Title

Mapping the Future?: Contemporary German-Language Techno Thrillers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2020

Abstract

Contemporary German-language techno thrillers by Tom Hillenbrand and Marc Elsberg invite readers to imagine a future marked by constant surveillance and predictive technology. New models of data mining and risk assessment are being used to inform decisions and trigger actions, but due to their complete reliance on digital data, they are open to being hacked and gamed. Lack of privacy, an elimination of boundaries between actual reality and the virtual world, and a blurring of the distinction between fact and fiction impacts both crime and detection; it has ramifications on the way we will solve crimes as well as on the types of crime that will be committed. Techno thrillers are uniquely positioned to explore moral grey areas in a security landscape affected by widespread globalisation and neoliberal privatisation, and to map possible developments in imaginative ways. They are today's globalised genre par excellence. These thrillers, that for linguistic reasons have escaped consideration in crime fiction scholarship, reflect and respond to crucial discussions about security, (virtual) reality, and artificial intelligence that are of utmost concern in our rapidly changing world.

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