Liviu's Reviews > The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2017_release_read, read_2017, top_25_2017_books, genre-sf

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, there is the Trapezoid rather than the Pentagon for example...) and with a format that adds a lot to the story-line - while most of the narrative is a first person Victorian-style (with modern annotations crossed out) from Melisande (see the blurb) who is marooned in London 1851 and wants to write a memoir and deposit it in a secure vault to arrive in our present and witness the creation of the D.O.D.O. and her role in that, there are narrations in many voices (Rebecca East Oda, descendant of Salem (!!) witches and New England aristocratic matron, whose genius physicist husband Frank Oda former professor at MIT, hounded from academia for alleged mistreatment of cats as in "the Schrodinger Cat" experiment, is the brain behind the time-traveling machine at the heart of D.O.D.O, and Grainne, Irish witch/spy in Elizabeth I England ~1601 are some of the more distinctive voices and powerful characters of the novel), transcripts of official documents (from debriefings after action, email exchanges between characters to the diversity policy of D.O.D.O - this one is a hoot, not to speak of the Halloween dress code official paper), the aforementioned Viking saga in verse and much more.

While 750+ pages long, the book ends way too soon (would have loved to read another 700 pages) and has a very useful glossary of the "alphabet soup" typical of governmental organizations (most common being D.O.D.O - Department of Diachronic Operations, D.T.A.P - Destination Time and Place, D.E.D.E - Direct Engagement for Diachronic Effect and K.C.W - Known Compliant Witch -) and a cast of characters in the various times and places the novel takes place (both have some spoilers so knowing the main acronyms above is probably enough to avoid needing read it until halfway through the book at least)

The ending is excellent in many ways (and has enough closure to make the book a fully satisfying read on its own) though it really reads like a stopping point with more to come in future volumes (which i would highly welcome)

Overall - fast, funny, some mind bending stuff and lots of ingenuity, close but not quite jumping the shark on occasion and the top novel of the year for me to date
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Reading Progress

April 6, 2017 – Shelved
April 6, 2017 – Shelved as: wanted_books
April 12, 2017 – Started Reading
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017_release_read
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: read_2017
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: top_25_2017_books
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: genre-sf
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 25, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Morgannah What a wonderful review, now I want this book more than ever! I have written the marketing folks at the imprint and can't get a reply. Do you have any advice on how I might obtain an ARC?

Liviu I didn't get the copy from publishers (tried with Anathem and did not work) but got lucky to know someone who got it and lent it to me, so cannot say what would work

Morgannah You did get lucky!

Liviu thank you for the nice comment about the review - agree about being lucky but I plan to get a copy when is out too as I want to have mine

Morgannah You are welcome! I am going to try to find time to read more of your reviews soon.
I will probably preorder mine from.Barnes and Noble, they are offering signed copies.

message 6: by Travis (new) - added it

Travis Williams Was already excited about this book. Now I can't wait. Great review. Thanks!

message 7: by Gerhard (new) - added it

Gerhard You got me at 'Viking sack of a Walmart'. Sounds like great fun!

Melinda The Viking saga about the Walmart jumped the shark in a pink feather boa, but it was also hilarious. You have to remember that Stephenson's charm is both the technobabble and the hyperbole. I just reread Zodiak and it is as full of hyperbole, but less of magic.

Tiyana White You made this sound so amazing! Okay, gotta grab this book. Right. Now.

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