It is time to abandon ship me mateys!
radiance (Catherynne M. Valente)
I am so very sad to have to abandon another ship so soon. This trend of abandoning novels is starting to alarm me. This book had a cool concept including a murder mystery, firm noir, inhabited plants in our solar system, and even a prologue told from the point of view of a prologue. But I stopped and started reading this novel over 5 times and only made it to page 75 of 429. Okay . . . I will also admit that I did something even more out of character for me then not finishing the whole book. I also read the last chapter ::gasp:: from page 422 to 429 after getting stuck on 75.
You see, I thought that if perhaps the murder mystery ending part was interesting enough then I could make myself go back and finish it to see how the story wound to that conclusion. Yet again. Failure. I just did not find the story appealing. I mean the structure of the story was interesting. The story was told out of order with some chapters being film scripts, some being newspaper gossip articles, some being straight narrative, etc. The novel seemed more interested in playing with form than anything else and the plot was too disjointed. I could not even care about the characters. Shame too since so many people seem to love this author. This Captain could have done without.
Amazon has this to say about the novel:
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.
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