Drawing on a cluster of interconnected approaches, but privileging critical cultural studies and literary perspectives, this chapter explores the complexities of today’s ‘monstrous’ cultural and economic entanglements by taking as case study Robert Harris’s financial cum sci-fi best-selling techno-thriller The Fear Index (2011). The novel, whose epigraph and Geneva location, along with the theme of the mad/hubristic scientist, and the names of some minor characters are taken from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), revives the myth of Dr. Frankenstein’s ‘creature’ in the shape of a deadly conflict between a financial ‘super’-algorithm, programmed to thrive on data-mining and track speculative behavior based on fear, and its secretive creator and founder of a hedge fund, Dr. Alexander Hoffmann. In this novel, the image of the archetypal monster assembled from corpses and animal parts acquires an amoebic but all too factual, and terrifying immateriality which is indexed to the phantasmal world of global financial risk and immorality.

Monstrous Algorithms and the Web of Fear : Risk, Crisis, and Spectral Finance in Robert Harris’s The Fear Index / L.A. De Michelis - In: Transmedia Creatures : Frankenstein’s Afterlives / [a cura di] F. Saggini, A.E. Soccio. - Prima edizione. - Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press, 2018 Oct. - ISBN 9781684480609. - pp. 50-68

Monstrous Algorithms and the Web of Fear : Risk, Crisis, and Spectral Finance in Robert Harris’s The Fear Index

L.A. De Michelis
Primo
2018-10

Abstract

Drawing on a cluster of interconnected approaches, but privileging critical cultural studies and literary perspectives, this chapter explores the complexities of today’s ‘monstrous’ cultural and economic entanglements by taking as case study Robert Harris’s financial cum sci-fi best-selling techno-thriller The Fear Index (2011). The novel, whose epigraph and Geneva location, along with the theme of the mad/hubristic scientist, and the names of some minor characters are taken from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), revives the myth of Dr. Frankenstein’s ‘creature’ in the shape of a deadly conflict between a financial ‘super’-algorithm, programmed to thrive on data-mining and track speculative behavior based on fear, and its secretive creator and founder of a hedge fund, Dr. Alexander Hoffmann. In this novel, the image of the archetypal monster assembled from corpses and animal parts acquires an amoebic but all too factual, and terrifying immateriality which is indexed to the phantasmal world of global financial risk and immorality.
Robert Harris; The Fear Index; Frankenstein; digital sentient beings; financial algorithms; self-learning digital beings; literature and finance; global risk society
Settore L-LIN/10 - Letteratura Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/622639
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