World Comic Book Review

26th September 2023

Thriller (revisited): Burn the Oracle

Thriller 1-8
Writer: Robert Loren Fleming
DC Comics, 1983

Review by DG Stewart, 16 March 2016.


The early 1980s is an interesting time to revisit in respect of prophetic visions. Science fiction writers like William Gibson, Robert Heinlein and others predicted the internet. Gibson also anticipated the rise of the importance of biotechnology. Politics and culture were more difficult to predict – Heinlein in his novel Friday mapped out the Balkanisation of the United States, and Gibson in Neuromancer followed the flock in respect of the inevitability of nuclear war, albeit one tactically confined to a German theatre. Samuel Huntington in his book The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order (1996) noted that the antipathy between Christian-based civilisations and Muslim civilisation dates back centuries and vastly overshadows the ideological fight which had occurred (and by that stage concluded) between the West and the Communist bloc. But no writer in the 1980s, peering into the future, seriously considered the perils of xenophobic Islamism as a potential flashpoint. Except one.

In 1983 a talented writer named Robert Loren Fleming had an innovative concept about an extended family of highly usual people, set in the near future. It was entitled Thriller (and pre-dated American pop singer Michael Jackson’s music album of the same name by a month).

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