• Crash Override

  • How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate
  • By: Zoe Quinn
  • Narrated by: Zoe Quinn
  • Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-05-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (222 ratings)

Regular price: $28.50

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Publisher's Summary

You've heard the stories about the dark side of the Internet - hackers, #gamergate, anonymous mobs attacking an unlucky victim, and revenge porn - but they remain just that: stories. Surely these things would never happen to you.

Zoe Quinn used to feel the same way. She is a video game developer whose ex-boyfriend published a crazed blog post cobbled together from private information, half truths, and outright fictions along with a rallying cry to the online hordes to go after her. They answered in the form of a so-called movement known as #gamergate - they hacked her accounts; stole nude photos of her; harassed her family, friends, and colleagues; and threatened to rape and murder her. But instead of shrinking into silence as the online mobs wanted her to, she raised her voice and spoke out against this vicious online culture and for making the Internet a safer place for everyone.

In the years since #gamergate, Quinn has helped thousands of people with her advocacy and online-abuse crisis resource Crash Override Network. From locking down victims' personal accounts to working with tech companies and lawmakers to inform policy, she has firsthand knowledge about every angle of online abuse, what powerful institutions are (and aren't) doing about it, and how we can protect our digital spaces and selves.

Crash Override offers an up-close look inside the controversy, threats, and social and cultural battles that started in the far corners of the Internet and have since permeated our online lives. Through her story - as target and as activist - Quinn provides a human look at the ways the Internet impacts our lives and culture along with practical advice for keeping yourself and others safe online.

©2017 Zoe Quinn (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A worthwhile read for anyone interested in taking action against the realities - and devastating effects - of extreme Internet trolling...an informative and inspiring book." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"I tore through this book. Zoe Quinn doesn't just present a clear-eyed examination of the Internet's endemic sickness (though she does that beautifully), she contextualizes her personal nightmare within our current national one. It's a gripping read with historical merit." (Lindy West, author of Shrill)
"We finally have a chance to hear what we've been eagerly awaiting: Zoe's real story in her own words. If you've been harassed, depressed, lonely, or lost, her story will inspire and empower you. After all of it, she still finds a way to be optimistic and a force for positive change. She gives me hope for humanity and the future of technology." (Ellen Pao, former CEO of Reddit, cofounder of Project Include)

What members say

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Suffer a witch to live.

Would you consider the audio edition of Crash Override to be better than the print version?
You get to hear the author's voice in her own voice. She knows when to laugh when to be serious and when to be sad. Nothing is insincere here.

Who was your favorite character and why?
NA, but Zoe the Unburnt has a good ring to it.

Which scene was your favorite?
When she was talking about her joy of discovering the internet and other weirdos like herself. She had found her tribe.

If you could give Crash Override a new subtitle, what would it be?
"I Survived the Biggest Witch-hunt on the Internet"

Any additional comments?
Great book with plenty of ups and downs. You would have to be an inhuman troll not to enjoy this.

This might seem like a stretch here but stay with me on this. I finished reading Zoë Quinn's Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, and I am going to make the case this is a book about a modern witch and the witchhunt that came from it.

I want to get into the meat of the book, but let me address the parallels first.

Zoë Quinn began, like many historical witches, as a woman a bit marginalized from the world but found solace, comfort and even expertise in a traditionally "man's space". For the witches of old this was often medical knowledge in a world of male doctors or religious knowledge in a world of male clergy. In any case, she was a woman (or a girl really, she was not much older than my son when this all went down) against a patriarchy. Does that sound like a feminist theory to you? It is ONLY if never actually studied feminist theory or have ever used the word "feminazi" in anything other than a derisive tone. She was attacked and all but pilloried and burned at the stake. Though virtually speaking she was. She even describes the mob after her as a group of "inquisitors". The appropriate name really.

Actions speak louder than words and while I had heard and read the words of these internet inquisitors and gatekeepers of their "culture" I don't for a second believe them. Their claims can be easily dismissed and discarded. There were no witches on Pendle Hill in 1612. No devil in Loudun, France (1634). There was no devil in Salem (1692), no Satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s and no conspiracy in August 2014 to censor video games*. (yes there is more than this, but the trouble is sorting through a metric ton of shit to get to it. This is not the place to detail my last couple of years of "ritual filth" reading about this and going to where they "live".)

But like those times, facts do not matter once the mob smells blood in the water, or online. Quinn is a bit more understanding of her inquisitors, the ones that would see her dead for the audacity of being a woman. I do not extend to them the same benefit of the doubt; I have seen this play out too many times in the exact same way with nearly textbook results.

Zoë Quinn is a witch, an unburnt witch in fact (her nom de' net in fact), and like the best witches of old, her name and exploits will outlive her inquisitors and tormentors.

She spends the first half of her book recounting her love of video games, finding solace online with like-minded people and discovering that she too could build something or make something. There were many times I smiled or laughed out loud because I could relate to exactly to what she was doing and feeling. Then we get to that day in August of 2014 where the mob, spurred on by an abusive ex-boyfriend and some easily dismissed internet rumors decides to act.

I have seen online abuse first hand, I have also stood on the sidelines and watched it unfold like a spectator sport. So it was not without some personal horror that I listened to what she went through.

