Brasyl

Brasyl

by Ian McDonald

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Overview

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 characters, three time periods, three stories that bind together.

Sao Paulo 2031: Edson is a self-made talent impresario one step up from the slums. A chance encounter draws him into the dangerous world of illegal quantum computing, but where can you run in a total surveillance society where every move, face, and centavo is constantly tracked?

Rio 2006: Marcelina is an ambitious Rio TV producer looking for that big reality TV hit to make her name. When her hot idea sets her on the track of a disgraced World Cup soccer goalkeeper, she becomes enmeshed in an ancient conspiracy that threatens not just her life, but her very soul.

The Amazon 1732: Father Luis is a Jesuit missionary sent into the maelstrom of 18th-century Brazil to locate and punish a rogue priest who has strayed beyond the articles of his faith and set up a vast empire in the hinterland. In the company of a French geographer and spy, what he finds in the backwaters of the Amazon tries both his faith and the nature of reality itself to the breaking point.

Three characters, three stories, three Brazils, linked across time, space, and reality in a hugely ambitious story that will challenge the way you think about everything.

Praise for Brasyl

“McDonald’s outstanding SF novel channels the vitality of South America’s largest country into an edgy, post-cyberpunk free-for-all… Chaotic, heartbreaking and joyous [a] must-read…” —Publishers Weekly

“BRASYL is classic McDonald: a deep thinking, high-paced adventure story, exploring the quantum universe, combining sassy, believable characters with a captivating delight in language and storytelling. McDonald inhabits the Brazil – or rather, the Brazils – of this world and sweeps you along as no other writer in the field could manage.” —The Guardian

“A beautiful story, one that cries out to be read again and again. McDonald’s light is still shining brightly, and considering the consistent quality of his titles, we say long may it burn.” —SciFi Now

“Ian McDonald’s BRASYL, with its three storylines, is as close to perfect as any novel in recent memory. It works because of great characterization, but also because McDonald envisions Brazil as a dynamic, living place that is part postmodern trash pile, part trashy reality-TV-driven ethical abyss… and yet also somehow spiritual… McDonald’s novel is always in motion. This movement extends through time and alternate realities in ways both wonderful and wise, as the three storylines interlock for a satisfying and often stunning conclusion. McDonald has found new myths for old places; in doing so, he has cemented his reputation as an amazing storyteller.” —Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625673077
Publisher: JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Publication date: 03/05/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 419
Sales rank: 835,209
File size: 610 KB

About the Author

Ian McDonald is the author of many award-winning and critically-acclaimed science fiction novels, including Brasyl, River of Gods, Cyberabad Days, The Dervish House, and the ground-breaking Chaga series. He has won the Philip K. Dick Award, the BSFA Award (five times), LOCUS Award, a Hugo Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. His work has also been nominated for the Nebula Award, a Quill Book Award, and has several nominations for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Read an Excerpt


BRASYL

A Novel



By IAN McDONALD
Prometheus Books
Copyright © 2007

Ian McDonald
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-1-59102-543-6



Chapter One OUR LADY OF PRODUCTION VALUES

May 17-19, 2006

Marcelina watched them take the car on Rua Sacopã. It was a C-Class Mercedes, a drug dealer's car, done up to the tits by the Pimp My Ride: Brasileiro design crew with wheel trim and tail and blue lighting that ran up and down the subframe. Subwoofers the size of suitcases. The design boys had done a good job; it looked a fistful more than the four thousand reis Marcelina had paid at the city car pound.

One time they passed it: three guys in basketball shorts and vests and caps. The first time the looking time. A second time, this time the checking time, pretending to be interested in the trim and the rosary and Flamengo key-fob hanging from the mirror (sweet touch) and was it CD multichanger or a hardpoint for MP3?

Go, my sons, you know you want it, thought Marcelina in the back of the chase car in a driveway two hundred meters up hill. It's all there for you, I made it that way, how can you resist?

