Announcing the Radiance Cinema Contest at WORD Bookstore

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

WORD Bookstore is hosting a Radiance-inspired film contest!

Catherynne Valente has written a lot of books that take her readers to a lot of places—but her new novel is something special indeed. 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 seems to know 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; it takes place in an alternate past where we traipse among the planets with ease.

In honor of the filmmaking Uncks and their event with Valente on October 20, WORD is now accepting submissions of your own short films inspired by Radiance. The judges are asking that the short films be inspired by the below excerpt from the book. Visit their site for more guidelines and information regarding the cinema contest.

From the Personal Reels of Percival Alfred Unck

[SEVERIN UNCK stands amid a tangle of cables on the set of The Abduction of Proserpine. Vampire extras mill around her, touching up their makeup, chatting, taking their teeth out to smoke. She is very small, perhaps four or five. She wears a black dress with a black bow and black stockings. Her face is painted deathly white. She looks up at a demonic ice dragon with sword whiskers and icicle teeth, a massive puppet managed by the renowned TALMADGE BRACE and his team. She does not see her Uncle Madge pulling on the puppet’s works. It towers over her. She stares at its tinfoil eyes intently, quietly, hands clasped behind her back. She rocks up on her toes.]

SEVERIN
Did you eat that big old city all up?

[The ice dragon nods solemnly. His lines creak.]

SEVERIN
What a bad thing you are. You ought to be pun-

[The ice dragon nods again. TALMADGE works his lines and pulleys just out of frame, slumping the creature’s snow-puff shoulders in deep shame. He can barely suppress his amusement.]

SEVERIN
Why did you do it? If you were really so keen, I should think you’d have waited till the city fattened up a bit. It couldn’t have filled you up! It was only little.

[TALMADGE cannot answer; the beast will never have a voice, so he had no reason to devise one to match its vast crinoline body.]

SEVERIN
Daddy says the settlers dug too deep and woke the ancient heart of Pluto. But you have wet glue on your nose, so I don’t think you are the ancient heart of Pluto.

[The ice dragon shakes with TALMADGE’S silent laughter. Severin reaches up and wipes away the glue with her thumb. She whispers into the puppet’s huge, glitter-spackled nostril.]

SEVERIN
I forgive you. I get hungry, too.