Tor.com content by

Catherynne M. Valente

Fiction and Excerpts [17]
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Fiction and Excerpts [17]

Radiance: The Ingénue’s Handbook

, || A decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood--and solar system--very different from our own: Severin Unck's 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.

The Ordinary Woman and the Unquiet Emperor

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

[Read “The Ordinary Woman and the Unquiet Emperor” by Catherynne M. Valente]

Series: Nevertheless She Persisted

Radiance: The Ingénue’s Handbook

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, Catherynne M. Valente’s Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film—available October 20th from Tor Books. Below, read an excerpt from the fictional diary of aspiring actress Mary Pellam, or head back to the start of Radiance here.

[Read an excerpt]

Radiance: Come Forward!

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, Catherynne M. Valente’s Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film—available October 20th from Tor Books.

[Read an excerpt]

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Excerpt)

Check out The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M Valente, available October 1st from Feiwel and Friends!

September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

[Read an Excerpt]

Six-Gun Snow White (Excerpt)

Check out this excerpt of Catherynne M. Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White, out on February 28 from Subterranean Press:

Valente’s adaptation of the fairy tale to the Old West provides a witty read with complex reverberations from the real world. Snow White is the daughter of a Crow woman abducted and forced into marriage by an unloving white magnate called only Mr. H. She gets her name in mockery, as white is “the one thing I was not and could never be.” When her father remarries, Snow White’s glimpse into the second Mrs. H’s mirror suggests they share the yoke of female subservience, but the two are inevitably at odds—so the young woman dons a man’s clothes and, like Huck Finn, chooses the “Indian Territory” that so frightens Mr. H’s world. Enter a pursuing Pinkerton’s detective, a pony named Charming, seven kick-ass outlaw ladies, and a variety of showdowns as Snow White searches for meaning, love, and a semblance of belonging. Any attempt to derive a simple message from this work would be an injustice to the originality of the atmosphere, the complexity of the interplay of its elements, and the simple pleasure of savoring Valente’s exuberant writing.

[Read more]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland: Chapter 5 (Excerpt)

All this week we’re serializing the first five chapters of the long-awaited sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente’s first Fairyland book — The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is out on October 2nd. You can keep track of all the chapters here.

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

[Read more]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland: Chapter 4 (Excerpt)

All this week we’re serializing the first five chapters of the long-awaited sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente’s first Fairyland book — The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is out on October 2nd. You can keep track of all the chapters here.

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

[Read more]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland, Chapter 3 (Excerpt)

All this week we’re serializing the first five chapters of the long-awaited sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente’s first Fairyland book — The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is out on October 2nd. You can keep track of all the chapters here.

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

[Read more]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland, Chapter 2 (Excerpt)

All this week we’re serializing the first five chapters of the long-awaited sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente’s first Fairyland book — The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is out on October 2nd. You can keep track of all the chapters here.

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

[Read more]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland: Chapter 1 (Excerpt)

All this week we’re serializing the first five chapters of the long-awaited sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente’s first Fairyland book — The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is out on October 2nd.

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

[Read more]

Let’s Go to the Underworld: The Writing of The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland

It is hard to explain how a book begins. Writers have their own vocabularies to make sense of it, sets of metaphors that come close to describing what happens in the authorial brain when a book starts to take shape. When it lights off on a long journey from vague, unconnected ideas to something almost terrifyingly complex, real, and tangible. For some, a book is a child growing within, straining toward birth, for others it is a building painstakingly engineered, for others it is a seed that puts out strange and unpredictable shoots. And for many of us, it is all of those things and none of them, but when an interviewer asks, we have to come up with some image to describe a process that is part puzzle. part translation, and part highwire act, involving not a little bit of sympathetic magic.

[In the case of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, all my models went out the window.]

Aquaman and the Duality of Self/Other, America, 1985

Tor.com is celebrating National Poetry Month by featuring science fiction and fantasy poetry from a variety of SFF authors. You’ll find classic works, hidden gems, and new commissions featured on the site throughout the month. Bookmark the Poetry Month index for easy reading.

On this Saturday we’re featuring a new composition from Catherynne M. Valente, “Aquaman and the Duality of Self/Other, America, 1985.”

[Read more]

Series: Poetry Month

What the Dragon Said: A Love Story

Tor.com is celebrating National Poetry Month by featuring science fiction and fantasy poetry from a variety of SFF authors. You’ll find classic works, hidden gems, and new commissions featured on the site throughout the month. Bookmark the Poetry Month index for easy reading.

On this Saturday we’re featuring a new composition from Catherynne M. Valente, “What the Dragon Said: A Love Story.”

[Read “What the Dragon Said: A Love Story”]

Series: Poetry Month

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland — For a Little While

In which a young girl named Mallow leaves the country for the city, meets a number of Winds, Cats, and handsome folk, sees something dreadful, and engages, much against her will, in Politicks of the most muddled kind.

This novella was acquired and edited by editor Liz Szabla, and shares a universe with Catherynne M. Valente’s latest novel, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland And Cut the Moon in Two.

 

History is a funny little creature. Do you remember visiting your old Aunt that autumn when the trees shone so very yellow, and how she owned a striped and unsocial cat, quite old and fat and wounded about the ears and whiskers, with a crooked, broken tail? That cat would not come to you no matter how you coaxed and called; it had its own business, thank you, and no time for you. But as the evening wore on, it would come and show some affection or favor to your Aunt, or your Father, or the old end-table with the stack of green coasters on it. You couldn’t predict who that cat might decide to love, or who it might decide to bite. You couldn’t tell what it thought or felt, or how old it might really be, or whether it would one day, miraculously, decide to let you put one hand, very briefly, on its dusty head.

History is like that.

[Read more]