Perfect 768 Page Summer Vacation Book: 'The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.'

Where a newly minted Ph.D. in linguistics chooses a different alt-ac career involving witches, time travel, and magic.

July 16, 2017

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

Published in June of 2017

What type of books do you like to read during your summer vacations?

Having just returned from our week-long summer vacation (well, really a staycation), I have a recommendation: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. may be a terrible title. (Like many Neal Stephenson book titles - in my opinion at least).  And the book seems to have some confusing parentage - is this really a Neal Stephenson book?  (Answer, yes - as far as I can tell - just co-authored this time).

Don’t let either of these challenges dissuade you from making D.O.D.O. your next vacation read.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is a big, funny, mildly thought provoking, and constantly entertaining summer treat.

The D.O.D.O in the the title stands for the Department of Diachronic Operation.  This branch of the government that manages time traveling witches who use magic to gently nudge historical events.

Yes, this 768 page book is about time travel, witches, and magic.  And much more besides that!  Throw in unrequited love, swashbuckling adventuring, medieval weaponry, and not a little cutting edge technology.

In what other summer read will you find an alt-ac newly minted Linguistics PhD who chooses to revive magic through time travel, rather than pursuing a more traditional academic career?

The hook of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is that magic is real.  Magic, like library card catalogs and kids who used to play outdoors instead of in front of screens, was killed by technology.  Specifically, magic was killed by the invention of photography.   You will need to read the book to learn more about how all this came about.

I love getting lost in a long book on vacation.  At 768 pages - or 24 hours and 29 minutes of audiobook - The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is the perfect book to get lost in.

And for those of us who will automatically drop everything that we are doing and read whatever Neal Stephenson publishes, this latest book is particularly well-timed for summer vacation season.  Not nearly as dense or technical as his last few books, D.O.D.O. is the opposite of the hard SF that Stephenson is so renowned.

Yes, fans of Seveneves and Reamde and  Cryptonomicon will love D.O.D.O. - but for different reasons.  Same great immersive experience - but this time with witches and magic and time machines - all while demanding less attention from the reader.

What big long books are you planning to bring on your summer vacation?

What are you reading?


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