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July 05, 2008


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Sounds like a worthy read, though it sets off my 'European trying to be a Latin American writer of the Boom' radar. The Portuguese word for 'football' is 'futébol' not 'futbol', btw. Más, eu não sé muito desas coisas.

Eek. 'Futbol" for 'futébol' is my error, not McDonald's, and I will correct it above. I have a real problem with bleedover from Spanish when I read (or try to read) Portuguese or Italian.

I admit that devilish thoughts of "is this magic realism because it's set in South America?" and "can an Irish writer write magical realism or is being brown-skinned a requirement?" floated through my head, but I decided not to go there this week.

It's definitely worth a read, maybe even a second read.

Don't take too long to put your ballot in -- the online ballot software has screwed up other times and if it's not there on time, it's not counted.

I haven't read Brasyl yet, but it seems like you had the same problem with it that I had with McDonald's River of Gods. I enjoyed the book's story of the Indian continent a few decades from now, but I was disappointed with how all the various plotlines sort-of came together. That's probably why I preferred his shorter story The Little Goddess, which was set in the same milieu.

This was the first McDonald I've read, and I'm not opposed to reading more. Brasyl came very close for me, and I'm still tussling over whether or not to move it up to the #2 spot on my ballot over The Last Colony. I'll probably reread it at some point.

And no, Marilee, I will not wait until the last minute to vote. I even found my PIN this morning. I'll vote before 5pm today, and if it doesn't work online there's a fax number. After all this thinking about how to vote I won't miss my chance!

I think that Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, or Jorge Amado would be shocked to learn that they were brown, rather than white, myself. Well, maybe not Gabo...

Lo real maravilloso, realismo mágico, or whatever you want to call that particular form of marvellous surrealism that erupted out of Latin America in the middle of the twentieth century had a lot to do with the interplay of cultures in the circum-Caribbean and Brazil. That has a familial relationship (an elective affinity, to be Weberian) with sf, as John Brunner pointed out years ago.

Sorry, that snark arose from a hot button grown from my recent experience of being told to my face that they were really looking for people of color, Hispanics, etc. for their uniquely transgressive viewpoints. Apparently Real Hispanics don't study dead white European people. Reminded me of being told earnestly that Hispanics don't read SF because there are no people like them in it. (I could have saved myself a lot of reading this weekend if I'd known I didn't read this stuff.) Maybe I need to carry a sign, or go on Oprah? ("Today: pale-skinned, subtly transgressive, accent-free Hispanics and the people who assume they're Italian!")

I've never found a clear definitional line to separate magical realism from other forms of f&sf, and don't feel familiar enough with the tradition to have a clear opinion one way or another. It felt more SFnal and cyberpunkish than surreal in the 2006 and 2030s storylines, though there was also a certain, hmm, I am failing to come up with a word here.

If you get around to reading it I would be most interested in your opinion on this.

Would it be foolish to assume that the difference between magic realism and fantasy is that the former assumes that magic IS a real element of Reality, while the latter assumes that there is no such thing as magic but it pretends that there is - at least for the duration of the reading?

Hard to believe Chabon's won, isn't it? Charlie's now been nominated for Novel five times and never won -- he's beaten Heinlein. I finished Saturn's Children this week and you'll see Fragano likes it, too.

Life is too short, and books too numerous. Thus I think it wise for me not to spend my time and money on stories that people whose judgment I trust recommends against. Oh, and in case people might think me provincial for avoiding someone who isn't really an SF writer, I also intend to stay away from David Weber's frustrated missiles.

I was disappointed that Brasyl placed below Rollback, which I found a much inferior work.

I got a look at the full voting numbers at the Hugo Losers Party and was interested to see that 75 other people besides me placed No Award above the Chabon. I wonder how unusual that is.

Most of my picks ended up in second place. I guess that's better than last.

I was sitting next to one of ML's regulars, David Goldfarb, when Chabon's book was announced as the winner. He didn't seem offended, but it may well be that he hasn't read the book. Of course I haven't either, but I can tell from the comments of others when a story is not going to appeal to me.

This is hardly the first time something I disliked won the Hugo, and I'm sure it won't be the last. One must be philosophical about it. The Hugos are a reasonably good guide for my reading, but far from perfect.

They are indeed a guide. I have read and loved stories that I'd never known about if not for the Hugos.

And you have to remember that there are people who vote but don't read.

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