Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (D.O.D.O. #1)” as Want to Read:
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (D.O.D.O. #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

(D.O.D.O. #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  27,561 ratings  ·  3,405 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
Hardcover, 752 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by William Morrow
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 S…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)
M. Anderson Your question reveals one of the big weaknesses of the premise of the book. Even before photos, people could make very good records of events by writi…moreYour question reveals one of the big weaknesses of the premise of the book. Even before photos, people could make very good records of events by writing them down. And even after photos, photos could be faked, altered, and destroyed. A photo is no more a record of reality than an oral narration. And even then, it is only a record of reality at the moment the photo was snapped.

Assuming that magic existed and that time travel is possible, I don't see how the invention of the ability to make a photograph would stop it. But, without that premise, you don't have a book, and so I was willing to overlook it.

Now, don't get me started on the ending, which I didn't like at all...(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,561 ratings  ·  3,405 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (D.O.D.O. #1)
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
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
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
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
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
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

 photo 80912281_153781677.jpg

stuff and is driven by
 photo logo.jpg

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.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
3.5. I really enjoyed my Audible edition!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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 an a

ctual 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.
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! ...more
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.
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
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
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was fun. A real lark of a story.
Magic has disappeared from the world and D.O.D.O. want to bring it back. Time travel and witches will solve that. Right? What can go wrong?
This is an elaborate use of the Schroedinger's Cat theory. It works. But what happens when motivations get muddy?
This story is funny, interesting, blends science with fantasy & history. It's got a crazy mix happenings. It's hilarious at times.
Told completely in an epistolary way through letters, diaries, memos, email,
Nick Borrelli
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To view my full review for Fresh Fiction please click the following link:
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 boo ...more
There have been a lot of novels with a time travel theme of late, and even novels like this one invoking the multiverse. This is one is complex and fun at the same time with the ultimate point of time travel being to bring magic back into the world. Magic is thought to have vanished from the world with the increased use of technology around 1851 and a secret government body (D.O.D.O) is working on a Schrodinger's Cat type experiment that will allow witches to perform magic again.

The book was ov
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some people are put off by the sheer volume of Neal Stephenson's books--they tend to be big, and useful as doorstops. But, I think they are all fantastic. This book is just as good as any of Stephenson's other books--and I have read almost all of them, including the incredible The Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomicon. Without giving away any spoilers, this book is about magic and time travel, and handles both in a very logical, almost scientific manner. A few time travel paradoxes are mentioned, and ...more
Well, what can I say? This was not my cup of tea? I guess this would be only half of the truth. The other half might be the clash of expectations vs. reality.

I expected to read a Neal Stehpenson-style scifi-novel with lots of action, cool protagonists, futuristic environment and a weird plot. I expected a crazy mixture of fantasy and scifi, of witchcraft and time travel.
Obviously I completely forgot to consider that Stephenson wrote this book with a co-author and that this co-author might have s
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. ...more
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.
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
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
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
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it

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
Sonja Arlow
3 ½ 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 co
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Close to 4.5 stars. Some of the plot is ludicrous, but it is so much fun!

(view spoiler)
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“You have an agreeably uninteresting existence. Let’s see if we can change that.”

Before I start this review, I just want to say that it took me way longer to read this than planned. That has nothing to do with the quality of the book (which as my rating above already indicates, I quite enjoyed it) and everything to do with life changes. I will no doubt always look back at this book fondly as the one I was reading when my daughter was born… which is quite delightful, but as one goodreads friend s
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
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I quite enjoyed this book.

I have tried Neal Stephenson a few times before with no luck but this one just really appealed to me and I'm glad I picked it up.

I really enjoyed the characters, the premise and how the book was laid out having snippets of documents and diaries to back up what the narrator was saying.

So then why 3 stars?

This is a monster of a book. At 750+ pages it is quite an undertaking. I don't mind that at all if I feel the 750+ pages are necessary. However, some parts of
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson | Summary & Analysis
  • Diamond Age, or, Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson Summary & Study Guide
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson | Summary & Study Guide
  • Project Hail Mary
  • Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)
  • The Last Lumenian
  • Virtual Light (Bridge, #1)
  • All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)
  • Agency (Jackpot #2)
  • Idoru (Bridge #2)
  • Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5)
  • Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)
  • The Peripheral
  • Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)
  • Gabriel's Hope (Rhyn Eternal, #1)
  • A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1)
  • Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4)
  • The Last Emperox (The Interdependency, #3)
See similar books…
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.

Other books in the series

D.O.D.O. (2 books)
  • Master of the Revels (D.O.D.O. #2)

Articles featuring this book

Myths and mayhem, the fantastical and the scientifically plausible, these are readers’ most popular sci-fi and fantasy novels published in the...
165 likes · 29 comments
“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.” 10 likes
“I made it into Wikipedia,” sang Erszebet. “I’ll bet none of my enemies ever made it into Wikipedia.” 8 likes
More quotes…