Top critical review
Unfortunately marred; look elsewhere.
Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2019
'Fall, or Dodge in Hell' is a book that's hard to talk about because I find it basically fractally bad -- at any level I look at it, there's an interesting idea shot through with some fatal flaw, and so if I let myself I could go on at far too much length about any one of its problems. At the highest level, it's a story about uploading human consciousness and the creation and organization of virtual realms, told with a tech-bro's certainty in technology and obliviousness to anything else, plus also the casual misogyny; then there's the story told about the uploaded, that attempts to be biblical without an understanding of morality, and fantastic without ever surpassing the level of 80s Tolkien imitators. It's too bad the book wants to be Paradise Lost, instead of Frankenstein; there would be a really good metaphor in something like this, pieced together from various half-envisioned ideas, and brought to life as a monstrous whole that its creator cannot control. That's not to say you couldn't enjoy reading this -- the certainty and declarativeness of the writing can carry you through a lot if you don't think too much about it -- but it would be best if you've never read these ideas before, or if you're looking for something to reinforce your particular technological eschatology, or if you're a teenager with time on your hands.
On the other hand, let me offer some alternatives that have done better service to these ideas. First, Peter Hamilton's 'Void Trilogy': if you want long-spanning future history and an ever-expanding realm of uploaded consciousnesses, this has you covered, in spades. Alternately, Elizabeth Bear's 'Grail': it's much shorter, full of excellently realized characters, and deals thoughfully with the ethics of different ways of being human minds. And finally, Matthew Stover's 'Heroes Die': if you want a fantasy adventure in a world where modern people insert themselves to create epic drama without regard for the other inhabitants; it's only tangentially similar, but even its dystopian capitalist hellscape is more well-realized than the "realistic" political events going on in 'Fall.' So yeah, there's a lot better stuff you could be reading instead -- don't spend your time on this unless you have to.