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

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

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"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"--
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062409164
Branch Call Number: F Ste
Additional Contributors: Galland, Nicole - Author
Alternative Title: Rise and fall of DODO


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Jul 21, 2017

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 Norse saga about Wal-Mart.

Jun 26, 2017

Stopped at page 132. Technical tedium overlayed with fluff.

Michael Colford Jun 10, 2017

When a 700+ page book turns out to basically be a glorified prologue, the authors have to work awfully hard to make it worthwhile. Fortunately, Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland worked very hard and for the most part, succeeded in constructing a fun, clever, suspenseful, and fascinating sci fi/historical/time travel jaunt. D.O.D.O. stands for the Department of Diachronic Operations, and it is a little-known arm of the government who is exploring time travel to identify known-witches in the past to help restore magic to the world. It's a twisty-turny adventure with a lot of acronyms, some fun characters, (Ersezebet, a particularly arrogant but lovable witch being a stand-out), and a lost of skewering of the government, that for all it's length, moves along at a pretty rapid pace.

My only complaints were the lull in the middle of the book which seemed to be an unnecessary diversion; and the somewhat anti-climactic ending after such a strong beginning. Still Stephenson is always entertaining, and Galland, known for her historical fiction, surely supplied all the intricate details of the various time periods that the characters visited. I don't know if this is the first of a series of stories (it sure seemed that way) but it was a pretty fun romp all on its own.


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