I was wondering if all Krimis are Romane or if only a Kriminalroman has both elements of a Krimi and a Roman. What are the carachteristics of each if they are not the same?

Edit: I was thinking of writing "Guter Code ist ein Roman, kein Krimi" at the end of a presentation. And thus esentially wondering if this is a valid logical sentence.

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    Only in they are Books and not, e.g. TV shows. – Carsten S Nov 26 '18 at 7:55
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    If your code is a Komödie it might end as Tragödie. – Takkat Nov 26 '18 at 13:54

TLDR: Context is king. Everything krimi-like can be called a Krimi (when context is clear), but...

As @IQV wrote there can be various types of Krimi. But from my point of view only 2 of them are widely used without adding additional (context) words.

When asking someone "Hast du den Krimi gestern abend gesehen?" you refer to a movie/TV series like Tatort (Fun fact: in reality one would say "Hast du gestern abend den Tatort gesehen?" as its a very popular and well known series).

Asking someone "Hast du den Krimi gelesen" you refer to a book and usually you are thinking of a Roman. Sure, there are Krimis which are short stories or anthologies, but a Krimi as a book is usually a Roman.

Short stories or a small text in a magazine are called "Kriminalgeschichte" or "Krimikurzgeschichte". Various shorter stories in a book are a Krimisammlung. A Mitmach-Krimi is (very) short text where you have to guess the bad guy by yourself. etc.

Edit: A Krimi may also refer to a thrilling event, like a very exciting football match ("Fussballkrimi", "Dieses Spiel ist ein Krimi").

Edit 2: Now I get your Question :) . As a programmer I really like your

"Guter Code ist ein Roman, kein Krimi"

and I think its perfectly fine. While a Krimi can be a Roman but a Roman doesn't have to be a Krimi. For me your sentence expresses "You should enjoy reading the code (or understand it easily), but shouldn't ask yourself what it does" as in a Krimi no one knows who is the culprit until the end.

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  • I updated my question. With the paragraph you dedicated to books, I'd say my example is not valid. Did I understand that correctly? – Peter Nov 26 '18 at 10:02
  • In einem Teil muss ich widersprechen: Wenn jemand eine Serie, ähnlich dem Tatort, gesehen hat, fragt er nicht "Hast Du den Tatort gesehen", sondern nur, wenn es um die Serie Tatort selbst geht - allenfalls noch der Polizeiruf 110, der ab und zu den gleichen Sendeplatz in der ARD bekommt, könnte noch damit gemeint sein, weil der Zuschauer auf die Unterscheidung nicht achtet. Alle anderen Serien nennt man beim Namen oder eben Krimi. Nun ja, und die Frage der Metapher, das gilt ja für alle Metaphern und ist nicht krimispezifisch. – user unknown Nov 29 '18 at 2:36

No, "Krimi" is not always a "Kriminalroman" as "Krimi" is the short form for several terms like

  • Kriminalroman
  • Kriminalfilm
  • Kriminalkomödie

and so on. The difference between these is always the second part of the word, e.g. "Roman", "Film" or "Komödie".

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    I agree with the first ones (because the medium can usually be inferred from context), but I somewhat doubt "Krimi" will be well understood as "Kriminalkomödie". The "Komödie" part adds some additional information, and thus, the typical (marginally) shortened form is rather "Krimikomödie" – O. R. Mapper Nov 26 '18 at 8:14
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    Even if Krimi refers to a piece of literature it could refer to a short story, not a true novel. – RHa Nov 26 '18 at 9:08
  • And as a suggested addition: Sometimes, real-life events are described as a "Krimi" (any kind of events where some considerable criminal activity is suspected in a place where there ought not be any). Arguably, the explicit mention of a medium is deliberately omitted there, as it does not matter and is left to the listener's imagination. – O. R. Mapper Nov 26 '18 at 10:20

The core of your question is actually: Is

Guter Code ist ein Roman, kein Krimi

a good aphorism, or could it be improved?

The background is that you are planning to give a presentation on good practice in computer programming / writing programme code. As contributer mtwde pointed out:

For me your sentence expresses "You should enjoy reading the code (or understand it easily), but shouldn't ask yourself what it does" as in a Krimi no one knows who is the culprit until the end.

Your aphorism is a short and nicely surprising way to put this. However, there is a problem with Roman and Krimi not being juxtaposed peers, rather Krimi (in the context of books) being a subset of Romane. This takes away a bit of the convincingness of the phrase.

To improve the phrase we would need a pair of words on the same level like

  • Krimi (as a subset of Romane, or generally a subset of Literaturgattungen)

  • Some other class of Romane (or general Literaturgattungen); with the additional feature of being based on clarity from the beginning, not being intransparent, twisted and enigmatic.

Suggestions (without claiming that this is perfect, rather for testing):

Guter Code ist ein Entwicklungsroman, kein Krimi.

Guter Code is ein Gedicht, kein Krimi.

Guter Code ist ein Aufsatz, kein Krimi.

Guter Code ist ein Kochrezept, kein Krimi.

I personally favour the Kochrezept, partly because the sentence has a good rhythm, and you have the additional beauty fo alliteration.

Also, recipies and programme code share the feature of usually starting with a list of ingredients: a shoping list or a declaration of variables.

Downside: A good Roman is interesting to read, and you can dive into it and detach from your ordinary reality. Kochrezepte usually are not that masterfully written (although I happen to know a book of recipies that are written like essays or short stories with the primary aim of being fun to read).

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    I find your point of view with the substitution very interesting, yet I find "Aufsatz" of your suggestions the most fitting, since I think code should be brief and interesting. Exactly like an "Aufsatz". – Peter Nov 26 '18 at 12:03

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