Brasyl by Ian McDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So, you know that author who constantly comes out with deep characterizations and even deeper worldbuilding, flitting about from one huge idea concept to another but always keeping the narrative tight to the MC's? The one who wrote Luna and it's sequel, not to mention an earlier favorite Desolation Road? Or Dervish House?
Yeah. Him. He who dazzles with amazingly detailed characterizations in wildly descriptive settings, be it a luna colony done as the Godfather, or an extended future Mars colony quite UNLIKE KSR's.
Have him turn his sights to Brasil of the present, future, and past. Anchor it with a Jesuit priest, a sordid sensationalist reporter, and a complex minor thief in the future, then WRITE A NOVEL JUST LIKE CLOUD ATLAS.
Seriously. Not the particulars, but the style. As in, sprawling locales and amazingly drilled-down MCs, make you wonder where the hell the novel is going or whether these weird mysteries are MEANT to go anywhere for 3/4ths of the book, and the slam us with the big reveal that ties everything together in a really huge SFnal way.
Just like Cloud Atlas.
Want tons of alternate realities, quantum knives, organizations that kinda police it all from above, or massive quantum hacking, mysticism from remote tribes doing the same thing, or chasing mysterious doppelgangers ruining your life?
Well, this novel is right up your alley.
Well written, dense as hell, rich the way you think god in nature must be rich, and taxing on your patience every step of the way. Or maybe that's just me. The payoff is much later in the novel. The rest of the time I just have to sit back and try to enjoy the ride. It's always interesting, but it's nearly impossible to predict.
Nommed for Hugo back in '08. Rich, but not exactly my best cup of tea. :)
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