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

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

Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. Morrow, $35 (768p) ISBN 978-0-06-240916-4

The engaging collaboration between bestseller Stephenson (Seveneves) and historical novelist Galland (Crossed) is presented as five volumes of collected materials, ranging from handwritten journals and letters to printouts of PowerPoint presentations and white papers. These materials chronicle the establishment of DODO, a black-budget operation created to restore magic to the present through the application of science. The Diachronicle, written by Melisande “Mel” Stokes in 1851 London, introduces her as a 21st-century linguist stranded unwillingly in the past, just before the Great Exhibition of 1851 effectively brings an end to magic. Stokes was recruited from her Boston University academic work by the charming Tristan Lyons to do lucrative work translating documents and reporting any common patterns for DODO. Quantum physics, witchcraft, and multiple groups with conflicting agendas, playfully mixed with vernacular from several centuries and a dizzying number of acronyms, create a fascinating experiment in speculation and metafiction that never loses sight of the human foibles and affections of its cast. Agency: Darhansoff & Verrill. (June)

This review has been corrected; a previous version listed the wrong ISBN.