math couldn’t be fun).


In my totally biased opinion, Michael Crichton is the very best at this game.  And I just love Douglas Preston (with and without Lincoln Child). Other hot authors that I follow include AG Riddle, Mathew Mather, Douglas E. Richards, James Rollins, and Michael Grumley.  If you have other favorites, please send my way!


Writing a science thriller takes a lot of research.  In addition to internet research, I’ve interviewed and attended talks by experts in multiple fields, and attended the St. Paul Citizens Police Academy.  And at times, you get hands on practice.   I’m putting together some of this research, especially where it involves hands on fun,  and will post on this site.  I hope you enjoy.




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