"Where other writers spend their whole lives creating fantastic imaginary worlds that have their own languages, calendars and social strata," says Ryun Patterson of Bookgasm, "McDonald has dived headfirst into a culture that’s every bit as fantastic and also awesomely real."
Speaking of the Quill-nominated Brasyl, Patterson says that Ian McDonald writes,"as if he were raised on the beaches of Rio. Food, language, attitudes – everything comes off as authentic," then goes on to proclaim the importance within this lush setting of the story itself. "While science-fiction classics of the past have explored what it means to be alien or what it means to be intelligent, Brasyl is a landmark in that [it] unravels what it means to be quantum, and what might necessarily follow if quantum theory holds true. In addition, there are sweet car chases, acres of suspense, huge tracts of conspiracy, knives that cut through anything, epic battles, fight scenes worthy of Yuen Woo-Ping, and plenty of hot sex. Really, what are you waiting for?"