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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel


The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel

valutazioni:
4/5 (129 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
24 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jun 13, 2017
ISBN:
9780062676986
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

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.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jun 13, 2017
ISBN:
9780062676986
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Informazioni sull'autore

Neal Stephenson is the bestselling author of the novels Reamde, Anathem, The System of the World, The Confusion, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac, and the groundbreaking nonfiction work In the Beginning . . . Was the Command Line. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    Rambly and fun time travel romp set in Cambridge. Some of the storytelling formats didn't work well in audiobook format (transcripts of conversations were the most painful) - Stephenson's ninja habit was fulfilled by Vikings this time.
  • (5/5)
    Really enjoyed it. A tag team by Stephenson and Nicole Galland. Witches and magic and time travel.....
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    A time travel story with a slight multiverse twist, mixed in with magic sounds like a weird combo, but it does work in this case. Told through multiple viewpoint chunks off different types by many different characters. The beginning takes a bit too long in my opinion and the ending felt somewhat rushed, but still an interesting read
  • (3/5)
    This was ok. The story was better plotted than the usual Stephenson fare, but it also was less "info-dense" and thought provoking.

    What irritated me though as a native Hungarian speaker was the laziness of the writers: it was jarring to read the name Erszebet hundreds of times, because it should have been spelled Erzsebet (actually Erzsébet, but the missing accent is less problematic), and than came the point where she spoke hungarian but in the manners of a really bad google translate. I mean come on... Can't you find somebody who can translate two sentences for you???

    Also the premise requires a big suspension of disbelief (obviously), even more if you understand a bit of physics and quantum mechanics and what the thought experiment of Schrödinger was about :)
  • (3/5)
    Not quite up to what I have come to expect from Stephenson, but still a fun romp into time travel and its complications. I suppose since it is double authored, that we cannot blame it all on him, but the plot is too predictable - something Stephenson alone would not get away with without his fan base getting quite preturbed...Three-star amusing.
  • (2/5)
    Tried waaaaayyyyy too hard to be funny and cute. I normally enjoy Stephenson but this just didn't do it for me. It has all the hallmarks of a series and I definitely will not be continuing.
  • (4/5)
    I really liked this book at first, but over time, as the D.O.D.O. itself expanded, so did all the acronyms and departments until it just became impossible and distracting. Like some other cute and amusing things in the book, I feel like they took it too far and overdid it. The premise of the book was interesting, but the motivation was a bit of an issue for me, and there's a lot that was just plain left unexplained and seemed random. It reminded me of some other time travel books, but they took it a little farther with the idea of infinite strands of different pasts, which was kind of different... although I still felt that they took the idea of making changes in history far too lightly and that felt, for me, like the most unrealistic part of the whole thing. Going back into history and interacting with people could possibly (likely) change more than just the one thing they were often trying to change, but that really is just kind of ignored unless the changes are so significant that catastrophic annihilation occurs affecting a certain geographical area, wiping things out as if they have never been... but even that left some questions as people who were annihilated in such an event were still remembered in the future by people at the agency, which to me seemed incongruous to the rules of their explanation, but time travel is always somewhat tricky for writers, so maybe I'm nit-picking. It seems set-up for a sequel, and if one does come out, I'll probably give it a try, although I hope that now that they have the foundation backstory set up, it won't be as long as this book, which was huge!
  • (3/5)
    There better be a DODO book 2 in the works. If this is part of a series, I'll raise the rating to 4 stars. Entertaining read about time travel, witches and bureaucracy. BUT angry at the ending after having spent 750 pages engaged in a story with no ending.
  • (1/5)
    I want to change my tag to "Certain I'll never finish."

