Perhaps it’s time to treat your Kindle to a new thriller? How about an Eco-thriller? This blog is devoted to the books currently out there which combine action, adventure and thrills, with a threat – either natural or man-made – to the environment, which causes local or even global disaster and destruction. Sound like a good recipe? Read on…
You don’t have to be a ‘Tree-hugger’ – no offence to trees or hugging intended – to enjoy these types of books. In fact, although these titles are all fictional, not only do you get a decent story and fast-paced read, but the books are quite often very informative and laced with science, so the reader also usually learns something in the process…What could be better?
Eco-thrillers have actually been around for a good while. The 1950s and 1960s were filled with “Our planet is getting mad” themes, which were told through the numerous science fiction films that came out during that period.
“The Day The Earth Stood Still,” based on author Harry Bates’ short 1940s story, “Farewell To The Master,” which came with a message from outer space that Earth needed to be saved from mankind, is probably one of the most well-known of those films, but I dare say, not many people have heard of the book, or even the author.
More recently, movies such as “The Day After Tomorrow,” about the sudden halting of the Atlantic Ocean Thermohaline Circulation, based on the 1999 book, “The Coming Global Superstorm,” by Whitley Strieber and Art Bell, and Richard Matheson’s last man on the planet, “I am Legend,” based on a book of the same title, actually written in 1954, brought environmental disaster movies to the masses.
These are great examples of the eco-thriller disaster genre, which are based on books from decades ago. We also have British authors like JG Ballard who, in 1962 wrote “The Drowned World,” a story about solar radiation melting the poles, causing soaring temperatures which leave Europe and North America submerged in tropical lagoons.
Another British author, Charles Eric Maine was writing eco-thrillers back in 1958 with “The Tide Went Out,” about mankind’s nuclear tests busting open the Earth’s crust which causes all the oceans to run into the planet’s interior, and you guessed it, environmental disaster ensues…great stuff!
So, it seems the eco-thriller genre is really a sub-genre which has been around for decades, just more usually dressed up as science fiction it would seem.
I have read a decent selection of eco-thrillers and have also written one myself. Below is a little information on my favorites in the genre. You can make your own minds up as to whether you think this genre is for you. There is also a list of the books that I haven’t yet read, but ones that are certainly on my Kindle download list!
I’m actually surprised that the eco-thriller genre doesn’t have its own niche on Amazon, but maybe that will change soon, as there’s plenty of great books out there. Whilst the world doesn’t face the same kind of threats as it did in the 1950s, one hopes, it does face mounting environmental ones, which should mean that the eco-thriller genre will be around for a long time to come.
Let’s just hope we’re all around long enough to read them…!
So, in no particular order then, here’s my list;
The Rapture by Liz Jenson.
When a wheel-bound psychologist is assigned to help a young girl locked up in an asylum to decipher her seemingly crazy rants and random scribbling’s of natural disasters, her first thoughts, naturally is that the girl is crazy. When certain events appear to come true however, it soon appears that the girl might not be deranged after all but have the ability to foresee a future global environmental catastrophe.
A well written, pacey novel with an interesting subject matter – 3.5 eco-stars
Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd.
Not so much an eco-thriller, but included on the basis that the main protagonist is a climate scientist. This book is about Adam Kindred who, following a fleeting meeting with a man in a restaurant has his life turned upside down after he has to go off radar in London whilst all the while trying to prove his innocence following a murder he didn’t commit.
A vividly written novel with simmering drama – 3 eco-stars
Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler.
The master of adventure novels pulls off another great adventure-thriller with a global warming/environmental theme. Dirk Pitt becomes involved with a search for a mineral which may be capable of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Expect science, thrills, adventure, action and good story-telling – 4.5 eco-stars
Tipping Point by Si Rosser – yes me!
An action-adventure thriller with an environmental twist is the best way I could describe my book. Robert Spire, the main character is an environmental lawyer, but little time is devoted in the book to any legal back-story, this is no legal thriller. Instead Spire is immersed in a global adventure following the mysterious deaths of two climatologists. Action and thrills take place in Wales, London, Paris, San Francisco and the Arctic as Spire goes on a quest in search of answers. Meanwhile global environmental disaster looms…
I won’t rate my own book, but here’s what the readers are saying;
“Tip top global adventure”
“Great yarn, couldn’t put it down”
“Well-crafted environmental thriller”
Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child.
This book I thought was a great read. Again, you could argue that this is a techno-thriller, but in my view it has all the elements of an eco-thriller. A team of scientists monitoring climate change near an old disused Artic base discover something – a prehistoric creature frozen solid in an ice cave. The sponsors of a nature programme funding the project fly in to film the creature as it is thawed from its ancient resting place. Needless to say, all hell breaks loose!
Fast-paced, scary, vividly written Arctic thriller – 4.5 eco-stars
IMPACT POINT by Si Rosser – Yep, mine again!
Robert Spire’s second adventure, takes him from Wales, London, the USA and the Bahamas in search of the cause of multiple blue whale deaths. When traces of the mineral olivine are found in the mammals blood, the mystery deepens. Meanwhile, a rare and valuable meteorite gets stolen from slain philanthropist Julian Smithies’ Californian mansion. Is there a connection? The more Spire finds out, the closer he comes to revealing a future cataclysm that may end all life on planet Earth.
Robert Spire’s latest adventure, might be the World’s last…
Here’s another bunch of great sounding eco-thrillers that are on my to read list; Enjoy!
Freezing Point and Boiling Point
I Am Legend
The Tide Went Out