The third time, that is the taking time. They gave it ten minutes' safety, ten minutes in which Marcelina sat over the monitor fearing would they come back would someone else get there first? No, here they were swinging down the hill, big pretty boys long-limbed and loose, and they were good, very good. She hardly saw them try the door, but there was no mistaking the look of surprise on their faces when it swung open. Yes, it is unlocked. And yes, the keys are in it. And they were in: door closed, engine started, lights on.

"We're on!" Marcelina Hoffman shouted to her driver and was immediately flung against the monitor as the SUV took off. God and Mary they were hard on it, screaming the engine as they ripped out onto the Avenida Epitácio Pessoa. "All cars all cars!" Marcelina shouted into her talkback as the Cherokee swayed into the traffic. "We have a lift we have a lift! Heading north for the Rebouças Tunnel." She poked the driver, an AP who had confessed a love for car rallying, hard in the shoulder. "Keep him in sight, but don't scare him." The monitor was blank. She banged it. "What is wrong with this thing?" The screen filled with pictures, feed from the Mercedes' lipstick- cams. "I need real-time time-code up on this." Don't let them find the cameras, Marcelina prayed to Nossa Senhora da Valiosa Producão, her divine patroness. Three guys, the one in the black and gold driving, the one in the Nike vest, and the one with no shirt at all and a patchy little knot of wiry hair right between his nipples. Sirens dopplered past; Marcelina looked up from her monitor to see a police car turn across four lanes of traffic on the lagoon avenue and accelerate past her. "Get me audio."

João-Batista the soundman waggled his head like an Indian, the gesture made the more cartoonish by his headphones. He fiddled with the mixer slung around his neck and gave a tentative thumbs-up. Marcelina had rehearsed this-rehearsed this and rehearsed this and rehearsed this-and now she could not remember a single word. João-Batista looked at her: Go on, it's your show.

"You like this car? You like it?" She was shrieking like a shoutygirl-presenter. João-Batista looking pityingly at her. On the car cams the boys looked as if a bomb had gone off under their Knight Rider LEDS. Don't bail, Lady Lady Lady, don't bail. "It's yours! It's your big star prize. It's all right, you're on a TV game show!"

"It's a shit old Merc with a cheap pimp from graphics," Souza the driver muttered. "And they know that."

Marcelina knocked off the talkback.

"Are you the director here? Are you? Are you? It'll do for the pilot."

The SUV veered abruptly, sending Marcelina reeling across the backseat. Tires squealed. God she loved this.

"They decided against the tunnel. They're taking a trip to Jardim Botânica instead."

Marcelina glanced at the satnav. The police cars were orange flags, their careful formation across Rio's Zona Sul breaking up and reordering as the chase car refused to drive into their trap. That's what it's about, Marcelina said to herself. That's what makes it great TV. Back on the talkback again.

"You're on Getaway. It's a new reality show for Canal Quatro, and you're on it! Hey, you're going to be big stars!" That got them looking at each other. Attention culture. It never failed to seduce the vain Carioca. Best reality show participants on the planet, cariocas. "That car is yours, absolutely, guaranteed, legal. All you have to do is not get arrested by the cops for half an hour, and we've told them you're out there. You want to play?" That might even do for the strapline: Getaway: You Want to Play?

Nike vest boy's mouth was moving.

"I need audio out," Marcelina shouted. João-Batista turned another knob. Baile funk shook the SUV.

"I said, for this heap of shit?" Nike vest shouted over the booty beat. Souza took another corner at tire-shredding speed. The orange flags of the police were flocking together, route by route cutting off possible escape. For the first time Marcelina believed she might have a program here. She thumbed the talkback off. "Where are we going?"

"It could be Rocinha or up through Tijuca on the Estrada Dona Castorina." The SUV slid across another junction, scattering jugglers, their balls cascading around them, and windshield-washers with buckets and squeegees. "No, it's Rocinha."

"Are we getting anything usable?" Marcelina asked João-Batista. He shook his head. She had never had a soundman who wasn't a laconic bastard, and that went for soundwomen too.

