Fall; or, Dodge in Hell

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell

by Neal Stephenson


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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 Philip 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062458711
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 896
Sales rank: 8,824
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 2.40(d)

About the Author

Neal Stephenson is the bestselling author of the novels Reamde, Anathem, The System of the World, The Confusion, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac, and the groundbreaking nonfiction work In the Beginning . . . Was the Command Line. He lives in Seattle, Washington.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 31, 1959

Place of Birth:

Fort Meade, Maryland


B.A., Boston University, 1981

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Fall; or, Dodge in Hell 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
So very dissapointing. I have enjoyed the brilliance and creativity of Neal Stephenson for many years. but cou,d hardly finish this book. The first half is very engaging, with interesting characters and a future look at saving brain connections in a data base after physical death. I was very csptivated at first. But then Stephenson flew into a creation myth with tech overlays that was partly predictible and partly off putting. It did not partner well with the first half, and develooed into a Quest story that drug on and on and felt lifted from known myths. Ending was terribly bland and unsatisfying. Wish it had been otherwise, gven the great beginning.
Anonymous 5 months ago
The books starts wonderfully: great returning characters from Reamde, a great idea and his normal, rich, funny prose.But then it all goes off the rails. half the book is in a virtual world. no problem there. But it turns out Neal isn't good at writing fantasy.but here's the kicker: these parts are written in a different style. A turgid, bad Tolkien knockoff. So 400+ pages have none of the things that I read Neal for!Please, Neal. Go back, knock off 200 pages and rewrite in your wondrous normal style.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I have read most of Neil's books and enjoyed them. I liked the initial premise of the story, unloading minds to computer space, but it devolved into a boring fantasy world that just went on way too long. Very disappointing.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Neil Stephenson's impressive brain always produces thought provoking and fun worlds for me to explore. I love the spiritual elements to Fall. The whole story really exercises my brain.
Anonymous 3 months ago
It was a good read. Interesting topic. Not my favorite work of Stephenson, but still enjoyable and a new experience.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I ordered and paid for this book, but never received it.
SheTreadsSoftly 9 months ago
Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson is a highly recommended science fiction/fantasy thriller. This is a brilliantly unique novel with great characters and world building established in a cautionary premise. Richard “Dodge” Forthrast is a multibillionaire from a game company he founded. Now he can enjoy his life, especially spending time with his niece Zula and her daughter Sophia. When something goes wrong during a routine medical procedure, Dodge is pronounce brain dead and put on life support. This is when his family discovers that the will he made many years earlier called for his body to be frozen and stored at a cryonics company. The company is now owned by tech entrepreneur Elmo Shepherd. Legally bound to follow the directive, Dodge's friend Corvallis Kawasaki, who is also the executor of his will, acquiesces. Dodge's brain is scanned and its data structures uploaded and stored in the cloud, until it can eventually be revived. Years later Dodge's grandniece, Sophia, is able to download Dodge's brain into a digital world. Now Dodge (Egdod) is a god in a bitworld he creates, and other downloaded brains find a place in it. At this point the story alternates between what is going on in Bitworld and the real world, or Meatspace. Societal structures and power are explored in both worlds. Bitworld resembles a fantasy world, with footholds in ancient mythology and religion, and provides a sort of life after death for those scanned and downloaded into the digital world. Fall, or Dodge in Hell is absolutely a grand epic drama, featuring both an entertaining narrative and compelling reading. It explores the interfacing of human imagination and artificial intelligence and begs the question whether technological breakthroughs are helping or harming humanity. This continues the story in Reamde, with recurring characters from that novel, but is a standalone novel. The writing is consummate Stephenson, so it is a detailed, complex story presented in a massive novel. But the whole story is here, so there is no waiting for a part two. This is a well-written imaginative novel that explores life and eternity, and combines technology, and spirituality in one literary saga of science fiction and fantasy. The characters in both worlds are well developed and well imagined. The time line is approximately a human life span in Meatspace, but eons in Bitworld. I normally don't read much fantasy, so when the narrative mainly followed Bitworld, it lost a bit of the fascination for me. 4.5 rounded down Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.
Gavinsp 8 months ago
Another great novel from Neal. It’s another deep dive of detail. A step by step of what happened to Dodge. Each detail more interesting than the last.
Anonymous 7 months ago