Fall; or, Dodge in Hell: A Novel (Paperback)
A New York Times Notable Book
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.
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.
“Stephenson devotees with a taste for Tolkienesque fantasy will revel in the author’s imaginative world building . . . . Still, there are enough futuristic, envelope-pushing ideas here, especially related to AI and digital consciousness, to keep even nonfans and science buffs intrigued.”
— Booklist [starred review]
“A one-of-a-kind synthesis of daring and originality, unafraid to venture into wild and unmapped conceptual territory.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Stephenson isn’t just playing with words, he’s playing with ideas, and he isn’t joking either. He is sci-fi’s great contrarian, and Fall deserves to be rated as one of the great novels of our time, prophetically and philosophically.”
— Wall Street Journal
“Those ready for an endlessly inventive and absorbing story are in for an adventure they won’t soon forget. An audacious epic with more than enough heart to fill its many, many pages.”
— Kirkus Reviews [starred review]
“Fall is at once science fiction and fantasy, with quantum computing enabling what amounts to magic, and while Stephenson spins out a pleasingly plausible vision of our near future, he carves out his most comfortable position in the uncertain nexus where that future becomes past and we rewrite our own apocrypha. Vintage Stephenson, which is to say it’s like nothing he’s ever written.”
“Fall is a stunning combination of science fiction and Tolkienesque epic fantasy. Neal Stephenson moves deftly between real and simulated worlds, following characters in both settings and the long-term consequences of their actions. Fall is biblical in theme and scope. At nearly 900 pages, Stephenson’s bifurcated world is easy to get lost in.”
— Shelf Awareness
“Neal Stephenson’s Fall explores higher consciousness, the internet’s future, and virtual worldbuilding in one mind-blowing adventure.”
“Like Dodge, Stephenson is creating a new universe from scratch, fighting battles and wrestling with big ideas. Those of us in Meatspace can only sit mutely by and watch the spectacle in wonder.”
“Stephenson is not merely a fantasist of the future; he is a prophet of our present, a virtual architect of the ideas that define our world. . . a science fiction writer who is not only determined to entertain, but to make the world a better place—even if it means inventing that future himself.”