"Hey hey hey, could you turn the music down a little?"

DJ Furação's baile beat dropped to thumbs-up levels from João-Batista.

"What's your name?" Marcelina shouted at Nike vest.

"You think I'm going to tell you, in a stolen car with half Zona Sul up my ass? This is entrapment."

"We have to call you something," Marcelina wheedled.

"Well, Canal Quatro, you can call me Malhação, and this América"-the driver took his hands off the wheel and waved-"and O Clono." Chest-hair pushed his mouth up to the driver's headrest minicam in the classic MTV rock-shot.

"Is this going to be like Bus 174?" he asked.

"Do you want to end up like the guy on Bus 174?" Souza murmured. "If they try and take that into Rocinha, it'll make Bus 174 look like a First Communion party."

"Am I going to be like a big celebrity then?" O Clono asked, still kissing the camera.

"You'll be in Contigo. We know people there, we can set something up."

"Can I get to meet Gisele Bundchen?"

"We can get you on a shoot with Gisele Bundchen, all of you, and the car. Getaway stars and their cars."

"I like that Ana Beatriz Barros," América said.

"Hear that? Gisele Bundchen!" O Clono had his head between the seats, bellowing in Malhação's ear.

"Man, there is going to be no Gisele Bundchen, or Ana Beatriz Barros," Malhação said. "This is TV; they'll say anything to keep the show going. Hey Canal Quatro, what happens if we get caught? We didn't ask to be in this show."

"You took the car."

"You wanted us to take the car. You left the doors open and the keys in."

"Ethics is good," João-Batista said. "We don't get a lot of ethics in reality TV."

Sirens on all sides, growing closer, coming into phase. Police cars knifed past on each side, a blast, a blur of sound and flashing light. Marcelina felt her heart kick in her chest, that moment of beauty when it all works together, perfect, automatic, divine. Souza slid the SUV into top gear as he accelerated past the shuttered-up construction gear where the new favela wall was going up.

"And it's not Rocinha," Souza said, pulling out past a tanker-train. "What else is down there? Vila Canoas, maybe. Whoa."

Marcelina looked up from her monitor, where she was already planning her edit. Something in Souza's voice.

"You're scaring me, man."

"They just threw a three-sixty right across the road."

"Where are they?"

"Coming right at us."

"Hey, Canal Quatro." Malhação was grinning into the sun-visor cam. He had very good, white big teeth. "I think there's a flaw in your format. You see, there's no motivation for me to risk jail just for a shit secondhand Merc. On the other hand, something with a bit of retail potential ..."

The Mercedes came sliding across the central strip, shedding graphics' loving pimp job all over the highway. Souza stood on the antilocks. The SUV stopped a spit from the Mercedes. Malhação, América, and O Clono were already out, guns held sideways in that way that had become fashionable since City of God.

"Out out out out out." Marcelina and crew piled onto the road, traffic blaring past.

"I need the hard drive. If I haven't got the hard drive I haven't got a show, at least leave me that."

América was already behind the wheel.

"This is sweet," he declared.

"Okay, take it," Malhação said, handing monitor and terabyte LaCie to Marcelina.

"You know, you kinda have hair like Gisele Bundchen," O Clono called from the rear seat. "But curlier, and you're a lot smaller."

Engine cries, tires smoked, América handbraked the SUV around Marcelina and burned out west. Seconds later police cars flashed.

"Now that," said João-Batista, "is what I call great TV."

* * *

The Black Plumed Bird smoked in the edit suite. Marcelina hated that. She hated most things about the Black Plumed Bird, starting with the 1950s clothes she wore unironically in defiance of trend and fashion (there is no fashion without personal style, querida) and that nevertheless looked fantastic, from the real nylon stockings, with seams-never pantyhose, bad bad thrush-to the Coco Chanel jacket. If she could have worn sunglasses and a headscarf in the edit suite, she would have. She hated a woman so manifestly confident in her mode, and so correct in it. She hated that the Black Plumed Bird could exist on a diet of import vodka and Hollywood cigarettes, had never been seen taking a single stroke of exercise and yet would have emerged from an all-night edit radiating Grace Kelly charm and not skull-fucked on full-sugar guaraná. Most of all she hated that, for all her studious retro and grace, the Black Plumed Bird had graduated from media school one year ahead of Marcelina Hoffman and was her senior commissioning editor. Marcelina had bored so many researchers and development producers over Friday cocktails at Café Barbosa about the stunts and deviations the Black Plumed Bird had pulled to get head of Factual Entertainment at Canal Quatro that they could recite them now like Mass. She didn't know the mike was still live and the guys in the scanner heard her say ... (All together) Fuck me till I fart ...

"The soundtrack is a key USP; we're going for Grand Theft Auto/Eighties retro. That's that English new romantic band who did that song about Rio but the video was shot in Sri Lanka."

"I thought that one was 'Save a Prayer,'" said Leandro, moving a terracotta ashtray with an inverted flowerpot for a lid toward the Black Plumed Bird. He was the only editor in the building not to have banned Marcelina from his suite and was considered as imperturbable as the Dalai Lama, even after an all-nighter "'Rio' was shot in Rio. Stands to reason."

"Are you like some ninja master of early eighties English new romantic music?" Marcelina sniped. "Were you even born in 1984?"

"I think you'll find that particular Duran Duran track was 1982," the Black Plumed Bird said, carefully stubbing her cigarette out in the proffered ashtray and replacing the lid. "And the video was shot in Antigua, actually. Marcelina, what happened to the crew car?"

"The police found it stripped to the subframe on the edge of Mangueira. The insurance will cover it. But it shows it works; I mean, the format needs a little tweaking, but the premise is strong. It's good TV."

The Black Plumed Bird lit another cigarette. Marcelina fretted around the door to the edit suite. Give me it give me it give it just give me the series.

"It is good TV. I'm interested in this." That was as good as you ever got from the Black Plumed Bird. Marcelina's heart misfired, but that was likely the stimulants. Come down slowly, all say, and then a normal night's bed; that, in her experience, was the best descent path out of an all-nighter. Of course if it was a commission, she might just go straight down to Café Barbosa, bang on Augusto's door with the special Masonic Knock, and spend the rest of the day on the champagne watching roller boys with peachlike asses blade past. "It's clever and it's sharp and it hits all our demographics, but it's not going to happen." The Black Plumed Bird held up a lace-gloved hand to forestall Marcelina's protests. "We can't do it." She tapped at the wireless control pad and called up the Quatro news channel. Ausiria Menendes was on the morning shift. Heitor would probably call her midday for a little lunch hour. The scuttling fears and anxieties of a middle-aged news anchor were the very un-thing she needed this day. A fragment seemed to have fallen out of her brain onto the screen: Police cars pulled in around a vehicle on the side of a big highway. São Paulo, said the caption. Cut to a helicopter shot of military cruisers and riot-control vehicles parked up outside the gate of Guarulhos Main Penitentiary. Smoke spiraled up from inside the compound; figures occupied the half-stripped roof with a bedsheet banner, words sprayed in red.

"The PCC has declared war with the police," said the Black Plumed Bird. "There are at least a dozen cops dead already. They've got hostages in the jail. Benfica will start next and then ... No, we can't do it."

Marcelina hung by the door, blinking softly as the television screen receded into a tiny jiggling mote at the end of a long, dim tunnel buzzing with cans of Kuat and amphetamines, Leandro and the Black Plumed Bird strange limousines playing bumper-tag with her. She heard her voice say, as if from a fold-back speaker, "We're supposed to be edgy and noisy."

"There's edgy and noisy and there's not getting our broadcast license renewed." The Black Plumed Bird stood up, dusted cigarette ash from her lovely gloves. "Sorry, Marcelina." Her nylon-hosed calves brushed electrically as she opened the edit suite door. The light was blinding, the Black Plumed Bird an amorphous umbra in the center of the radiance, as if she had stepped into the heart of the sun.

"It'll blow over, it always does...." But Marcelina had contravened her own law: Never protest never question never plead. You must love it enough to make it but not so much you cannot let it fall. Her chosen genre-factual entertainment-had a hit rate of a bends-inducing 2 percent, and she had grown the skin, she had learned the kung-fu: never trust it until the ink was on the contract, and even then the scheduler giveth and the scheduler taketh away. But each knock-back robbed of a little energy and impetus, like stopping a supertanker by kicking footballs at it. She could not remember when she had last loved it.

Leandro was closing down the pilot and archiving the edit-decision list.

"Don't want to rush you, but I've got Lisandra in on Lunch-Hour Plastic Surgery."

Marcelina scooped up her files and hard drive and thought that it might be very very good to cry. Not here, never here, not in front of Lisandra.

"Oh, hey, Marcelina, say, sorry about Getaway. You know, that's such bad timing...."

Lisandra settled herself into Marcelina's chair and set her shot-logs and water bottle precisely on the desk. Leandro clicked up bins.

"Isn't that always the business?"

"You know, you take it so philosophically. If it was me, I'd probably just go and get really really drunk somewhere."

Well, that was an option, but now that you've mentioned it, I would sooner wear shit for lipstick than get wrecked at Café Barbosa.

Marcelina imagined slowly pouring the acid from an uncapped car battery onto Lisandra's face, drawing Jackson Pollock drip-patterns over her ice-cream peach-soft skin. Lunch-Hour Plastic Surgery this, bitch.

* * *

Gunga spoke the rhythm, the bass chug, the pulse of the city and the mountain. Médio was the chatterer, the loose and cheeky gossip of the street and the bar, the celebrity news. Violinha was the singer, high over bass and rhythm, hymn over all, dropping onto the rhythm of gunga and médio then cartwheeling away, like the spirit of capoeira itself, into rhythmic flights and plays, feints and improvisations, shaking its ass all over the place.

Marcelina stood barefoot in a circle of music, chest heaving, arm upheld. Sweat ran copiously from her chin and elbow onto the floor. Tricks there, deceivings to be used in the play of the roda. She beckoned with her upraised hand, suitably insolent. Her opponent danced in the ginga, ready to attack and be attacked, every sense open. To so insolently summon an opponent to the dance had jeito, was malicioso.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from BRASYL by IAN McDONALD Copyright © 2007 by Ian McDonald. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents OUR LADY OF PRODUCTION VALUES....................9
OUR LADY OF SPANDEX....................49
OUR LADY OF TRASH....................85
OUR LADY WHO APPEARED....................127
OUR LADY OF THE FLOOD FOREST....................169
OUR LADY OF THE TELENOVELAS....................207
OUR LADY OF THE GOLDEN FROG....................243
OUR LADY OF ALL WORLDS....................279

What People are Saying About This

Cory Doctorow

"I will read anything that man writes-he is the most underappreciated genius working in the field today." --(Cory Doctorow, author of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town; coeditor, boingboing

et)

