Fabio Fernandes on Brazil in International SF – of presences and absences
Earlier this month, Fabio Fernandes was pondering on Brazil’s presence in Science Fiction, over at his blog Post-Weird Thoughts:
The Quiet War – Paul McAuley’s novel presents us a kind of old-fashioned space opera where Earth is mostly dominated by Greater Brazil, a sort of mega-country that seems to occupy all the Americas and then some. That is never made entirely clear – nor does it anything else regarding Earth culture. McAuley is interested in telling us a story of a war between our planet and humans living in other worlds in the system. The story is fast-paced but failed to attract me, and I still didn’t understand why he chose Brazil to rule Earth when any other country would do, since there is nothing on the novel that can give the reader any specific information on Brazilian culture. The characters doesn’t sound convincing, and even Brasilia, our capital city, seems cardboard-like in the end, which is a shame, because I was really looking forward a great reading here. I’m starting Gardens of the Sun next week, so let’s see if it can clarify something on that matter.
Flood – Stephen Baxter is a terribly competent writer when it comes to hard SF. In this catastrophe-ridden novel, which really scared the bejesus out of me, the world is quickly flooded entirely in a few decades, and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. The protagonists are strong and resorceful, but (fortunately) not especially trigger-happy mankind-savior kind of people, something that annoys me to no end. But there is one thing that upsets me along the reading: there is not a single mention of Brazil in the novel. I’m not trying to be an übernationalist here, but let’s keep it straight: Brazil is one of the top economies of the world right now; we’re (very) quickly rocketing out of a underdeveloped position to a developed one in the geopolitical scene. So, it would be more than natural that Brazil could play an important role of some kind in that novel, economically at least. (I’m halfway through Ark and so far nothing, by the way.) Sometimes the absence is louder than the presence.
Anyone care to chime in on the discussion?