    A juvenile, downright silly, paper-doll charactered attempt to Harry Potterize the CIA or some black-money cousin. A peppy heroine and her dull, sidekick West Point grad find a centuries-old witch and exploit her, or is it the other way around. A definite teenage adventure, except for all the struck-thru "fucking." in the text.
    Good for recycling into paper bags, at least.
  • (4/5)
    I got this book when I went to see Stephenson and Galland do a reading in Harvard Sq last June and it took me way too long to get into it. Part of it is that it's a 750 page hardcover so I wasn't going to be bringing it around with me to read when I had a moment, it lived at home. :-) It was interesting having read a fair amount of Stephenson before picking out the parts that Galland influenced. I have a feeling that she did most of Dr. Melisand Stokes' parts and she seemed to embody that author's quirks. We don't get much insight into Major Tristan Lyons' point of view, seeing him mostly through others eyes. It's an epistolary novel where the military is trying to develop time travel to bring magic back for "national security" reasons, told through diaries, letters, intranet posts and email. Stokes is a linguistics and history expert and does the initial research to pinpoint when magic died and is the one to initially go back in time to make first contact with a historical witch (after a modern one barges into the project). The disgraced professor and his wife who join the team to provide the science backing are also fairly lightly sketched in, we get more about some of the witches and their machinations - the rise of DODO brings in all sorts of people with their own agendas and that leads to their downfall. I know part of it was a satire on bureaucracy, but it was infuriating reading the communications from Blevins, he was such a sexist oblivious asshole. The plot was still ascendant over the characters, but the balance was better than in most of Stephenson's prior work. I'm curious to check out some of Galland's books now.
  • (4/5)
    Neal Stephenson is a phenomenal talent. I would not classify his books as science fiction, more that they are powerful fiction with a strong base in science, both historical/real and speculative. He builds very detailed worlds with broad and complex narratives. Normally writing for adults, with 'The Rise and Fall of DODO' he targets a Young Adult (YA) audience and, I think, fails to meet his usual very high standards.The basic premiss of the book is strong: magic is the ability to manipulate reality at a quantum level, specifically, witches can interact with and track alternate universes to effect what appears to everyone else as 'magic'. However, the rise of technology in the mid-19th century has caused magic to fade, although witches still exist albeit with their talents lying dormant. A secret government department discovers how to enable magic again (in a limited format) and uses these talents to manipulate past events to counter similar activities by never-specified 'enemies'.A bizarre sub-text running through the book is a satire/denunciation of government bureaucracy. This includes unfathomable and pedantic policy decisions, gobbledegook procedures, the prioritisation of process over the actual goals of the organisation, and the promotion of idiots ahead of those who actually know what they are doing. All of these represent the reality of both governmental and commercial organisations, but these episodes sit uncomfortably alongside the actionThe book is presented as a set of interlaced documents each written from the perspective of different characters in the story, with each source presented in its own font or page layout. An effective way of switching the point of view as the story unfolds, but unnecessarily distracting to my mind.Although containing some excellent set pieces (the Saga of Walmart is my favourite) the plotting and continuity is little sloppy. For example, at the start of the book there is a specific technology causing magic to disappear, but this changes to be a more generic as-technology-develops-magic-fades approach.I enjoyed this book and the plot is open-ended leaving the possibility of follow-ups, but not in the first rank of Stephenson's work.
  • (2/5)
    It takes a lot to get time travels to work, and this book does not make it. Too much that is not realistic and indeed fantasylike in my opinion. I quit it about halfway through. Not one of Stephenson's best.
  • (4/5)
    Some parts of this were 5 stars, other parts were 2. I would definitely read more work in this series.
  • (4/5)
    When linguistics and ancient languages expert Dr. Melisande Stokes literally bumps into Lieutenant Colonel Tristan Lyons, neither of them realize that everything is about to change. After learning of Mel's expertise, Tristan recruits her to join his top-secret black ops government organization, D.O.D.O., whose goal Mel eventually learns is to discover why magic disappeared from the world in the 1850s and how to bring it back. As Mel and Tristan work to uncover the history of magic and then eventually get it to work for them, it's only then that true insanity starts to break loose. Because not only does magic exist but with the right witch it also makes time travel possible.This is a fun sci-fi and fantasy mash up with a heavy dose of sort of secret government organization thriller wrapped up in it. And I utterly enjoyed it. My only problem was that the book is long. I can't pinpoint any sections that could really be cut down - a vast amount of world building is required to explain the origins of D.O.D.O. and its expansion - but as much as I was enjoying the book the whole time, I slowly got the "this is taking too long to read" itch. Given how quickly the book reads, this may not be a problem for other readers who can devote some dedicated time to this one. Recommended for those who don't mind a slightly more technical time travel romp.
  • (3/5)
    Good writing (classic Stephenson) but the premise included how bureaucracy would take over even the most exciting of new technologies . . . and writing about bureaucracy is by definition not exciting. Aside from that, it was a good book!
  • (5/5)
    Magic stops working in the early 1850s. A secret U.S. government organization is attempting to discover why it did and if it can be resurrected, controlled, and used to pursue national interests. To do so will require a scaled up version of a Schrodinger box and a witch who learned her craft before magic died but hasn't died yet herself. It includes misadventures in time, charming culture clashes, and a Viking raid on a Walmart. This adventure, part science fiction and part historical comic drama, is delightfully executed by joint authors Nicole Galland and Neal Stephenson.

