Radiance: A Novel (Hardcover)
It's been several years since Valente released a book for grown-up readers, and the resulting novel is one of my absolute favorites this year. It's as if she took everything she learned writing the middle-grade Fairyland series -- and leapt off into the stars. Severin Unck is the daughter of a famous filmmaker, and an artist in her own right. But when she vanishes from her latest film set, no one understands what happened. Told in screenplays, gossip columns, transcribed conversations, and more genres than you can count on one hand, Radiance is a glorious trip both backward and forward in time that explores family, storytelling, cinema, love, and, well, quantum physics. Really. (Molly)— From Molly
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.
About the Author
Catherynne M. Valente, the acclaimed author of many books for adults, made her children’s book debut with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her husband.