Catherynne M. Valente
Radiance Cover



I have a mixed relationship with Valente. My favorite book by her was In the Night Garden, my least favorite, Palimpsest. This book is somewhere in the middle. What stands out about the books of hers that I have read has been their structure. This one was no different. Told through interviews, films, letters, and flashbacks, it recounts an investigation into what happened to the daughter of a famous director on Venus. It's sort of an alternative universe, taking place in the first half of the 20th century, and assuming all the planets are easily reachable and inhabitable, like classic sci fi speculation. In addition, film is mostly silent and in black and white because the heir of Thomas Edison holds the patent for color and sound and rarely gives permission for anyone to use that technology. It's an extremely interesting premise with lots of potential, but I found it mostly okay. This was a book club selection.

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