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Brasyl 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
slothman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
McDonald brings us a tale of intrigue rooted in the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, set in Brazil with narrative threads in past, present, and future. The depiction of the many-worlds interpretation is one of the best I've seen in science fiction, giving a strong sense of just how fundamentally weird it is rather than invoking those key words to depict a handful of timelines.Like River of Gods, Brasyl is a feast of cultural immersion; I would love to read this book in hypertext form with links to show all the nuances he depicts.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three very different people--Marcelina, a reality TV producer living in Rio de Janeiro in 2006, who is also an accomplished capoeirista; Edson, a self-made talent impresario who still has deep roots in the favelas and crime of the São Paulo of 2032; Father Louis Quinn, S.J., who, in 1732, has been tasked by his order to track down and bring to heel an errant Jesuit in a remote area of the Amazon River Basin--suddenly find themselves a part of inexplicable events, of interest to people who simply can not exist in their worlds--and in reality, who DON'T live in their worlds or time. All three are stunned to discover that there are an infinite number of alternate universes, and ways of traveling among and between those universes. All three, separately and together with unlikely companions from the three different time periods and universes--struggle in a confrontation with The Order, a group determined to keep the status quo among the alternate universes. Unfortunately, the status quo is something akin to an entropic death eventually. There is a possible way out, risky but one that holds hope for the future. The Order prefers the Devil it knows to the one that may or may not exist. Thus a monumental struggle over times and spaces with these three very unlikely protagonists in what is in reality a war to control all the known universes.If this sounds like a confusing summary, it is. The book is a large, confusing collage of these three stories whose relevance to each other does not become clear until the very spectacular end.Clearly this is a science fiction story. But in many ways, it doesn't feel like a science fiction story, simply because of where McDonald has chosen to set his story--the country of Brasil (real spelling), which even in our time and universe has an exotic, not-quite-real feel to it.Having spent a great deal of time in Brasil, both in the northeast and in the Amazon region, I read anything written about Brasil or set in Brasil sceptically. It has been my experience that no one can capture the essence of either the country, the people, or the culture without having spent more than a few weeks in tourist hotels and reading guide books, emphatically so if one does not speak Portuguese. And the Amazon region is a world apart.So, I was astonished to find that McDonald has indeed portrayed aspects of Brasilian culture in this book, especially that of capoeira, what is erroneously looked upon as the sport (it isn't) of Brasilian "kick boxing" (for want of a more accurate term). Capoeira, especially as described in the book, is a way of life, practically a religion. And that is another aspect that McDonald has managed to convey well--the religion, West African in origin, of candomblé, which has incorporated aspects of Catholicism into its belief system.I think he is less successful with his cities. For all that some famous Rio landmarks are mentioned, the cities could very well be almost any large metropolitan area in any non-first-world country in the world. The favelas of São Paulo, however, rang true, even in 2032. He's done somewhat better with the Amazon area, although even then the story--which takes place on the Rio Branco some distance from the Amazon River itself--subsumes the region thanks to the intensity of the plot and the surprises in it.All that aside, the story is a brilliant example of the genre. Confusing at the beginning, it leaves you wondering where the author could possibly be going with these three very separate threads. You soon find out; by the middle of the book, it becomes as good a page-turner as any mystery/thriller.Highly recommended.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book had a strong beginning, but it never really gelled. I found the jumping between three different story lines narrative format problematic, with none of the three tales ever developing much momentum. While I¿m not a big fan of the needlessly-bloated, I¿d say that this is a book that would have benefited from each of the three storylines being a bit more fleshed out. Perhaps more importantly, McDonald never really sold me on the critical underlying premises of this universe. I found myself constantly thinking about reasons why things that were happening were implausible if not paradoxical.Marcelina had a lot of promise as a character, and I was quite interested to see where he was going to take her. But from the point she actually met her doppelganger she became little more than a characature. And I¿d have to say that the setting didn¿t really feel like now to me; though I can¿t claim to have any familiarity with the world of tabloid television in today¿s Brazil.The Edson section never really grabbed me, nor did I find his relationships with Fia1 or Fia2 to really make much sense. His interactions with Mr. Peach were much more interesting. I will say that the City of Trash was one of the highlights of the book.The Quinn/Falcon section was the only one that ever really engaged me. I liked both these characters, and I cared about what was going to happen to them. But again, their story felt simple and sketchy.
