Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood-and solar system-very different from our own, from Catherynne M. Valente, the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making .Read more...
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Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood-and solar system-very different from our own, from Catherynne M. Valente, the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Severin Unck's father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father's films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.
But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony's last survivor, Severin will never return.
Told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-17
- Reviewer: Staff
The long-awaited first science fiction novel—though it’s really more of a cosmic fantasy—from Tiptree winner Valente (whose last novel for adults was 2011’s Deathless) is a masterpiece of storytelling, seductive in prose and ambitious in scope. In an alternate 1944 where interplanetary travel is the norm, a film crew headed by Severin Unck journeys to Venus to investigate the Roanoke-like disappearance of the diving village Adonis. The voyage ends in disaster. Severin is the outspoken daughter of a famous Hollywood director, but she eschews her father’s fantasy tales, preferring true stories. When she doesn’t return from the ill-fated Venus shoot, speculation leads to rumor and conjecture, and the press and hoi polloi are only too happy to fan the flames of gossip. Severin’s tale is told largely through press snippets, film notes, audio transcripts, preproduction meetings, and interviews with the surviving crew. This celluloid fairy tale about one woman’s life beyond her father’s legacy and the all-seeing eye of the lens will captivate readers with all the drama and wonder that Valente’s strange and wonderful golden age Hollywood demands. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Oct.)