Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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


Neal Stephenson is my favorite science fiction author. In "The Rise of Fall of D.O.D.O." he has partnered with co-author Nicole Galland to produce an absolutely fascinating novel about time travel, based on theories from quantum mechanics. The fact that much of the action is set in my current neighborhood of Central Square, Cambridge made this book even more compelling for me. Central Square sits halfway between Harvard and MIT, and these two august institutions play a major role in the plot of this novel.

The government has decided that magic and witchcraft could be strategic tools if they could be resurrected, but they died out with the birth of photography - specifically the photographing of the solar eclipse that occurred in 1851, captured by the Prussian photographer Berkowski. The complex plot finds a motley crew of government officials, academics, scientists, witches, Vikings, Puritans, courtesans, and bankers embroiled in complex stratagems to reverse the effects of Berkowski's photograph.

There are extended scenes in which Vikings travel in time to a present day Walmart and pillage it as if it were un unprotected village in the Dark Ages. This scenario alone is worth the price of the book.

Along the way, the authors comment upon government inefficiency, ineptitude and bureaucratic inanities. The action encompasses many continents and centuries - including present day Cambridge and D.C., Cambridge in 1640, Antwerp in 1560, London in 1601, Constantinople in 1203, San Francisco in 1850, Normandy in 1045, and London in 1851.The Novel is a wonderful compendium of scientific research and literary imagination.

This is a must read for any fan of Stephenson, and of good science fiction.

Enjoy!

Al

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