    The first person account of the protagonist, Dr. Melisande Stokes, provides the first two of the book's five sections (354 of 742 pages), and it's thoroughly enjoyable. Her narrative is fresh, clever, snarky, and fun. Later sections often take the form of memos, letters, and transcripts, and are more hit or miss. They aren't bad; they just pale a bit in comparison to what came before.

    This is the first book I've read by Nicole Galland and easily the best one I've ever read by Neal Stephenson. If they get together again to write a sequel, I'll read it.
  • (4/5)
    Toooooo long. But interesting concept which is well laid out.
  • (2/5)
    The only reason I even listened to this book is because scribd charged me a credit for it
  • (4/5)
    Enjoyable for the most part but tedious at times when it deep dives into hard science. The ending is rushed a bit and gives only some satisfaction. The books Unique conceit takes it most of the way. Smart. At times funny. Not going to be a classic but worth a listen. Audio performances are mostly good. Too many readers and they are only given some latitude - direction was not stellar.
  • (4/5)
    I've been pretty down on Stephenson since Cryptonomicon as characters, story and plausibility seem to radically diminish in importance next to his ideas . . . which aren't really *that* good.I had high hopes of his working beside a single collaborator, especially one who shown a keen interest in things like character development and motivation (see I, Iago). And for the most part I got what I'd hoped for. The tone is different than old Stephenson, and the nature of a lot of the whimsical bits is different, but we get a story and characters that exist as something other than a vehicle for concept.There's also, I think, an element of hommage/parody of Kage Baker's company series here. Which is worth half a star from me.Not great, by any means, but eminently readable even by folks who aren't absolutely convinced of the need to hear what Neal Stephenson thinks about whatever he's thinking about at the moment, even at the cost of pointless verbosity, characters who are mere puppets and awful, tone-deaf mixtures of contemporary slang and period English. (All of which are mostly absent here. Thank you, Nicole)
  • (3/5)
    I'm a sucker for time-travel novels. I like the attempt in this book to pseudo-science an explanation for both magic and time-travel. Honestly, like every Stephenson novel that I've read, it is too long. It is fine but feels like it could have been tightened up some. Still worth the read.
  • (3/5)
    Neal Stephenson is a favorite author but this book is not a favorite. I liked the idea of the story which was to take science fiction and fantasy and squeeze them together in this book about time travel and how the US government attempts to use this to slowly change history through slight changes in the past. It is a good lesson on why we probably should never have time travel. It certainly shows how bureaucracy and politics mess up things. What I did not like; the book was long and employed several narrative techniques such as diaries, text messages, phone calls, beside the usual narration. I was okay with the narration to some extent but it was the parts that could make this book drag on and on. I also totally saw no reason for the frequent use of swear words, especially the one that everyone seems to think is so fun to say. They were entirely unnecessary in the telling of the story.
  • (4/5)
    Fun read. Stephenson's books are best consumed as audio, I'm finding. Lessens the frustration of his digressions.
  • (1/5)
    I'm only 1/6 of the way through this and I can't finish it. This guy is terrible at writing women! Magic is done for the first time and all the female lead character can think of is how pretty the witch is and how jealous she is of her?? Give me a break. The female characters seem to just simply "exist" in this book. They have no depth or personality. It's very frustrating to listen to.
  • (3/5)
    Had me at the beginning, had me at the end, got a little muffled in the middle. Neat concept of combining magic, science, and time travel. Read too technical at times, which took away from me enjoying some of the characters. However, the author was able to use that technical nature to create some truly funny scenes. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Did it take forever? Also yes.
  • (4/5)
    Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland combine to author The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, a science fiction/fantasy novel. The basic premise (spoiler, but you find it out in the first few pages) is that through history, witchcraft has waned as science advanced. A government research agency finds a way to restore power to witches, and is soon using them to alter history. There’s an underlying romance between two of the characters.The story is told as a series of journal entries, memos, letters, meeting minutes, etc. This style works for the science fiction part, but isn’t very effective at conveying romance, and the romance is such a minor part of things that it almost seems like an afterthought – hey, let’s put some love interesting in here just in case somebody wants to buy the movie rights. The descriptions of bureaucracy ring very true, though – having worked for various bureaucratic organizations I recognized many of the characters. The villains, such as they are, are old white men who are so convinced of their rightness that they don’t recognize disaster until it’s too late.Funny in most spots, tragic in a few. A quick read. Like almost all Neal Stephenson novels, it has an abundance of interesting ideas and an unsatisfying ending. I don’t know anything about the second author (Galland) but I didn’t see anything that was obviously her contribution.