book review: brasyl

Ian McDonald’s Brasyl is a sf book set in Brazil. It’s about quantum physics and reality television and admonishing fallen priests and about making the best of the universe we’ve got even if it’s not the only one. Like most of his work, I enjoyed it. Not as much as Desolation Road, but enough.

One thing I realized reading this was how much the idea of a doppelganger fucking with your life scares me. The idea that people wouldn’t know who was me and who wasn’t just set me on edge and I needed to move on to one of the other timelines. Which is convenient because the book takes place in 2006, 2032 and 1732 with different characters in each part of the story. They each came back regularly, in the same order which was a bit less interesting than how McDonald’s played his ensemble casts in other books, but whatever.

A good William Gibson-ish read, with an ending that I can’t determine if it filled me with existential dread.

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