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Nearly Roadkill (High Risk) Paperback – June, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: High Risk
  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; First Edition edition (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852424184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852424183
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nearly Roadkill apparently takes place in the not-so-distant future, where Internet users are required to register online and all transmissions can be policed by government agencies. Big brother is watching our hero/heroines (you make the call), Winc and Scratch, as they lead the charge against government intervention in cyberspace. The text is written as a series of online dialogues, much like what you'd see in a chat room. You'll also get a fly-on-the-wall experience reminiscent of Nicholson Baker's Vox as these rebels with a cause take time out to participate in graphic cybersex. But except where the sex thing gets in the way, Nearly Roadkill's intent is to raise questions about gender issues, censorship, and who should have authority over the Internet.

From Library Journal

Winc and Scratch are the Bonnie and Clyde of cyberspace in this imaginative and thought-provoking novel by journalist Sullivan and author Bornstein (Gender Outlaw, LJ 5/15/94). Their novel is set in the near future, when Internet users are required to register online so their transmissions can be monitored by government agencies. So-called "vaders," led by cyberfugitives Winc and Scratch, refuse to bow to government intervention into the electronic frontier and orchestrate a shutdown of Internet nodes throughout the world. Written almost entirely as a series of online discussions and transcripts of messages (complete with E-mail typography), the novel intermingles serious issues of gender identity, censorship, and control of the Internet with lots of hetero- and homosexual cybersex and details of chat rooms devoted to various specialized interests. For large fiction collections.
Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reagan Strueber on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Nearly Roadkill, by Caitlin Sullivan and Kate Bornstein, attempts to explore issues of gender and how that affects perception and expectation. Told mostly from the point of view of a teenage boy named Toobe, it follows the story of two genderless web users, Scratch and Winc, who keep meeting up in various chat rooms. The freedom of the online environment allows them to explore what gender is and how it affects their relationship. One night they might be a boy and a girl, the next two women, the night after that a vampire and a young woman.
The book succeeds in exploring the themes of gender and how everyone is affected by it, as well as how perceptions can change based on one's gender. The story, however, is almost nonexistent, with a too perfect ending. By revealing Scatch and Winc's genders, the point of gender exploration is somewhat negated. To make matters worse, the font is nearly impossible to read and there are too many graphic cyber sex exchanges, which detract from the book's message.
If you are looking for a study in gender roles, this book will serve your purpose. However, if you are looking for a book with a storyline and well-developed believable characters, Nearly Roadkill is not the book for you.
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By Candice on October 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have always been a fan of Kate Bornstein and her nonfiction work, plus I'm always searching for genderqueer fiction, so this was a gem to find. Indeed, it is an interesting, engaging read, and I reccommend everyone read it. But that's not to say there aren't drawbacks:

-The title bothers me; even now I remember that great book I read- what was it called? 'Nearly Roadkill' doesn't sum up the book in any way except perhaps abstractly, and, to my recollection, wasn't mentioned in the book as a phrase or something clever like that. The term 'Infobahn' was odd, too.

-The book is just a little long. It may seem longer because of the format, or because of the storyline (several times you think it should be over; it keeps going), but it does tend to drag in places. That's not to say that I ever wanted to put it down, in fact, I was avidly reading near the end to find how things worked out, but some brevity, some smashing down of things, could have been better.

-A few plot holes. There aren't many big ones, but a few things irked me. The whole book long I was expecting them to be cleverly explained, but they never were! For instance- Jabba writes narrative accounts of what's going on with Lt. Budge, very welcome reliefs from all the cybertalk, and letting us know what's going on with him. But how is this achieved? Is Jabba spying on him and guessing at his inner thoughts? It's never said. Everything else is meticulously explained as Toobe's diary entry, etc., etc., but not that. Jabba's friend and aid, Gwyn, is a "cyber witch", but that never really gets explained. It makes her a very interesting character, for sure, but was the witch aspect necessary? I don't know that I can say.
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Format: Paperback
Nearly Roadkill, by Caitlin Sullivan and Kate Bornstein, attempts to explore issues of gender and how that affects perception and expectation. Told mostly from the point of view of a teenage boy named Toobe, it follows the story of two genderless web users, Scratch and Winc, who keep meeting up in various chat rooms. The freedom of the online environment allows them to explore what gender is and how it affects their relationship. One night they might be a boy and a girl, the next two women, the night after that a vampire and a young woman.
The book succeeds in exploring the themes of gender and how everyone is affected by it, as well as how perceptions can change based on one's gender. The story, however, is almost nonexistent, with a too perfect ending. By revealing Scatch and Winc's genders, the point of gender exploration is somewhat negated. To make matters worse, the font is nearly impossible to read and there are too many graphic cyber sex exchanges, which detract from the book's message.
If you are looking for a study in gender roles, this book will serve your purpose. However, if you are looking for a book with a storyline and well-developed believable characters, Nearly Roadkill is not the book for you.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
Life and art, art and life, the perennial
question what came first. In my case, the
novel. Nearly Roadkill: An Infobahn
Erotic Adventure by Caitlin Sullivan and
her cohort Kate Bornstein began as an
online discussion of gender in
cyberspace, by two provocative souls
whose battle to define male and female, I
imagine, continues.

I followed it in the
novel with interest, rooting for the
characters to reach an understanding.
Though the gender issue seems to be the
prominent one in Nearly Roadkill, I was just
as intrigued by its presentation of the online
world in light of the predictions for ubiquitous
intervention by corporations and government
(For further discussion on this aspect, visit
[...])

Fictional protagonists Scratch and Winc become
martyrs to the cause of corporate avarice
by refusing to undertake Registration, a
process of answering demographic and
lifestyle questions to build a user profile.
Registration is a mandated by the
government, in order for corporations to
best target email advertisements to
ostensibly ready and willing recipients.
Needless to say, Scratch and Winc's
resistance becomes the catalyst for
people online everywhere to rebuke their
previous co-operation with the scheme. A
riot, a rally, a complete shutdown of the
Internet ensues, while our heroes limp
into the underground, bewildered that
their personal agenda became a worldwide
cause sufficient to change the way
government and big business freely
exploit the personal tastes of the
worldwide populace for their own
commercial gain.

A terrific read on many levels (though a bit
of an edit on mid-book dialogue would
be welcome), it will be interesting to see
if or how this novel foreshadows
the future!
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