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Radiance : a novel
2015
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Summary

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.

Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Multiple-award-winner Valente's unique style makes her latest novel a challenging and exhilarating read. Using a panoply of formats and styles related to filmmaking and crime solving, Valente, author of Palimpsest (2009) and the best-selling YA The Girl Who . . . series, takes the reader on a nonlinear, solar-system-spanning journey through the history of moviemaking and the bizarre realities of life on wildly imagined inhabited planets. Percival Unck, the greatest and most famous filmmaker of all time, is the father of Severin Unck, a beautiful documentary filmmaker in her own right who disappears on an ill-fated investigation on Venus where city-size beings who live in the vast seas provide the special milk that allows humans to live on other planets. The splendiferous prose swirls and twirls in a manic, vocabulary-enhancing dance in a world where silent black-and-white movies have never gone out of vogue. Expect Valente's hugely imaginative, retro adventure on multiple science-fiction- and fantasy-award short lists.--Herald, Diana Tixier Copyright 2015 Booklist
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