It seems to have gone over the head of some who have reviewed it here but this is a brilliant imagining of the result of the complete neural connections of a person being booted up in digital form without external interfaces. An exposition of the classic mind-body problem. It also includes characters dating back to his extraordinary Baroque Cycle novels. However I won't go into too much detail to avoid spoiling the wonder and enjoyment of future readers. 50 years ago, Science Fiction magazines tried to reformulate themselves as SF (Speculative Fiction). I would be so bold as to suggest that Neal Stephenson has, with this novel, instantiated a new genre, ST (Speculative Theology). Stick with it and expect the unexpected.
Mr Stephenson has written another profound and exciting novel that displays his gift for blending gaming culture, big philosophical ideas, social comment and likeable characters to great effect. Thank you
The first third to half of the book is an interesting sci fi story exploring our possible digital future built into a realistic near future. Stephenson does an amazing job during this part with his ability to take something he has a personal interest in and meshing out a story around that.
But sort of as in Seveneves, but much worse this time, Stephenson manages to turn the story into in this case completely to fantasy removing all the interesting ideas or themes from earlier. The symbolism of religions was just blah.
With yet again some of the same characters as other novels and of his and continuation somewhat of their stories it is frustrating that this is not advertised or even said to be a sequel probably of Reamde but also with characters or their names from his other novels.
By the end I just didn't care. I just wanted it finished. I anticipated a great ending tieing back to the initial theme of the book, as insinuated throughout as well "turtles all the way down" but again as always Stephenson's ending further fail this book.
Ever get 300,000 words into a 400,000-word novel and suddenly you realise it's totally gone to the dogs? Welcome to 'Fall, or Dodge In Hell'. To be fair, he has form with this - Seveneves was a three-part book that was one part too long. And 'Fall' manages to do almost exactly the same. The first eight 'parts' of the book are packed full of a great narrative, beautiful story arcs and really enjoyable characters - Dodge, Sophia, C-Plus, Zula, El and Enoch - and then he decides to abandon them and take us on a tedious ride which cumulates - and this is no word of a lie - with long, painfully dull passages about two immensely flat characters building a hut and chopping down trees. We're then treated to a 'quest' sequence with more characters who we have zero affiliation with. What on earth was Stephenson's editor thinking?
Two stars because the first part of the book is great. I really like Stephenson. I really do. But this was awful.