I don’t generally like thrillers. There are, of course, some exceptions to this rule; for example, Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris, is a both a damn fine book and a thriller. However, most thrillers I have attempted to read are both dull and alarming. They seem to lack whimsy and charm to a really shocking degree. And, since the Keywording Gods seem to have decided that “Mysteries and Thrillers” is a reasonable category (it isn’t), and since I am always on the prowl for mystery novels that I have not yet read, I am exposed to thrillers more than I would wish to be.
And I have noticed a pattern about the titles of thrillers. This pattern may be merely an attempt to cash in on the success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, or it may be the birth of a new genre, or both of these things, or something else entirely; whatever its cause, it seems to be everywhere. It is approximately this:
THE + [HISTORICAL/RELIGIOUS/MYTHOLOGICAL PERSON, PLACE, OR THING, or an adjective referencing same] + [Some form of written word, OR something indicative of control by an absolute and shadowy authority, OR something to do with genetics; in fact, the word in this slot ought to be some play on “Code:” a code is a written word, a code is a mechanism of power and exclusion, a code is genetics… “and so on through a hundred happy changes,” to quote Mr. Chesterton]
But the above formula does not capture all of the valid title-possibilities. So, below, you will find a Random Thriller Title Generator, suitable for use in the home or the workplace. You will need a Twenty-Sided Die to use it; if you aren’t nerdy enough to have one of these Essential Aids To Housekeeping, they are available at your friendly local gaming store. Roll once on each table.
The [First Word] [Second Word]
is the formula. For example, let us suppose that I rolled a 7 and then a 2. I would have:
The Odysseus Conspiracy – surely a best-seller!
If you are dissatisfied with the first word, replace it with the word “Scorpion.” In fact, this is a good policy to pursue whenever you are dissatisfied with a word. If you are dissatisfied with the second word, and do not wish to employ what I’ll call The Scorpion Imperative outlined at the beginning of this paragraph, try replacing it with “Dossier.”
d20 First Word
d20 Second Word