Adam Balm is back on Ain't It Cool News with a review of Ian McDonald's Brasyl. He begins by quoting the old writing adage, "write what you know," saying that McDonald does the exact opposite:
"I walk away from this book convinced that he's lived it all. I absolutely believe that this middle-aged white Irishman is also an indian boy, a self-absorbed Latin American woman, a Jesuit priest, and a walker between the universes. There's no other explanation."
Then, after a bit of plot description he summarizes McDonald's accomplishment thusly:
"...the brilliance lies in how MacDonald marries these tropes of radical Hard SF to the South American traditional themes of Latin American magical realism, melding it all together and spitting out something that feels like it's never been done before. And on top of that, there's probably at least two new ideas on every page that stops you cold in your tracks, where you put the book down and just stare into space. ...you just end up hating this guy for being so damn clever."