Next summer’s bestsellers: phone hack novels


I’m not one for predictions but here’s a hunch: next summer your holiday reading will include a door stop sized page turner about phone hacking and tabloid journalism. Furthermore I bet that this week publishers have made as many calls to their authors floating that idea as they’ve received unsolicited outlines from newcomers.

Phone hacking, the book, is perfect for airport novels. Here we have a story that can have human interest scale (individuals and families who are hacked) with a story at the level of macrocosm that has international political and commercial intrigue at its heart. I expect to see a story where a bitter hardened tabloid hack uncovers a nest of political intrigue when he orders a phone hack. Through that discovery he is redeemed and reborn as a champion of truth, and with it the way we mythologise journalism is also salvaged.

I can imagine a journo turned author like Robert Harris putting something out in this area that might be worth a read. My personal preference would be for Iain Banks to tackle it, bringin a healthy dose of leftie politics into the mix and offering something more cynical than my boiler plate above. Ideally I’d like him to bring back the protagonists of ‘Complicity’ & ‘Dead Air’ but I doubt he will.

The only question I have: will a NI imprint put something out? And if so will it be a redemption story for tabloids or something much more critical of the way things are?

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Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jonhickman Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: http://interactivecultures.org