Posts Tagged ‘thrillers’

Continuing with the thought about science and technology in thrillers, I will admit that I like to stretch mine just a little bit. Sometimes it may be the basis for a whole new business empire or just touch on something that could be extended and become reality. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I try to steer clear of getting too far out there.
So my book Genetic Impulse (which is not yet published) bends on the subject of something I watched on the Discovery Channel a few years ago. In the show, I watched a scientist run a fossil through a chemical process and actually come away with soft tissue. More incredibly, it was the fossil of a T-Rex!
Check it out: Discovery – Dinosaur DNA

So I thought, this is cool, but where could this research lead us? What can we get from it? Dr. Schweitzer made an incredible discovery, but the part that falls short is the fact that the soft-tissue does not contain DNA. So put away your Jurassic Park annual pass. That won’t be happening any time soon. Still, it was amazing.

What I took from this is the idea that you could perform this type of analysis on other fossils. In fact, why don’t we do this on human fossils? In my book, my fictional Dr. Susan Chang does do this on ancient human fossils and comes away with DNA (simply because it’s not nearly as old as T-Rex. No matter how you slice it, it’d be a one in infinity chance to find DNA that can last more than a million years.) Her discovery maps an interesting path from human ancestors to modern humans. What happens next will be delivered when the book comes out. But see how this one discovery can lead to something more interesting?

I equate it to the Jurassic Park simplification of ideas. Michael Crichton was brilliant with his ideas. Hey, let’s take a mosquito and drape it in amber, then extract it millions of years later and joila! we have dinosaurs! But what made this fun is that for the average person like you and me, it was enough to be believable. And that’s the trick.

I like to make my leaps a little more connected, a little more fact-based. But that’s me. I need to know it could really happen. Now if only I could have the same commercial success as Crichton…

The rapid world of evolving science and technology has made great fuel for us as mystery and thriller writers. We’ve bridged the gap between what was once considered far reaching science fiction and good thriller fiction. Science and technology can help us produce new bad guys, new bad events and intricate ways to put our heroes and heroines in danger. As well as unique ways to get them out. All it takes is a little digging and some creative thought.

I was watching an episode of Castle the other night (yeah, a little soft on the thriller side of things, but hey, Stana Katic is uh, nice to watch), and they blend in some great little technical gifts that make the week’s premise fun. In this episode, the bad guy was using pictures of house keys to go back and ‘print’ them using a 3-D printer. Ingenious… I loved it. I’m sure criminals have already done this and the idea made its way to the show, but for the average joe, it makes the episode interesting. (At some point we’ll probably all have key fobs and chips like cars do to defend against such a tactic, but for now it is a little scary…)

But the point is, I find this kind of science or technology, and it’s not science fiction – it’s science fact, in a great many shows and movies today. I think it really helps open up the challenges our characters will face in their adventures.
What kind of tech trend can you use as a nefarious device in your book?