The Geomancer


Brasyl Is A Trashy Novel

"I predict Brasyl will grace multiple shortlists come 2008," says Adam Roberts in a review posted April 30th on Strange Horizons. "It's easily the best SF novel I've read this year Of course, the year is barely a quarter over; but I find it hard to imagine many better novels than this one coming out. McDonald is a superb writer."

Adam quotes the following passage from Brasyl:
Todos os Santos is big enough to have a geography, the Forest of Fake Plastic Trees, where wet ripped bags hang like Spanish moss from every spar and protrusion. The Vale of Swarf, where the metal industries dump their coils and spirals of lathe trim. The Ridge of Lost Refrigerators, where kids with disinfectant-soaked handkerchiefs over their faces siphon off CFCs into empty plastic Coke bottles slung like bandoliers around the shoulders. Above them the peaks: Mount Microsoft and the Apple Hills; unsteady ziggurats of processor cubes and interfacers. … A truck disgorges a load of terminally last-season I-shades, falling like dying bats. The catadores rush over the slippery, treacherous garbage. (p. 114)

Then he goes on to say:

"I could hug McDonald for those bats. Such good writing. More to the point, this passage captures something important about what McDonald is doing in this novel. River of Gods parsed a future-India in terms of its superfecund, amazing, or choking sprawl. Something similar is going on in Brasyl, except that the sprawl is more specifically troped as trash. Brasyl is a trashy novel, in the very best sense of that word."

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