BobNolin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A difficult novel to get through, it never really caught fire. Part of the problem was the lack of English at critical places. A lot of (I suppose) Portuguese words, and only a few of them were listed in the glossary. I wasn't looking for a Portuguese/English dictionary, but there were an awful lot of words not included that should have been. There are three stories here (one in 1732, one in 2033, one in the present day), and a common thread gradually appears, though it's never very clear. It's a many-worlds story, which somehow allows for time travel. After the far superior "River of Gods," "Brasyl" was a disappointment.
clothingoptional on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantastic read. Well-deserving of the Hugo nomination.The marketing blurb on the inside of the dust jacket tries to tie Brasyl to Bladerunner, but really I didn't see it at all. However, what Brasyl turns out to be is a fantastic romp through three time periods in Brazil. McDonald gives a great overview of quantum theory to boot.As a whole, quite wonderful. Yet, I would love to see McDonald write an entire book set in 16th century Brazil. This is really the strongest part of the book and a subject the author truly loves.
kd9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am quite fond of Ian McDonald's writing. I voted River of Gods, his novel set in India, as Best Novel for the Hugo Awards, but I have to say that I had a hard time getting into this novel. I even read several other things in between starting this book and finishing it. This may be because of his extensive use of Brazilian words and phrases, even thought there is a glossary in the back of the book. Most science fiction readers are used to finding out the meaning of odd words in the context of the story, but this time it doesn't work as well.In the end, the three braided stories of an eighteenth century Jesuit in the heart of the Amazon jungle, a contemporary television producer in Rio, and boy from the street of a future Sao Paulo, do come together most satisfyingly. I raced through the last 100 pages and found the novel both thought provoking and intriguing.
tpi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first book by Ian McDonald I have read. The plot was interesting, even engaging at times. But the writing was horribly loose and overwritten, and especially in the beginning before I got used to large amount of Portuguese words scattered everywhere this was really, really slow read. Why say something simply, when you can use a few flowery and long sentences without commas to say the same thing? :-) This book didn't give me any need to sample something else McDonald has written. Second this years' Hugo nominated book I have read. At this time "No award" is still my first choice in the novel category.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much reliance on jargon and the author's mash up of slang terms derived from three languages. I finished only because I hoped for a break in the monotony and a reveal at the end. Sadly disapointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
vito More than 1 year ago
Having brilliantly exploited the Indian subcontinent and the Ganges in "River of Gods" Mr. McDonald, somewhat less successfully, works with the Amazon basin and Brazil in this novel. The three story lines are compelling; the merging of them at the conclusion seems a bit forced. As with the glossary of local terms added to "River of Gods", the list of Portuguese words here is helpful but somewhat incomplete, and the repeated need to refer to it grows tedious. Still, a good read.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2006 Brazil, TV ¿Lady of Production Values¿ Marcelina Hoffman sets up scenes so her viewers can see genuine reality. She has recently learned that soccer goalie Barbosa, whose failure to block a shot at the 1950 World Cup gave the victory to Uruguay, still lives her plan is to place this loser on trial for causing one of the bleakest moments in the country¿s heritage. Instead her reseach investigation leads to some weird unexplained happenings as her doppelganger seems to want her dead. --- In 2032, Edson de Freitas runs a talent agency for losers, but earns a better living as a thief in a world where surveillance rules. Edson falls in love with Fia Kishida, an expert on security coding and computational physics in a multiversal continuum. His investigation into his beloved leads to some weird unexplained happenings as a doppelganger of Fia seems to have committed murder. --- In 1732 Father Luis Quinn and French scientist Robert Falcon arrive in Brazil on a quest to find Father Diego Goncalves, who has allegedley created an empire in his image of Christianity deep in the flood-forest. Their investigation leads to weird unexplained happenings as a doppelganger of ¿Our Lady of the Flood Forest¿ seems to have committed genocide. --- BRASYL is not an easy book to read yet worth the time for those in the audience who prefer a complex cerebral science fiction thriller that makes a strong case that quantum physics relativity of reality is a multiplier of a universal computer program. The story line uses Brazilian historical events and elements from the mysery genre to tell three tales of a multiverse in which time is relative to the individual, but within a group becomes collective. Multifaceted and incredibly intricate, as eras are rotated until they converge into ¿Our Lady of All Worlds¿, readers will appreciate this discerning look at an alternate way to interpret ¿I think there for I am¿. --- Harriet Klausner