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Ian McDonald
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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,849 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Think Bladerunner in the tropics... Be seduced, amazed, and shocked by one of the world's greatest and strangest nations. Past, present, and future Brazil, with all its color, passion, and shifting realities, come together in a novel that is part SF, part history, part mystery, and entirely enthralling. Three separate stories follow three main characters: Edson is a self-m ...more
Published 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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The summary on the jacket for this book says, “Think Blade Runner in the tropics.” That’s wrong. It’s not Blade Runner, it’s more like if you took Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, Baroque Cycle trilogy and Anathem, the basic plot from Apocalypse Now and some concepts from a crappy Jet Li movie called The One and put them in a blender and mixed them up to come with a unique story, you’d start to have an idea of what this book is like.

There are three parallel stories told in different time frames in
Sep 21, 2010 tim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring reality police
Edit. Everything is edit, cutting down those endless tapes of footage to meaning… Take a sample here, another there, put them together, smooth over the joins with a little cutaway. A new reality.

A simple enough recipe for achieving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Throw into the mixture a handful of spices: quantum computers, quantum knives, quantum tattoos. Sprinkle in some Gaian Goddesses and robotic surveillance angels; add a dash of Cosmic Christ. But don’t let anyone know that t
As constant (some may say obsessive) readers, we have all come to know our individual tastes rather well. We know what books will hit our literary G spots and which will leave us feeling cold and dirty, like the regretful afterglow of a one night stand. We learn to savor those reads that are a “sure thing,” that guaranty a night of debauched pleasure. This is how it was when I first heard of the publishing of Ian McDonald’s Brasyl. There is no doubt that I am a scifi junkie. Few books scratch my ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Regular readers know that I ended up lucking into a cool situation this month; I just happened to be able to get my hands on half of the ten books nominated this year for either the Philip K Dick Award (recognizing the best experimental science-fiction novel of the year) or the Hugo Award (acknowledg
Jason Wyatt
Jun 18, 2007 Jason Wyatt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
Extremely difficult intro, largely due to the language barrier (and my own stupidity). The author uses large numbers of Brazilian words that would take whole phrases to describe in English since they don't have direct translations, so I ended up figuring out most of them purely through context. The reason I'm stupid is because there was a brief dictionary in the back of the book that I failed to notice until I finished it.

Besides that, you definitely still need to give this book some time to dra
Ian McDonald is one of my favorite authors. He probably has more imagination than any other author out there. He creates futures that are totally bizarre and makes them completely believable. In my opinion, "Brasyl" is one of his best novels. It's been nominated for the Hugo award and deserves to win.

