Friday, March 16, 2007

Brasyl by Ian McDonald

Last June I reviewed Ian McDonald's most recent book, River of Gods, and I called it "The most important SF novel that has been released in my 18 years of fandom."

So it may be a bit surprising when I say that the forthcoming Brasyl is just as strong, a bit tighter, a lot faster paced, and all-around probably a better, more enjoyable novel.

Set in past, present, and future Brazil, McDonald weaves a triptych tale of humanity and all its passions and indignities. He proves the existence of ghosts through science; makes time travel scientifically plausible through quantum physics.

And he has multi-dimensional swords that make lightsabers look like letter openers.

Brasyl is a far smaller book than River of Gods, in size if not scope, and it is far easier to follow. That said, I have still had discussions with friends also lucky enough to read this work about just how difficult some of the subject matter is.

Understand before you embark on this trip up the Rio Negro that it will be difficult and time consuming. You will be compelled to look up words, research topics, and perhaps even translate some phrases. McDonald is not for the weak of heart.

But oh, the ideas!

But having given the effort, having learned and wondered and considered, I am better for having read this novel.


Collector's Notes:

Buy early and often. Brasyl is almost guaranteed a Hugo nomination, and ought to be a contender to win with it's simultaneous release in the US and UK.

PYR is publishing this in the US, with an absolutely stunning Stephan Martiniere cover. (Shown above.) Gollancz has the publishing duties in the UK, and the UK editions tend to be worth a bit more than the US editions. So this brings about an interesting dilemma.

To which the obvious answer is to buy both.

And thank me later.

Comments on "Brasyl by Ian McDonald"


Blogger Ed S. said ... (7:48 PM) : 

10/10 Ooooh!

According to what Amazon is showing it's not a simultaneous UK/US release.

I think that the decision on which edition to get is determined by the publishing dates: Pyr is releasing the US hardcover sometime in May(?). Gollancz for some reason isn't releasing the UK hardcover until June 21 according to Amazon (bad Gollancz! bad!).

If true then since the US Pyr edition will be out a month or more before the UK Gollancz edition you'll be able to read it sooner, it will be the true 1st/1st if that matters, and as a bonus it has that nicer cover.


Blogger Patrick said ... (6:43 PM) : 


I've had the ARC sitting there for a few weeks now, so I'm glad you say it's such a strong novel!

Can't wait to read it!


Blogger Race said ... (9:57 AM) : 

I was overwhlemed by this book. Truly mind blowing. Jill had asked me to wait to review it until a little closer to the release date, so I'll post my review sometime next month.


Blogger M. said ... (1:20 PM) : 

I'm really looking forward to this one! I'm waiting to read River of Gods until I have all my wits about me, because I think I'll need them for RoG. I loved the short story, The Little Goddess. Thanks for the review. Keep posting!


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