Cave Genres/Genre Caves: Reading the Subterranean Thriller

  • Ralph Crane
  • Lisa Fletcher
Part of the Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies book series (GSLS)


Subterranean environments are stock settings in popular fiction, and they are especially prevalent in thrillers. As “extreme” environments—profoundly non-human and deeply symbolic—the corridors and chambers of deep caves magnify the tensions between space and place as they are typically defined. This chapter argues that consideration of cave settings in popular fiction requires a more nuanced theoretical vocabulary than is currently available. It analyzes three thrillers set partly in deep caves—Clive Cussler’s Inca Gold (1994), David Poyer’s Down to a Sunless Sea (1996), Nevada Barr’s Blind Descent (1998)—and proposes adding a third term to the glossary of spatial literary studies, “anti-place.”


Cave Entrance Literary Fiction Genre Text Popular Fiction Subterranean Environment 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Crane
    • 1
  • Lisa Fletcher
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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