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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal…

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

by Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7614618,149 (3.67)44

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Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
This book gave me mixed feelings. While a tome, I feel like I only read it just to read it. It was funny, and the premise (a plucky dark government agency who uses magic to help further US policy aims) was interesting.

But I feel like the book needed either half its length, or twice its content. The story barrels through for the first half of the book, and then resoundly gets messy, wonky, and downright a slog for the next 20%. Only in the final ten percent does the plot pick up again, resolving lots of lovely little things and then...

It ends.

Not a cliffhanger, but just like running you into a brick wall. The book just ends (with a THE END). I don't know how so many pages of ink (I am reading the Kindle edition, so in my case, battery life) could be spent on a book only to have it just, kind of, stop. It felt like I had invested a lot of time in following the lives of the characters intertwine and weave together to only have them just instantly stop. I can't get over this; it makes the entire book feel cheap to have no real resolution to the complex plot. While the "ending" untangles a few bits and bobs, it really doesn't make me feel like the organisation has collapsed, or our heroes have done anything beyond manage to band together, finally.

To conclude, I don't reccomend this book to anyone - not even my past self. ( )
  yassie_j | Feb 11, 2019 |
This is the fourth Neal Stephenson book I’ve read (no previous familiarity with Nicole Galland) and the first one that I didn’t like. I was hoping for a carefully elucidated system of time travel from Stephenson, but instead the rules seem arbitrary and nonsensical. That would be fine if the book excelled in other areas, but it mostly doesn't.

The characters’ obliviousness strains credulity at times. If the military is explicitly creating a program to use witches to control people’s minds, would it really never occur to the leadership that putting themselves in the proximity of those witches is risky? Worst of all is Melisande being taken by surprise that she encounters Erszebet in 1851, when she knew from the beginning that that encounter is why Erszebet joined their group in the first place.

The plot meanders slowly without really gaining direction until very late in the book - just in time for an unsatisfying non-ending. Some of the early subplots are interesting, but as it gets towards the Constantinople section, the lack of a strong answer to “what is the point of any of this?” becomes increasingly exasperating.

The writing style is charming and amusing at times; there’s some stuff I really liked, and I might have rated this higher if it were shorter. But for me there wasn’t enough reward to justify the length. ( )
  brokensandals | Feb 7, 2019 |
I'm a fan of Neal Stephenson, and got this book without really checking it out. I found two concerning facts - it is only co-written by Stephenson, and and it is about magic and time travel.
I have now finished the book, and am glad I persisted in spite of my initial reservations. I don't know how the two authors split the creative process, but the end result is a page turner. There is a good narrative thread, enough suspense, some good humour, and an array of characters - what's not to like?
And my second qualm - the witches and magic? Well, quantum physic is mind-boggling and time travel is a fantasy, so weaving witches and magic into the plot isn't such an imposition.
A good fun read. ( )
  mbmackay | Jan 24, 2019 |
One of the weakest Stephensons. The author is known for an overabundance of ideas and plot threads that get crammed into a story no matter what, but here he really overdid it in a way that it created more plotholes than anything. Apart from that, the characters were habitually weak. Far too many quirks and clichès, far too little real personalities - and the many stylistic forms, from diary entries to chat logs didn't help either.

I really liked Tristan and Melisandre, and it was a pity that their development fell so flat in the end, getting lost between politics, abductions, conspiracies and master thefts. ( )
  DeusXMachina | Jan 6, 2019 |
Beginning as a diary, this tome uses a variety of voices via letters, wikis, diaries, reports, etc. to weave a story of time travel . Magic and time travel are made obsolete by scientific technology, most specifically photography, but Tristan believes he can create a space that will allow both to return in a limited way. Aided by a discredited scientist, Dr. Oda, and a historical linguist, Melisande, the three begin to experiment with the concepts and their potential for national security.
( )
  4leschats | Oct 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, NealAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Galland, NicoleAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniels, LukeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Liz Darhansoff
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My name is Melisande Stokes and this is my story.
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It could be a tool,
Could be a weapon as well,
When interests clash.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062409166, Hardcover)

From bestselling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.

When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money.

Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why.

And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O. —gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive . . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the human heart.

Written with the genius, complexity, and innovation that characterize all of Neal Stephenson’s work and steeped with the down-to-earth warmth and humor of Nicole Galland’s storytelling style, this exciting and vividly realized work of science fiction will make you believe in the impossible, and take you to places—and times—beyond imagining.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:27:06 -0500)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Boston, present day. A young man from a shadowy government agency shows up at an Ivy League university and offers an eminent professor a lot of money to study a trove of recently discovered old documents. The only condition: the professor must sign an NDA that would preclude him from publishing his findings, should they be significant. The professor refuses and tells the young man to get lost. On his way out, he bumps into a young woman--a low-on-the-totem-pole adjunct faculty member who's more than happy to sign the NDA and earn a few bucks. The documents, if authentic, are earth-shaking: they prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for much of human history. But its effectiveness began to wane around the time of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment; it stopped working altogether in 1851 at the time of the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London. It's not entirely clear why, but it appears that something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic. And so the shadowy government agency--the Department of Diachronic Operations, or DODO--gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that is shielded from whatever it is that interferes with magic and thus send Diachronic Operatives back in time to meddle with history"--… (more)

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