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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by…
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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Neal; Galland Stephenson, Nicole (Author)

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7474318,432 (3.69)43
Member:BenTreat
Title:The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel
Authors:Neal; Galland Stephenson, Nicole (Author)
Info:William Morrow (2017), Edition: First Edition, 753 pages
Collections:2019, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, science fiction, time travel, witchcraft, magic, written in 2010s

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

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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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 |
A governmental view on time travel and magic centered on a group of people attempting to slowly change the past to benefit the future. It starts off great. It explores time travel and different strands of time while also making a satisfactory way of explaining magic. It is told in a memoir/journal/messages format largely from one character, but also has other, shorter POVs. It is not hard science fiction, as the explanations are light and quick. The book is too long. It became very boring in the middle as other plots were brought into view, only to be dropped and seemingly meaningless. The ending gets much better as the plot finally gets interesting, but then it just stops. The book has a good amount of humor that still made it enjoyable throughout though. The audiobook has a full cast of narrators which likely made the book a lot better. ( )
  renbedell | Oct 1, 2018 |
Not a typical Stephenson, probably because it was co-authored by Nicole Galland. There was less emphasis on ideas, a more coherent plot than usual, and a more humorous tone that sometimes sounded coyly flippant. The two main characters didn't have much personality, which meant their romance didn't either.

But I did enjoy it. I thought the self-confident/arrogant witches were all great characters, and I loved the bits with the Viking raids. "The Lay of Wal-Mart!" Hah! ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
D.O.D.O. is a mess. There is way, way too much in this book, and none of it is explored in depth. The novel suffers from a superficial exploration of . . . well, everything. The movement of information, alternative narratives, agency, politics, banking, and more: they all play a part, but there's no overall sense of how they play against each other to shape the narrative. This is no modern-day epistolatory pastiche; it's a just a mess.

As I said, the narrative lacks basic coherence. For lack of a better way of putting it, there's nothing to sink your teeth into. For those familiar with Stephenson's writing, this will come as a surprise.* I certainly didn't expect an ending with a clear-cut resolution and moral of the story, but I also didn't expect complete frustration with careless juggling of concepts, any of which alone, explored more throughly, occupy an entire series of novels.

There's a casual misogyny running through the novel. All of the characters are one-dimensional, and many are stereotypes, but the way female characters are portrayed and discussed stands out as particularly problematic. Just as the novel yields no substantive conclusions about any of the concepts discussed, so I also cannot make a substantive comment about this misogyny. It just is, and I don't know why.

Be prepared for slogging through anything and everything related to bloated bureaucracy. Certainly, it does illustrate one of the novel's major themes. However, it's so heavy-handed that it becomes a (fictitious) example of that which it seeks to lampoon.

The parts of the novel that focused on time travel missions (DEDEs, in the parlance of the book) were my favorite parts by far. I skimmed some of the middle, frustrated with narrative repetition.

I knew I wouldn't be reading a book with a traditional narrative and a tidy ending, and that's not even something I seek out in books. There's a difference in postmodern pastiche (or whatever this is supposed to be) and a book that is just poorly written. It appears to end with a set-up for a sequel: send in the editors before that goes to press!

*Note: I have only read one of Galland's novels and cannot comment on how this work relates to her body of writing. ( )
  ijustgetbored | Sep 12, 2018 |
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Galland, Nicolemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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It could be a tool,
Could be a weapon as well,
When interests clash.
(DeusXMachina)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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