Brain Exercise from the D.O.D.O.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (HarperCollins/Morrow; HaperAudio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list this week at #11. It is the lead feature in the paper’s “Inside the List” column, which calls it “a fat marshmallow of a fantasy novel.”

The book, “about a time-traveling intelligence officer and a Harvard linguist who discover that magic was once commonplace” is a collaboration between the noted SF writer and the historical novelist, furthering the trend of genre blending. The NYT asks “If you co-write a book about magic, is that crowd-sorcery?”

Defending the book’s length, 768 pages, Stephenson says “The practice of sustained attention is something that’s happening less and less, especially in our leisure time, so a long narrative, and one that’s this intricate, which requires that you’re always plugged in, because there are various things going on at once — I think that that’s a great exercise. I would assign this book as a brain exercise, as well as a jolly good read.”

It also debuts the USA Today list at #29 and is the #1 Indie Next pick for July. Entertainment Weekly names it one of their “20 Must-Read Books” of the summer. Booklist and Kirkus star, with the latter calling it “Immense and immensely entertaining.” The Guardian reviews it, writing that it is “big, roomy and enjoyable … The characters are lively, the plot moves along and the whole thing possesses heart and charm.” The Washington Post calls it “ambitious” and says “There’s a lot going on here — stylistic flourishes, comedic pratfalls, romance and science — but it’s handled deftly.”

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