First edition
AuthorIan McDonald
Cover artistStephan Martinière
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreScience fiction, Cyberpunk
Publication date
May 3, 2007
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
823/.914 22
LC ClassPR6063.C38 B73 2007

Brasyl is a 2007 novel by British author Ian McDonald.[1] It was nominated for the 2008 Hugo Awards in the best novel category.[2] In 2008 it was nominated for, and made the longlist of, the £50,000 Warwick Prize for Writing.[3] It was also nominated for the Locus Award and John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel, and in 2009, it was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel.[4] It won the British Science Fiction Award for best novel in 2008.

Plot summary

Brasyl is a story presented in three distinct strands of time. The main action concerns Marcelina Hoffman; a coked-up, ambitious reality TV producer in contemporary Brazil, a striving amateur capoeirista who transcends the cliches of luvvy television phony and becomes a full-fledged, truly likable person as we watch her embark upon a mad new project. Marcelina is going to find the disgraced goalie who lost Brazil a momentous World Cup half a century before and trick him into appearing on television for a mock trial in which the scarred nation can finally wreak its vengeance.

Another strand is set in mid-21st century São Paulo, at a moment when the first quantum technologies are reaching the street, which industriously finds its own use for these things. Q-blades that undo the information that binds together the universe, Q-cores that break the crypto that powers the surveillance state that knows every movement of every person and object in Sampa and beyond.

The final strand is an 18th-century Heart of Darkness adventure in the deep Amazon jungle, following an Irish-Portuguese Jesuit into slaver territory where he is sent to end the mad, bloody kingdom of a rogue priest who scours the land with plague and fire. He is joined by a French natural philosopher, who intends to reach the equator and discover the shape of the world with a pendulum.


  1. ^ "Time traveller". New Statesman. 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  2. ^ "2008 Hugo Award Nominees". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  3. ^ "2008 2008/9 Warwick Prize for Writing". Warwick Prize for Writing. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  4. ^ "Awards won by Brasyl". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-05-16.