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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"When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidentally 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."--
Publisher: New York, NY :, William Morrow,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062409164
Branch Call Number: FIC Step
Characteristics: 752 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Galland, Nicole


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Sep 19, 2017

Great book.
Lots of dedication required

Aug 21, 2017

I am not normally a fan of science fiction. But when I read the book flaps of this book on display at the library, I thought it deserved a shot, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Written by two leading authors - one, a science fiction writer, and the other, primarily a historical fiction scribe - "The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O." describes what happens when a linguist of ancient languages has a chance encounter with an operative of a secret military division, who is trying to bring back the art of witchcraft, which somehow declined during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, before disappearing all together during the 1851 World's Fair. To do so, the protagonist and several other operatives must travel back in time, repeatedly and undoing history, to tilt events in the favour of witches - and building a network of witches crossing through time who are willing to cooperate with the messengers from the future. But in so doing, going back to the same places over and over, multiple parallel universes are created and the rush is on to save time as we know it before everything collapses. The story is told from the perspective of several characters, e-mail threads and even an epic poem about a day in the life of a Viking visiting a Walmart that is simply hilarious. Not a one day read, but the reader will enjoy it if he or she manages to keep track of the often contradictory plot lines.

Aug 20, 2017

This extraordinary chronicle, as with so much of Stephenson's work, lives completely within its own genre, though some comparisons are possible. There are elements of "Groundhog Day" and "Dr. Who;" of Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis; of the '"Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" and of Grossman's "the Magicians," but "D.O.D.O." remains its own captivating and hilarious exploration of time travel and magic and bad office politics.
Stephenson and Nicole Galland flow across a wide and comic variety of voices and document types from journals to emails to congressional hearings, explore an appropriately twisted set of temporal anomalies from the Fourth Crusade to Shakespeare's London to Colonial Salem, and stumble around a bewildering array of institutional acronyms (DODO itself, CRONE, DORC...!); as an example, there is a hilarious exchange of necessary inter-office memos on the Policy on Official Jargon and Acronym Coinage (POOJAC??), later shortened to the Jargon and Acronym Policy (JAP, emended to Acronym and Jargon Policy upon consideration of the Diversity Policy...). Add to the mix a shady cabal from the Fugger Bank, and the image of shiploads of naked Vikings pillaging a Wal-Mart outside of Boston, and the result is a truly unique melange from the mind of these gifted writers.

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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