Honestly, you have to have zero empathy not be moved here. Even IF (in all caps) she did the things she was accused of, it doesn't justify the violent outburst here. (seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you people?)

There is some repetition, but this is a memoir, not a research paper. It is told like a memoir, with the unedited bits of a person's messy life left in. And the author is quite upfront about that. In fact listening to it you get the feeling it could have been a "LiveJournal" post AND that is perfectly fine because that is the vibe the author wants. Listen to her words and what she wants, the book is the ultimate expression of that. It is also almost, but not quite, a requiem for a life lost. I can tell you, as a former QMHP, she sounds EXACTLY like people I used to counsel after they had dealt with something traumatic or after a significant period of depression. I do not doubt that these are the words from someone who has in my professional opinion "seen some shit".

The first half had me depressed and sad for this girl. But the second half made happy for the woman she has become and what she has been able to do. Sure, she can never get back that old life. In many ways, her tale is the same of that as someone that has suffered a traumatic disease or accident. In others, it is worse, because she knows if it were not for the actions of others she could go back to that old life and do the things she loved.

The last half of the book's title is "How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate" and she talks about what she has done and what she has been doing and freely admits that she is neither equipped or qualified to do the job that needs to be done. I hope she will excuse the Batman allusion here (she has a section "You are not Batman"), but she is the hero we need.

She is open about needing more non-CIS, non-white, non-male voices in this fight. Not that we don't need CIS hetro white males, it's just that people like that, like me, are a dime a dozen. We are. She is open and even empathizes with the mobs of inquisitors that were after her; not wanting them to be subject to same actions she faced. She is very cognizant (maybe painfully so) of the limitations of the tech companies and law enforcement.

To top it all off she built the Crash Override Network to help other victims of online abuse.

This alone is worthy of praise.

In the end, her advice is simple, be better to each other online and try to empathize with the human on the other side of the screen. She knows there is a lot of work to do and this only the start.

Final note. I listened to the audiobook version of this with Zoë Quinn reading it herself. I think that was a great choice for me, to hear her own words in her own voice, but also to get her to do it. She knew when to be funny and when to be sad more than some other narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I Had No Idea

Wow. My tall white able-bodied cis-gendered mind has been blown. Not only did I learn a ton from this book about the world of online harassment, but the book was actually really funny along the way. I don't know how this woman stays so positive given all the things she's had to face, but thank Goddess she has. Awesome book! I haven't seen anyone this good at fighting evil trolls since I read the 3 Billy Goats Gruff as a kid.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Crash override

Well not my fav and fought to get through. Not because of her story but it’s a more boring book. Sorry the truth hurts at times.

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Take a look

Such a well organized, researched, and thoughtful book. A truly amazing glimpse into this world. Lots to think about and discuss. Very well balanced. Highly recommend.

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Essential reading for understanding abuse

This book is essential if you wish to understand the spread of abuse and hatred on the internet, and what you can do to help. (And sometimes, what we can't or shouldn't do.) Is tough, and sometimes depressing, but not without hope.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Thanks for sharing

The internet described is the internet I know from growing up online in the 90s. It feels so healing to have one book (more would be better) with someone being honest and informed . Thanks Zoe please keep making games and being hyouman

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Crash override

Interesting and engaging book presented well by the author. Alarming information about how users of the internet are vulnerable to personal attacks. Good suggestions on possible protections.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Thank you, Zoe Quinn!

Your story is like a healing balm in the jagged wound of my own life. Although my values position me on the opposite margin of the bell curve, I share your assessment that self-control is the most effective response to a mob action. Your candor and resilience help to dispel the pain crated by hateful, hard-hearted trolls and pretend 'friends'. Your thoughtfulness and compassion make my own virtual stoning bearable. Your book is a blessing in this storm. My deepest appreciation for all that you do.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Informative, down to earth, and inspiring

First off, this was one of the best print-to-audio translations I've listened to. Some books lose important details or have really confusing spots when recorded, but Ms. Quinn does an amazing job narrating the images, chapter structures, and other bits that are usually more clear in print.

The book is true to Quinn's "feelings and farts" persona exemplified in her games; her voice clearly conveys the humor, the frustration, and the compassion felt as she shares her experiences and lessons. She also takes care to elevate other voices along with her own, ensuring other perspectives are given their due; additional resources -- and encouragement -- are provided to readers who wish to explore further.

I walked away from this book with concrete actions I can take to help reduce online abuse, breadcrumbs to find more books and people to learn from, and inspiration to live more authentically.

6 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Just what I wanted

At last we get Zoe Quinn's own story in full without any distractions, paired with very good and important advice on how to fight back online abuse, and how we can help heal the damage it has caused. Good stuff.

8 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • K8-bit
  • 07-01-18

Harrowing account

Wanted to hear this for some time. Excellent, if harrowing listen. I thought I knew Zoe's story, but it was worse than I realized. Really good book for people with interest in videogames, feminism, activism, and pushing back against online abuse and misogyny.

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  • Sam Gregge
  • 06-17-18

Great listen, highly recommended.

A heartfelt, well written and well read account of a series of god awful things. Providing a lot of insight not only about gamergate but many of the systems and apathy regarding those systems still in place and affecting the world today. A must read for anyone who spends any amount of time on the internet. It's also a story of hope to, perserverance and the type of strength that never looks like strength from the inside. Give it a go.