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Fall, or Dodge in Hell

A Novel
Written by: Neal Stephenson
Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
Length: 31 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Seveneves, Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon returns with a wildly inventive and entertaining science fiction thriller - Paradise Lost by way of Phillip K. Dick - that unfolds in the near future, in parallel worlds.

In his youth, Richard “Dodge” Forthrast founded Corporation 9592, a gaming company that made him a multibillionaire. Now in his middle years, Dodge appreciates his comfortable, unencumbered life, managing his myriad business interests, and spending time with his beloved niece Zula and her young daughter, Sophia. 

One beautiful autumn day, while he undergoes a routine medical procedure, something goes irrevocably wrong. Dodge is pronounced brain dead and put on life support, leaving his stunned family and close friends with difficult decisions. Long ago, when a much younger Dodge drew up his will, he directed that his body be given to a cryonics company now owned by enigmatic tech entrepreneur Elmo Shepherd. Legally bound to follow the directive despite their misgivings, Dodge’s family has his brain scanned and its data structures uploaded and stored in the cloud, until it can eventually be revived. 

In the coming years, technology allows Dodge’s brain to be turned back on. It is an achievement that is nothing less than the disruption of death itself. An eternal afterlife - the Bitworld - is created, in which humans continue to exist as digital souls. 

But this brave new immortal world is not the Utopia it might first seem....

Fall, or Dodge in Hell is pure, unadulterated fun: a grand drama of analog and digital, man and machine, angels and demons, gods and followers, the finite and the eternal. In this exhilarating epic, Neal Stephenson raises profound existential questions and touches on the revolutionary breakthroughs that are transforming our future. Combining the technological, philosophical, and spiritual in one grand myth, he delivers a mind-blowing speculative literary saga for the modern age.

©2019 Neal Stephenson (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • G. Person
  • 2019-06-13

So lost

I enjoyed the first 1/3 or so but after that was just listening because I like the narrator. I loved reamde and others but this one just didn’t seem to have a coherent story, especially in the bitworld.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • C. Hartmann
  • D.C. & St. Croix
  • 2019-06-05

Wonderful - Stephenson in Full Voice

Two disclosures: (1) I REALLY enjoy Neal Stephenson's books and (2) Malcolm Hillgartner is not only one of the most prolific narrators, but one of the best. Therefore I can report, admitting these prejudices, that Stephenson is in full voice here. Not as frantic as some of his earlier works, but just as ground-breaking and brilliant. This is near future tech-oriented SF at its very best. I won't divulge ANY of the story, but can assure you that this is worth every one of the 31 hours and 48 minutes.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Brenda
  • 2019-06-16

Two many disconnected themes and threads

Problematic all around:

- There was zero need to re-use characters from Reamde into this
- Abandoned early theme of fake news and personalized feeds - no need to even have it
- There was no purpose for the conflict between the D and L given both could have independent worlds
- No real concern that virtually nobody who went into simulation land to live forever had any real connection to their former selves, thus were just as good as dead anyway
- Yeah... it went downhill from there

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Sandy Hook, CT, United States
  • 2019-06-15

Reamde meets Anathem. Anathem wins. Sigh...

Given the length of an average Neal Stephenson novel, if i had stopped about 1/3 through this book I would have been happy. Bringing back Dodge from Reamde and mixing in the modern world of social media in a twisted way was brilliant.
Then came the gods.
To call it tedious is to insult tedium.
I continue, and will continue, to buy every book that Stephenson writes. He has flashes of brilliance and insight that are all too rare in todays cookie cutter world of groupthink. Anyone who could write Quicksilver and Reamde, not to mention Seveneves and the incomparable Cryptonomicon is well worth supporting and listening to.
Hopefully he has gotten the fantasy world out of his system for a while.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lars Terje Hellum
  • 2019-06-17

Struggled with the last half

First part is OK and showed a lot of potential for innovating sci-fi, but as the second part turned into some sort of fantasy novel with a simple and, honestly, quite boring quest, all the ideas and questions that had been spawned in my head where left for dead.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mrevolved
  • 2019-06-16

Glad it’s over

First third was interesting and presented some challenging concepts about consciousness. After the first third the storyline got silly and difficult to follow.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Adam Mince
  • Chicago, IL
  • 2019-06-16

Nothing At Stake

This story has no momentum. Heavy on concept, very light on plot, nil on character development. This story's predecessor, Reamde, was a page turning plot-fueled juggernaut full of fun characters, given beautiful voice by the same Malcolm H. Fall's cast is much the same as Reamde's but these once familiar and likeable characters feel more like fence posts than people, now.

If this novel were a photograph its compelling subject would be off-center and partially cropped out of frame. You'll find good ideas and beautiful prose that you want more of, but you'll be left hungry and buried beneath the superfluous stuff that comprises first sixty percent of the book or so. The reason the superfluous stuff feels the way it does is because the story's premise is anchored in a future time, and extends into a much later and more alien future time. It comes across as a huge amount of speculation about the coupling of future tech and future society and, while the speculation is sharply imaginitive and compelling, it just can't drive a novel forward on its own. The pacing of the story is awkward too, shifting from hard exposition into a much more poetic and metaphysical form of telling, roughly halfway through.

Like a plain turkey sandwich with sweet PB&J in the middle instead of more processed meat, this novel could have benefitted greatly from an earlier decision about what kind of book it was really supposed to be.

If you haven't read Reamde yet, maybe you'll like this title? Maybe. It makes me wish that Audible allowed returns or exchanges in warranted cases, though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ed
  • United States
  • 2019-06-17

very poor attempt to use the Adam eve story

frankly, it's a poor attempt of rewriting a fairy tail of the fall placed on a digital stage (garden). so much waste of potentially useful subject.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 2019-06-15

meh

the last 10 hours of the book seems like the author is trying to milk his story so he can make more money instead of just getting to the damn point. Stevenson is a very good offer, but he really should stick to what he's good at mainly science fiction and novel concepts. the end of this book is mostly a medieval magical fantasy quest to put a giant key into a giant hole. not very good. oh and, yes,Yes, very subtle, it's all a simulation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • Pittsburgh, PA United States
  • 2019-06-11

awesome book

loved it. another Stephenson masterpiece. loved how minor details turned into major parts of the book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful