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Brasyl (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Paperback]

Ian McDonald
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 2008 GOLLANCZ S.F.

Ian Macdonald's RIVER OF GODS, painted a vivid picture of a near future India, 100 years after independence. It revolutionised British SF for a new generation by taking a perspective that was not European or American. BRASYL will do the same for South America's largest and most vibrant country.

A story that begins in the favelas, the slums of Rio, and quickly expands to take in drugs, corruption, and a frightening new technology that allows access to all the multiple worlds that have slipped into existence in other planes everytime we make a decision.

This is rich, epic SF that opens our eyes to the world around us and posits mind-blowing alternative sciences. It is a landmark work in modern SF from one of its most respected practitioners.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (28 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575082887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575082885
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian McDonald was born in Manchester in 1960. His family moved to Northern Ireland in 1965. He now lives in Belfast and works in TV production. The author of many previous novels, including the groundbreaking Chaga books set in Africa, Ian McDonald has long been at the cutting edge of SF. RIVER OF GODS won the BSFA award in 2005.

Product Description


Brasyl is classic McDonald: a deep thinking, high-paced adventure story, exploring the quantumn universe, combining sassy, believeable 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. (Keith Brooke 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. (James Rundle SCIFI NOW)

This is a big, sprawling, sexy, complex novel. The writing is energetic and economical, the story riveting, the denouement fascinating. An ambitious and riveting SF epic. (DREAMWATCH TOTAL SCI-FI)

Book Description

The sensational new novel from one of the most acclaimed UK SF writers; a major addition to the Gollancz list

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superior novel! 25 Jun 2007
Brasyl was one of this year's most anticipated reads for me.

With River of Gods, Ian McDonald raised the bar rather high, and I was wondering if the author could come up with something as good. It never occurred to me that McDonald could write a better novel. And yet, somehow, he did!

Brasyl is a mesmerizing ensemble of three different tales. On takes place in Rio de Janeiro in 2006, as an ambitious reality tv producer finds herself in the middle of a conflict that could unravel reality itself. The second story takes place in Sao Paulo in 2032, as a man is thrust into the dangerous universe of quantum computing and he'll never be the same again. The third storyline occurs in Brazil in 1732, as a Jesuit Father is sent to bring back a rogue priest to face the justice of the religious order.

I was astonished to see the tale unfold, to see how McDonald yet again captures the essence of a country and its people and weaves it in a myriad of ways throughout the novel. The author paints a vivid picture of South America's largest country, depicting the past, the present, and the possible future of Brazil in a manner that makes everything come alive as you read on. Every plotline is tied to the others. Indeed, everything is linked together across time and the fabric of reality, thanks to quantum physics and the multiverse that surrounds our existence.

The worldbuilding is "top notch." Ian McDonald deserves kudos for his brilliant depiction of Brazil during three different epochs. As always, the author's eye for exquisite details adds another dimension to a book that's already head and shoulder above the competition.

Of the three main characters (one for each era), Father Luis Quinn steals the show.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant and original 16 Oct 2007
MacDonald once again chooses a distinctive cultural backdrop for this tale of quantum computing, parallel universes and mysterious organisations attempting to control reality. We are presented with three 'eras' of Brazil, anicent, contemporary and near-future, and within these three narrative strands is packed a phenomenal amount of historical, scientific and cultural knowledge. MacDonald has clearly done his research, and if at times the science is shoe-horned in via clunky 'infodumps', the never-ending stream of vivid characters, visceral action and cliffhanger plot-twists keeps the reader very much engaged. At times bewildering, and perhaps a little rushed towards the end, this is nevertheless a feast of alternative sci-fi that betrays a deep-love for its setting and its people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars real sci-fi, real storytelling 2 Feb 2009
This is one of the most original and inventive novels in this genre that I've read for some time. One can only conclude from the protests re the use of Brazilian-Portuguese in the text, that the complaints originate from those who holiday in foreign climes and insist on the full English breakfast. If one seeks the exotic, it's pretty much a given that things will be somewhat different. And this book certainly is different. This is the first book I've read by this author, but it is unlikely to be the last. Mr McDonald appears to be the sort of author who sets out to flatter his readers by assuming that they are either well-read, curious or both, whilst managing to entertain them at the same time. If you've found Wm Gibson, Neal Stephenson et al rewarding then this book is for you, tho' Mr McDonald is, on the basis of this outing, entirely his own man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brasyl, Brazil, etc 16 Feb 2010
Interesting one, this. As a SF novel, the concept feels pretty standard fare - multiverse, a manichean battle between those who want to preserve and those who want to provoke. The real high concept is the setting and the characterisation which aspires to the literary. The liberal sprinkling of Portuguese words acts as a badge of realism, of authenticity - yet the novel is premised on the quantum uncertainty, impossibility, of "the real". It comes across a little as literary tourism, an English author looking to carve out a niche as the SF Michael Palin. In terms of plot, this is the origin story of a trilogy that will never be written. It took me over 100 pages to crack the style and want to read on. Interesting, but not, I think, a classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch 29 Aug 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Absolutely first class read from Ian McDonald. A three handed narrative, in the now almost compulsory Sci-Fi multi narrative, multi timeline format but none the worse for it. Unlike so many novelists McDonald handles his disparate narrative streams deftly, allowing sufficient "bleed through" before the dénouement to direct and steer the meta-narrative and keep the stories tightly entwined until they fuse into one.

I loved Brazil as a source of inspiration, mixing past, present, future and some merely "possible" Brazils with a quantum cascade of possibilities and interlinkage that kept me turning pages well into the night.

If I have any criticism is it that the character of the protagonist in the past brazil, Luis Quinn, felt too familiar to me, almost stereotypical in some respects, perhaps I've simply read too many novels to allow me to see characters as truly fresh if they share any, even minor, trait with another I've read somewhere else, but this is a very trivial complaint in an otherwise compelling and innovative book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of annoying ways to apply the letter Q
This depicts both a future and past Brazil but not as you know it. It’s Brasyl, or a multiplicity of Brasyls, or Brazils, past, current and present which each give you a range of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by P. J. Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars "For a hundred leagues along the Rio Branco the emblem of the Green...
This is stunning. Set in modern times in Sao Paulo, and in 1732-34 in the Amerindian jungle. It flips to one or another location chapter to chapter. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars In the end I'm glad I persevered
I thought it important that the star rating reflects this book. Everything is pretty much covered in other reviews.

It's a darn beautiful book. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Conor Syme
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable
I loved 'River of Gods', I struggled through 'Cyderabad Days' and eventually enjoyed it. This is just unreadable - entirely the style. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Love Complexity
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful Complex Quantum Shenanigans
In 1733, Father Luis Quinn, a decent irish priest haunted by a violent incident in his past, is sent on a mission into the Amazon jungle as an admonitory to reign in a rogue... Read more
Published on 19 Nov 2011 by Rod Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Something is missing
"Brasyl" is a book written by Ian McDonald, a british author born in the sixties known for his non-traditional science fiction, like "River of Gods" and "The Dervish House". Read more
Published on 23 July 2011 by ManInsideTheHelm
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best.
I didn't find this book as engaging as River of Gods or Cyberabad Days. I felt the characters were weaker (and more cliched) and so was the sci-fi concept behind the story.
Published on 1 Aug 2010 by HeecheeRendezvous
3.0 out of 5 stars In another universe this is a better book
As other reviewers have remarked the high count of Portuguese words, real and invented, makes this tough to read, but the real problem is that story is just not as gripping as it... Read more
Published on 30 Nov 2008 by M. G. Wilson
1.0 out of 5 stars Aweful
The consistent and unecessary refrence to Brazilian dialect made it hard going. The Author does not write well and there is no sense of flow when reading the book. Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2008 by Paul Dawson
5.0 out of 5 stars True brilliance
Brasyl is a work of true brilliance! If William Gibson will still penning mainstream science fiction works than this is what he would have evolved into. Read more
Published on 4 July 2008 by thesci-figuy
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