"Brasyl" explores the concept of multiple universes in a whole new way. The end was a total surprise. I will definitely be re-reading this book.
Con sus tres arcos argumentales, Ian McDonald lleva a cabo en ‘Brasyl’ malabarismos con tres pelotas, pero antes de llegar al final del camino, y por ende del espectáculo, McDonald no puede evitar que alguna de dichas pelotas se le caiga al suelo, por lo que recibe un aplauso de circunstancias, y no el esperado aplauso unánime. No es bueno lo que hacen muchos editores, eso de comparar el libro presente con otros libros que se han convertido en verdaderos clásicos. En este caso, se habla en la po ...more
Ian James
This book leant heavily on Brazilian culture and vocabulary in an attempt to make it more interesting. The science was not at all convincing to me: the description of being able to see into parallel worlds was not at all believable, and it made no sense that the poison from a frog conferred the ability to do so in humans, just because that frog's retina is supposedly capable of detecting a single quantum of light (and is thus able to see into the quantum world). Also, just because you can see bi ...more
Vrhunski SF. Velika pohvala što je uspeo da tri (uglavnom) odvojene linije zapleta vodi tako da nijedna ne preuzme prvenstvo niti deluje zanemareno. Sjajni likovi, jezički savršeno (bonus za odličan odličan prevod Gorana Skrobonje), divna demonstracija činjenice da tvrdi SF može da funkcioniše i u okruženju osamnaestog ili ranog dvaesprvog veka. Jedina zamerka je malo previše otvoreno-otvoreni kraj, ali dobro, to su lične preference zbog kojih mu ne bih skinula zvezdicu.
-Localizaciones exóticas, Ciencia-Ficción más común pero entretenida.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. A comienzos del siglo XXI, Marcelina Hoffman es una ambiciosa productora de televisión residente en Río de Janeiro y que siempre está pensando en nuevos programas para aumentar la audiencia. En 2032, Edson Jesus Oliveira de Freitas es un buscavidas de Sao Paulo que debe buscar la ayuda de expertos en cuántica del lumpen local tras robar un bolso protegido por dicha tecnología. Luis Qu
Profundus Librum
McDonald még mindig inkább költő, mint író. A prózája gyönyörű, virtuóz, túlzás nélkül szépirodalmi. Ezeket a színpompás leírásokat viszont meglehetősen nehéz befogadni. A szépségnek ára van. A történet másodlagossá válik az elkápráztatás mellett, ami pedig az izgalomra sincs pozitív hatással. A Brasyl még A dervisház megfontolt mozgalmasságához sem ér fel, pedig már abban sem pörögtek az események igazán.
A szerző A dervisház írásakor olyan könyvet szeretett volna, ami „törökösebb”, mint ha egy
A sci-fi book told from three different characters' perspectives, one in modern day Brazil, one thirty years in the future, and one from the 1700's. The back cover hook told me they were all connected somehow. This was enough to get me interested, combined with the fact that I lived in Brazil for two years. Good thing I did.

I don't know how this book would be comprehensible to someone who hasn't lived in Brazil. No, not comprehensible, it's just that the author throws so much brazilian verbiage
Ian McDonald is a marvellously skilled writer. He writes prose like a musician, and, like a musician with an interest in finding different sounds, he plays with new and exciting instruments from faraway lands... Well, he certainly immerses his novels in local lingo and speech rhythms. Hats off and massive kudos to that.

His novels - the two I have read - are set in relatively near futures, in unconventional settings: Brazil, or Turkey, or other nations that are neither USA / Europe (nor Japan or
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brazyl is a three part narrative drawn together through locale and quantum physics. The title is a good clue as none of them are actually Brazil and vary in interesting ways. They are a contemporary media satire worth of anyone of the post-Delillo generation that becomes a tale of a sinister doppelganger, a near future Gibson style cyber punk, and my favorite an alternative history of colonial Brazil that evokes Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Pynchon’s Mason Dixon, and Llosa’s War at the End of the ...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Ian McDonald's latest. The setting of Brazil fits his lush, dense writing style so well that it is remarkable that he's never set a novel in real South America before (his two books set on Mars portray a rather Patagonian version of the planet, but it's not quite the same). We have three interleaving narratives, from the mid-18th century, the present day, and the near future (2030); we have peculiar variations of reality; and we have the jun ...more
Not my cup of caipirinha. I found the Portuguese language was poorly blended into the English narrative, and made for choppy, frustrating reading. There were stunning ideas about Quantum physics, and beautiful passages on faith and clairvoyant sight in the darkest jungle. But the pacing and three story lines seemed to make characters trip over their shoe laces, again and again. I couldn't run with the plot, I couldn't lay by the river and enjoy the beckoning river sound, all was the noise of the ...more
Fred P
Brasyl is fast-paced, beginning with a motorcycle chase, and ending with an epic battle that transcends time and space. Ian McDonald did his research for this one. You feel like you are a part of the Brazilian culture, with Portuguese slang and complex cultural references. You will experience Brazilian candomble ceremonies, and a history lesson in the Spanish conquest of the Amazon. From the favela to the multiverse, our heroes are pursued by a mysterious organization known as "the Order."

