Named a Best Book of 2021 by NPR • Harper’s Bazaar • CrimeReads • Electric Literature • Autostraddle • The Globe and Mail
In this thrilling story of survival and anger, a woman has her whole life turned upside down after speaking out against workplace hostility–and inadvertently becomes the leader of a cultural movement.
Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect "the sanctity of gaming culture"? It depends on who you ask... When Eliza reports an incident of workplace harassment that is quickly dismissed, she's forced to take her frustrations to a journalist who blasts her story across the Internet. She's fired and doxxed, and becomes a rallying figure for women across America. But she's also enraged the beast that is male gamers on 4Chan and Reddit, whose collective, unreliable voice narrates our story. Soon Eliza is in the cross-hairs of the gaming community, threatened and stalked as they monitor her every move online and across New York City. As the violent power of an angry male collective descends upon everyone in Eliza's life, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who to trust, even when she's eventually taken in and protected by an under-the-radar Collective known as the Sixsterhood. The violence moves from cyberspace to the real world, as a vicious male super-fan known only as The Inspectre is determined to exact his revenge on behalf of men everywhere. We watch alongside the Sixsterhood and subreddit incels as this dramatic cat-and-mouse game plays out to reach its violent and inevitable conclusion. This is an extraordinary, unputdownable novel that explores the dark recesses of the Internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life. It's a thrilling story of female resilience and survival, packed with a powerful feminist message.
Self-taught game designer Eliza Bright, the heroine of Osworth's provocative debut, has just been promoted at New York's Fancy Dog Games to develop code that allows sexual activity for the virtual reality upgrade to an online superhero role-playing game. When Eliza's code is tagged "80085" (read: boobs), Eliza brings a complaint to the company president, and then, when she doesn't get satisfaction, shares her treatment with the media, resulting in her dismissal. Her personnel file ends up online, leading to identity theft and having her game avatar gang raped. Eliza flees from real-world taunts and finds refuge with the Sixsterhood, an artistic co-op, and from there seeks out the identity of her principal attacker. Point-of-view shifts between the "weaponized nerd population" that blames Eliza for disrupting their favorite game and the Sixsterhood, whose members are firmly on Eliza's side, build tension. The nerds imagine much of what happens offline, putting a spin on the unreliable narrator trope. Osworth offers a sharp take on the deeply disturbing misogyny that lurks online as well as a hopeful look at combatting it.