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

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  13,545 Ratings  ·  2,039 Reviews
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, acciden
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Hardcover, 752 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by William Morrow
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Joby Elliott imo basically any book is. If they're interested in reading let them read whatever they want.

I haven't read this one (yet), but I read my first Neal…more
imo basically any book is. If they're interested in reading let them read whatever they want.

I haven't read this one (yet), but I read my first Neal Stephenson book when I was about 12 and have been a huge fan ever since. I think I turned out all right.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Andrea
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Will Byrnes
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
We seem to be living in a period in which time travel has captured a considerable portion of the public’s attention, its attention for entertainment at least. There are several TV series on at present (that I know of) that deal in temporal backs and forths, (I really loved Flash Forward several years back) and there seem to have been few extended periods in which the form was absent from the airwaves (and wires). It has long been an attractive concept for feature films. My personal favorites are ...more
Philip
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
2ish stars.

D.O.D.O. is a tiny, shady government entity that introduces us to the awesome combination of time travel and witchcraft. The organization starts out small with a lot of promise but then becomes mired in bureaucracy, more or less undermining its original intent. In parallel, Stephenson’s and Galland’s novel starts out strong with an original premise but soon hits a brick wall and doesn’t go anywhere. For 500 pages.

As a satire of The System, the book is clever and often funny but it t
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Morgannah
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.75 Stars
Above and beyond anything else this book was a satire of bureaucracy and corporate structure. Through journals, power point presentations, staff memos, and interoffice communications we get to see the rise of an operation called D.O.D.O.
What begins as a small start up between two people in cramped coffee houses and efficiency apartments blooms into a corporate structure where HR policies are made and multiple divisions are branched.
What prevents this premise from being boring is the
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Bradley
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Who likes naked Vikings? Raise your hand!

I'm of two minds on this book. On the one hand, there are quite a few great ideas with the complications of surrounding witches with a humungous incompetent bureaucratic machine, especially when it turns out that they can do a lot of time travel. Not only that, but I was a huge fan of the acronyms and the lingo-speak, especially when a costume party gets told as if it's a major military-op or when a certain Lay of Wal-Mart is written. I was even mightily
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Kemper
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
What happens when you put time travel, magic, quantum physics, witches, a top secret military operation, alternate timelines, Vikings, a family of shadowy bankers, and government bureaucracy in one book?

As you might expect, things get complicated.

The story begins with the written account of Melsianda Stokes, a woman from our present who has become stranded in London during 1851. Mel tells us how she’s an expert in ancient languages who was stuck in a dead end academic career until she is recrui
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Liviu
Assuming you buy its premise and do not throw it away disgusted when it is - close but not quite imho though opinions may differ about that in quite a few places - jumping the shark (among many oddities, the novel contains a viking saga poem in verse cca 930's about the sack of an Walmart (!!) cca 2010's), this is a delight: funny (don't remember when i laughed out loud so many times when reading a book), zany, quite subtle on occasion (while it seems to start in our universe cca early 2010's, t ...more
Paul
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
not a perfect novel but closer to five stars than 4

this story combined beautiful timey whammy

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stuff and is driven by
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overall a beautiful book and with an open end so we may get more.😁

please mr. stephenson and Ms. Galland may we have some more.
Joe
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most fun I've had reading a Neal Stephenson novel since SNOWCRASH. Co-author Nicole Galland brings a nice light touch to the proceedings so that it doesn't delve too much into technobabble. Witches, time-travel, and governmental bureaucracy all combine to deliver a thrilling read that I finished over a single weekend. GOOD STUFF!
Lina
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maureen Carden
Neal Stephenson-Cyberpunk King writing about witches and magic.
Neal Stephenson- Speculative Fiction King writing about time travel, witches and magic.
Neal Stephenson-Historical Fiction King writing about turning the thought exercise Schrodinger's Cat into and actual experiment which leads to time travel, witches, magic, and the military.
Can it get any better? Oh yeah, there is an epic 10th century Viking saga about Wal-Mart.
Bentgaidin
I read an ARC of this with some bit of hope; Seveneves had fallen kind of flat for me, but I was hoping that a coauthor would help shore up some of Stephenson's weak points, and the idea of a time-travel story with witches was a good start. I do feel like Nicole Galland helped, but unfortunately, not enough to make up for some disappointing flaws.

Let's start with the characters -- this was where Seveneves lost me, with the first two-thirds feeling like I was reading about cardboard cutouts movin
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Nick T. Borrelli
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To view my full review for Fresh Fiction please click the following link:

http://freshfiction.com/review.php?id...
Trish
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is it with big idea novels having to be so looooong!
Seriously. I had this problem with that novel by Ada Palmer and I certainly had it with this one too. You have a big idea, we get it, no need to drag the damn thing out over more than 700 pages when half of that would have sufficed.

In this case we follow a government agent (he's Army Intelligence, supposedly) who recruits a linguist. They then proceed to translate certain scripts, recruit Dr. Oda (a scientist formerly from MIT) as well as
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Kate
Absolutely superb! I loved every one of its 742 pages. So sorry to finish it. Fabulous!