Somewhat disappointing. Ian McDonald certainly has a distinctive style. It worked for me in River of Gods...but in Brasyl I was mostly annoyed. Maybe reading this right after River of Gods was not a good thing to do since they are so similar in style and both heavily involve quantum mechanics. I was a little sick of the parallel universe/multiverse stuff. However, it did end strong so I would recommend it...but it did not live up to the hype.
Bajban vagyok ezzel a könyvvel, mert bár nagyon jól van megírva, de mégsem aléltam el tőle úgy, mint a Dervisháztól.
Egyszerűen nem éreztem magam jól azokban a világokban, amelyeket ábrázolt, még a 2006-ban játszódó történet sem tudott közel kerülni hozzám. Mind3 sztori Brazíliában játszódik, különböző korokban (1732, 2006 és 2033). Talán túl európai vagyok én ehhez a világhoz. Valljuk be, Dél-Amerika egy gyökeresen más kultúra, életmód. McDonald remekül ábrázolja az ország színes forgatagát, a v
This novel mixes three stories from three time periods---1732, 2006 and 2032---to incorporate a Heart-of-Darkness-esque history, contemporary action/mystery story and near-future sci-fi---all in the service of revealing a grandiose theory of everything.

As usual, McDonald embraces the book's setting, in this case Brasil (obviously) and the addition of the historical layer to a sci-fi novel is a real treat. He even includes a glossary of terms, many from Portuguese, at the back of the book.

The “
Tim Fiester
Like most of Ian McDonald's books, I didn't appreciate "Brasyl" until I finished it. He asks a lot of his readers by frequently using the lexicon of his chosen locale and, even with the glossary in the back, I was still confused by many Portuguese and Brazilian words used with no clear context or English equivalent nearby. (I'm not faulting him for it; I'm sure some people love that habit of his.) But once I read the last page and thought about everything, I smiled.

IMO, McDonald seems to like t
This was on lots of best-of scifi lists last year, but I thought it started slow and never really recovered. Also, I have tried it in many forms, but I just can't really get into cyberpunk (Neal Stephenson excepted).
My younger son gave me this book to read. It irritated me with lazy grammatical faults and sloppy writing - repeated words in sentences and short-hand sentence construction that often had me reading a sentence several times to make sense of it.
Written in alternating sections dates 2006, 2032 and 1732 it took a long time before I remembered which characters were from 2006 and which from 2032. I preferred the slower style and descriptive passages in the 1732 chapters, and found the 2032 parts the
Frederick Gault
A good premise, but a mess of a book. The Favela slang is so thick that I had real trouble understanding what was going on. The structure of the book is similar to Cloud Atlas with different eras, but I wasn't sure why. The multiple universe, multiverse idea was good but once you got your head around it, it became clear that the action was happening in an infinite number of universes and all possible outcomes occurred. So why care about the one outcome the author follows? Finally, there is a str ...more
Let me preface this review (like I mentally preface all reviews) by saying that Mr. McDonald is very talented - way more so than I.

I can forgive jacket text which says something akin to "Blade Runner in the tropics" and the matching cover art, all of which probably had nothing to do with the author.

This novel's setting, Brazil, is very well researched, at least in the eyes of someone who has never set foot in the southern hemisphere. I could mistake Mr. McDonald for a Brazilian citizen, although
A good speculative novel that takes 3 separate storylines and weaves them together with quantum physics and multiverse theory. Each storyline has a different tone to it. In one, an 18th Century Jesuit priest is sent into the Amazon to rein in a renegade priest. This plays out like a version of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". In another storyline, a reality TV producer struggles to come up with a new, hit show. This is a situation with endless possibilities to satirize our fascination with the trai ...more
I really don't know where to start. It took me ages to finish this book and it wasn't fun.

Brasyl has three different time frames which all take place in Brazil, as the book's title suggests. In 1732 a Jesuit Father Luis takes a trip up to the wilderness of the Amazonas. In 2006 TV producer Marcelina has the idea to put a disgraced football goalkeeper in a reality TV show and tries to find him. In 2032, Edson finds out about Quantum computers.

