Jun 27, 2019
When you are reading a Neal Stephenson novel you know you're going to get two kinds of experience in one book. Whether it's in a work like his revolutionary science fiction novel Snow Crash, his era-jumping adventure-slash-code epic Cryptonomicon, or his swashbuckling historical trilogy The Baroque Cycle, Stephenson brings high-wire thought experiments about the nature of technology and human society to life via engrossing, turn-off-your-phone-until-it's over feats of storytelling. Stephenson's books can look intimidatingly hefty on arrival — and his new novel, Fall: Or, Dodge in Hell — is no exception. But I'm not only speaking for myself when I say that for many readers, a few pages in is all it takes to make the ending of a Stephenson novel come all too soon. Fall is vintage Stephenson, a book stuffed with ideas about death and the afterlife, about real and virtual realities, the way social media-driven information is fragmenting our world. It's also a tale of gods and monsters, shape shifters and heroes, where Dungeons and Dragons and a children's book of Greek myths meet. Neal Stephenson joined us in the studio to talk about Fall and the endless power of story.