John Sundman
Full disclosure: one of the authors (Galland) is a friend. In fact she & I went out yesterday for a cup of tea. Because Nicki's a friend I really wish I could give the book 5 stars or even 4. But if I'm going to stick to my Goodreads grading curve, it comes in as a solid 3. There are parts that I really liked, and parts that I really *really* liked. But also there are whole sections that made me want to throw the book against the wall. (This is a not uncommon experience for me when reading a ...more
Lata
Light and meandering, anda surprisingly fast read. I have to admit I actually enjoyed reading how the DODO bureaucracy ballooned, hampering the ability of the core group to maintain control over the various DEDEs at DTAPs. (The number of abbreviations and acronyms in use reminded me of my time at a variety of corporations.) And watching the smarmy and condescending Blevins at work -- blechhhhhhh!
I liked Melisande Stokes a lot and Erzabet frequently had me grinning.
Denise
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Rounding up. What a shame! Why did Stephenson partner with another writer? Doesn't sound like his work at all. Too long and bloated-s story that could have been half the length and be much more interesting.
Loring Wirbel
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neal Stephenson proceeded directly from one of his more serious and technically challenging works, seveneves, to a rollicking multi-century spoof co-written with historical fiction author Nicole Galland. Stephenson and Galland had worked together along with five other authors on The Mongoliad Trilogy, though I'll admit I'm not familiar with the series. Funny that trilogies are involved with the Stephenson-Galland resume, however, because this book resembles nothing so much as the high-humor and ...more
Roy
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5*

I usually enjoy Stephensons work and having read positive and negative reviews on this I was hesitant to start. It deals with an entire host of ideas. Quantum physics, time travel, history, witchcraft/magic, administration politics foundations just to name a few. The novel was divided into 5 parts and I thoroughly enjoyed Part 1 introducing the 2 main protagonists. It introduced the foundation for why magic was lost and what DODO briefly was. From there it became alot of backlog and info dum
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Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Close to 4.5 stars. Some of the plot is ludicrous, but it is so much fun!

(view spoiler)
Abram Dorrough
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is one wild ride! Told entirely in epistolary form, D.O.D.O. works, shall I say, uniquely - the reader becomes intimately acquainted with all the characters because he learns about said characters from the perspectives of all the other characters in the story.

These are characters who remain memorable. Not once did I have to pause and ask myself who somebody was.

While D.O.D.O. is certainly the "least sciency" of all Stephenson's works, that is exactly the point. It in no way detracts fr
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Sonja Arlow
3 stars

Take time travel, witches, Schrodinger’s cat, dwindling magic, a shadowy government entity and naked Vikings and you have some idea of what to expect.

Magic had disappeared from the world in 1851 because of the development of science and technology, particularly the photography of an eclipse. The story follows the exploits of a government agency that tries to restore magic by any means possible.

The story idea was fantastic and fun but also frustrating at times. I think the time travel con
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Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
Technically, I haven’t abandoned this yet.... but I’m about to.

I’m listening to the book and I was following it just fine and was actually enjoying it, that is until the book turned into a bunch of email/messages being read. I’m trying to follow it, but I have found this so tedious and I don’t have any idea what’s happening at this point. I don’t have any desire to go back and re-listen to the parts that I hated.

I’m on the last third of the book, so I did give it a serious try.

But I can’t do thi
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Lori
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time travel is possible by witches performing magic, although Mmes. Who, Whatsit, and Which do not make an appearance. A shadowy defense agency of the US government wishes to control and use the magic and witches. This bureaucratic encumbrance is not to be confused with the Ministry of Magic, nor, any other magical governance. Although, the Viking hoards invasion of Wal-Mart reminded me a lot of Genghis Khan’s trip to the mall in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Christopher Farrell
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the coolest book I have ever read.

Stephenson and Galland have created this long, beautiful book that scratches any itch you have that might include; time travel, linguistics, witches, government organizations, Crusades, Elizabethan England, and Vikings.

The pages shift from prose to government reports to diary entries, all distinct, wonderful, and creative. I will be pushing this one on everyone I know.
Mara
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Nov 16, 2017 marked it as to-read
$2.99 Kindle sale, Dec. 25, 2017. <---- Look what book on my TBR has popped up on a Kindle sale! Clearly someone is trying to help me spend that Amazon gift card my son gave me for Christmas. :)
Erica
Recommended reading for the solar eclipse, seeing as how a solar eclipse in the mid-1800's features prominently(ish).

I am quite pleased with how much I enjoyed this story!

It's a fun science+magic tale involving a nerd, a military dude, more nerds, and witches. And time travel. And machines. And secret government agencies. And naked Vikings.
It sounds pretty messy and it kind of is but not in a frustrating way. Actually, I was impressed with how well-thought-out the logic behind science+magic and
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Ctgt
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
To have the world without scientific development is not to have a better world or a worse world-just a different world from the one we know.

Just so you know, I'm not a huge Stephenson fan....too many punishing tangents for my personal taste. With Nicole Galland as a co-author I figured the side trips might be reduced. And for the most part they were, there are still a few spots that I felt weren't necessary to the overall story but nothing that took me completely out of the flow.

Set in an altern
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David
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish witch-prostitutes, Varangian Walmart invaders, time traveling DODOs
Naturally, when the U.S. government discovers that magical time travel is possible, rather than leaving it alone for fear of causing rifts in space-time, they decide the thing to do is recruit some secret agents to go back in the past and meddle. Just a little. For the benefit of our national interests. Hence D.O.D.O. — the Department of Diachronic Operations. This is a book that takes a premise that's been done in many bad movies, TV shows, and RPGs, and plays it straight despite the obvious au ...more
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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
More about Neal Stephenson
“The kind of woman who could pleasantly instruct you to fuck off, dear, and you immediately would because you’d just hate to disappoint her.” 5 likes
“Actually, I’ve been thinking about that,” Tristan said, and finally sat down again. “It’s the dog that didn’t bark.” 3 likes
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