At first, the three time frames appear to be totally
Ian McDonald writes fiction that transcends the genre he's usually tagged with. SF has come a long way from its little respected roots, and despite this, it's still not as respected by the general population as the genre literature is. For me, Literature exists as a supra-genre of stories that are unforgettable and have the capacity to influence people intellectually, emotionally, whatever, on a greater scale than the average story. In true Literature, genre is inconsequential—the story is utter ...more
I fell madly in love with Ian McDonald with Dervish House, so I pounced when I found Brasyl at the bookshop the other day. Given his other novel is Cyberabad Days, he's an author who is clearly very keen to explore non-traditional settings for SF written in English - in a way that, as far as I can tell, is as true to those non-Anglo locales as he can be.

(NB: isn't the cover a riot? There's a mask, and a lizard, and tail feathers, and stars, and circuitry, and a butterfly...)

As with Dervish House
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Ian Neil McDonald was born in 1960 in Manchester, England, to an Irish mother and a Scottish father. He moved with his family to Northern Ireland in 1965. He used to live in a house built in the back garden of C. S. Lewis’s childhood home but has since moved to central Belfast, where he now lives, exploring interests like cats, contemplative religion, bonsai, bicycles, and comic-book collecting. H ...more
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“Fake it may be, lies and deceptions, but this is the world in which we find ourselves, and here we must make our little lives.” 11 likes
“Marcelina loved that miniscule, precise moment when the needle entered her face. It was silver; it was pure. It was the violence that healed, the violation that brought perfection. There was no pain, never any pain, only a sense of the most delicate of penetrations, like a mosquito exquisitely sipping blood, a precision piece of human technology slipping between the gross tissues and cells of her flesh. She could see the needle out of the corner of her eye; in the foreshortened reality of the ultra-close-up it was like the stem of a steel flower. The latex-gloved hand that held the syringe was as vast as the creating hand of God: Marcelina had watched it swim across her field of vision, seeking its spot, so close, so thrillingly, dangerously close to her naked eyeball. And then the gentle stab. Always she closed her eyes as the fingers applied pressure to the plunger. She wanted to feel the poison entering her flesh, imagine it whipping the bloated, slack, lazy cells into panic, the washes of immune response chemicals as they realized they were under toxic attack; the blessed inflammation, the swelling of the wrinkled, lined skin into smoothness, tightness, beauty, youth.

Marcelina Hoffman was well on her way to becoming a Botox junkie.

Such a simple treat; the beauty salon was on the same block as Canal Quatro. Marcelina had pioneered the lunch-hour face lift to such an extent that Lisandra had appropriated it as the premise for an entire series. Whore. But the joy began in the lobby with Luesa the receptionist in her high-collared white dress saying “Good afternoon, Senhora Hoffman,” and the smell of the beautiful chemicals and the scented candles, the lightness and smell of the beautiful chemicals and the scented candles, the lightness and brightness of the frosted glass panels and the bare wood floor and the cream-on-white cotton wall hangings, the New Age music that she scorned anywhere else (Tropicalismo hippy-shit) but here told her, “you’re wonderful, you’re special, you’re robed in light, the universe loves you, all you have to do is reach out your hand and take anything you desire.”

Eyes closed, lying flat on the reclining chair, she felt her work-weary crow’s-feet smoothed away, the young, energizing tautness of her skin. Two years before she had been to New York on the Real Sex in the City production and had been struck by how the ianqui women styled themselves out of personal empowerment and not, as a carioca would have done, because it was her duty before a scrutinizing, judgmental city. An alien creed: thousand-dollar shoes but no pedicure. But she had brought back one mantra among her shopping bags, an enlightenment she had stolen from a Jennifer Aniston cosmetics ad. She whispered it to herself now, in the warm, jasmine-and vetiver-scented sanctuary as the botulin toxins diffused through her skin.

Because I’m worth it.”
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