Fall: or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson
English | 2019 | Sci / Fi | ePUB | 4.3 Mb
Fall : 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 Phillip 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 . . .
“And yet it all rang true on some level. He did feel sometimes that he was continuing to suffer guilt pangs for acts he had long ago forgotten—deeds done when he wasn’t the same person. And who hasn’t known a sad sack, a hard-luck case who seems to be undergoing eternal punishment for no particular reason?
The next Erinyes reference happened to occur just before a two-page spread featuring the more cheerful topic of the Muses, which was good stuff, way more Sophia-appropriate, as well as reminding Richard that his own Furious Muses were at least as creative as retributive, for some of his best work had emerged from imaginary dialogues with those estimable ladies. So “Furies” had been the text he was after, and “Fates” an accidental subtext—but this morning something about it was nagging at him.
It had to do with the threads. Lying in bed a minute ago he’d been thinking about the thread of consciousness, and how severing it—breaking the brain–body link—was the key to a proper nap. And he knew that somewhere in d’Aulaire was a picture of the Fates spinning, measuring, and cutting thread. He looked all through Greek as he drank his coffee, and found it not.
The coffee was unutterably fantastic. The machine cost more than Richard’s first car and there was nothing known to coffee technology that was not embodied in its hardware and its algorithms. The beans had come from an artisanal roaster a hundred yards away—a nimble coffee startup founded by java wizards who had been brought here to work for Starbucks and spun out the moment their stock options had vested. The taste of the coffee was not wonderful, however, merely because the machine and the roasters had done such good jobs, but in the categorical sense that Dodge was awake, he was alive, he was actually physically tasting this stuff with his body in a way that sleeping-Dodge-in-a-dream could never have done.”