Hugo reading 2018: Crash Override, by Zoe Quinn

Crash Override, by Zoe Quinn is the sort of book that makes you want to delete all your blogs and internet accounts and go live in Antarctica. It is a deeply, deeply upsetting book to read.

The Hugo Voter Pack provided us with an excerpt – about 100 pages – not the entire book, which has the subtitle ‘How Gamergate (nearly) destroyed my life and how we can win the fight against online hate’, so I can only assume it gets less depressing and more inspiring as it goes, but I’m not sure I’d be able to read through to get to that point.

The part we get is the beginning of it all – how Gamergate got started, how it escalated – and it’s really terrifying. Reading it, I really felt her sense of helplessness in the face of the online horde (made far more frightening by the fact that it quickly grew into offline threats, not just to Zoe, but to her friends and family). Nothing is safe, really.

Clearly, she has survived to write the tale, and I understand that she has even started a website, http://www.crashoverridenetwork.com, that provided advocacy and support to victims of online abuse, so well done her, but I’m feeling traumatised just from reading an extract of her story.

I have no idea how to rate this. It shouldn’t be a related work for the Hugos – and yet it apparently needs to be. I didn’t enjoy it – but I don’t think I was supposed to. I’m not going to finish it, but I probably am going to put it at the top of my list and make a donation to the website, because nobody should have to deal with this sort of thing.

(Also, the PDF kept breaking my kobo, which started becoming a source of concern in its own right – had Gamergaters somehow infiltrated the Hugo voter downloads and put a virus in this document? Only time will tell, but I have to say, I was getting super paranoid.)