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Subject: Techno thriller writer Craig Thomas dies

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/08/11 at 3:52 pm

Thriller writer Craig Thomas has died at the age of 69, it has been announced.

Fans regard the Cardiff-born author as the inventor of the techno-thriller genre which includes his book, Firefox, made into a Hollywood blockbuster.

The 1982 movie starred Clint Eastwood as the US fighter pilot and spy Mitchell Gant, a character in a series of Thomas's books.

The former English teacher was educated at Cardiff High School.

He was the son of the well-known Western Mail rugby writer JBG Thomas.

In a writing career spanning 30 years, Thomas's novels were regarded as being "meticulously" researched, with "cutting edge technology" which made him an international bestseller, according to friends.

He wrote in his spare time during 11 years teaching English in grammar schools in the West Midlands.

Thomas and his wife Jill lived for many years in Staffordshire, but recently moved to Somerset.

He recently finished a two-volume commentary on the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

He died from pneumonia following a short, but intensive battle with acute myeloid leukaemia, according to a statement released by his wife.

Subject: Re: Techno thriller writer Craig Thomas dies

Written By: Foo Bar on 04/09/11 at 5:48 pm

If you wanted to see the future, you didn't need to read Orwell's 1984, you had only to watch the airport scene in the 1982 movie version of Firefox.  In 1982, an airport where the KGB didn't even ask foreign visitors to remove their shoes, let alone fingerprint them, was intended as an illustration of how draconian those Soviet Communists were...  (Turns out that the future wasn't a boot stomping on a man's face, forever.  It was a fat guy in a blue uniform pretending that my airline ticket was for the wrong airport, just to see how I'd react, but when it didn't faze me, at least he didn't ask his buddy to grab my nuts.)

The next time you fly the friendly skies of Post-911 America, and a TSA goon (or even a polite, well-mannered stranger in the airport) asks you how your vacation's going, don't lie, but don't let him or her fluster you.  Your papers are in order.  You've just met a Behavior Detection Officer.  Fortunately, America is still free enough that you can get style points for replying with "I'm traveling from XYZ to ABC, my papers are in order, and for a behavior detection officer, you're doing a terrible job of pretending otherwise.  I respect what you guys are trying to do, it beats being fondled by smurfs, but you've gotta get better at blending in."  (If you can get away with "My name is Mitchell Gant, and if you'll excuse me, I've got a plane to sncatch", and a knowing wink, you're a braver man than I.)

But enough of my cool stories, bro.  This is about Craig Thomas.  And Craig Thomas didn't just write a series of awesome novels, one of which became the inspiration for the movie (that itself inspired a video game), it even inspired a song:

Ian Cussick, Firefox:


And that thought-controlled interface to a computer system that works as long as the pilot's thinking in the right language?  It took almost 30 years, but as of last week, it's real.  Craig, thanks for a great series of novels, and I hope you heard about that last bit of tech before you took off.

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