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Thriller as a "sensational story" was first attested in 1889. The term suspense as a genre of novels, stories, etc., attested from 1952.--etymonline.com

Definition (genre)

The thriller is a genre of fiction in which tough, resourceful, but essentially ordinary heroes are pitted against villains determined to destroy them, their country, or the stability of the free world. The hero of a typical thriller faces danger alone or in the company of a small band of companions. The protagonist may be a law enforcement agent, a journalist, or a soldier, but typically he or she is cut off from the resources of "their" organization. More often the hero is an ordinary citizen drawn into danger and intrigue by circumstances beyond their control. Thrillers are typically novels or movies, though television series such as Alias, 24, The Sandbaggers and Spooks also fall into this genre, along with such non-fiction bestsellers as Holy Blood, Holy Grail and even Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh's account of the conquest of Fermat's Last Theorem. While thrillers constitute a distinct genre, they often incorporate elements of other genres such as adventure, detective fiction, and espionage. A thriller includes suspense as an indispensable ingredient. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller [Jun 2005]

Novelists closely associated with the genre include: Eric Ambler, Desmond Bagley, John Buchan, Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins, Christopher Hyde, Duncan Kyle, Alistair MacLean, Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum.

Notable movie thrillers include: The Thirty-Nine Steps, The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest, The Day of the Jackal, Duel, The Parallax View, In the Line of Fire, and Marathon Man. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller [Jun 2005]


Suspense or tension is the feeling of uncertainty and interest about the outcome of certain actions an audience perceives in a dramatic work. According to Aristotle's Poetics, suspense is an important building block of drama. In very broad terms, it consists of having some real danger looming and a ray of hope. The two common outcomes can be

If there is no hope, the audience will feel despair. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspense [Jul 2006]

Thriller fiction

Thriller fiction, sometimes called suspense fiction, is a genre of literature that typically entails fast-paced plots, numerous action scenes, and limited character development. It is sometimes called suspense fiction because of the heightened level of stress or excitement that it induces in the reader. Along with the aforementioned suspense fiction, it has several sub-genres, including adventure fiction, techno-thriller, conspiracy thriller and spy fiction.

Thriller fiction has its origins in the adventure stories of Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson. In the early twentieth century, many more adventure stories saw their way into print in the dime novels and pulp magazines of that era.

The thriller novel as we know it today was virtually invented by the author Edgar Wallace. Writing in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Wallace produced many of these quickly paced novels until his death in 1932. After Wallace's death, imitators and pulp magazines continued the trend.

In the 1950s, the invention of the spy thriller by Ian Fleming, contributed to the genre. Also in that decade, the arrival of the author Alistair MacLean helped to raise the level of popularity of the genre. MacLean's exciting and action packed novels were appealing to readers of the genre.

In the 1970s, Robert Ludlum began to write thiller novels in the modern style as we know it today. His action heavy novels were best sellers, though derided by critics for their lack of in depth characters and limited psychological subtext. Many of his novels were also conspiracy thrillers.

Many popular authors of thriller fiction today include Clive Cussler, James Patterson, John Sandford, and Robin Cook. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_fiction [Jul 2005]

see also: thriller - fiction - crime fiction

Conspiracy thriller

The conspiracy thriller (or paranoid thriller) is a subgenre of the thriller which flourished in the 1970s in the US (and was echoed in other parts of the world) in the wake of a number of high-profile scandals and controversies (most notably Vietnam, the assassination of President Kennedy, Chappaquiddick and Watergate), and which exposed what many people regarded as the clandestine machinations and conspiracies beneath the orderly fabric of political life.

The protagonists of conspiracy thrillers are often journalists or amateur investigators who find themselves (often inadvertently) pulling on a small thread which unravels a vast conspiracy that ultimately goes "all the way to the top". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_thriller [Dec 2005]

Thriller (1982) - Michael Jackson

  • Thriller (1982) - Michael Jackson [Amazon.com]

    Thriller (1982) is an album by pop star Michael Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. It is also the name of the title track on the album."Thriller", track 4 on the album, features a spoken interlude by Vincent Price and was also made into a very popular music video directed by John Landis. Track 5, "Beat It", features a guitar solo by Eddie van Halen.

    Thriller is currently the best selling album of all-original material of all time in the United States. The Eagles's Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) is currently the best-selling album in the United States, with Thriller in second place, althoug the albums have traded position a number of times over the past few years. In 2003, the TV network VH1 named it the 23rd greatest album of all time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_%28album%29 [Mar 2005]

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