Radiance by Carter Scholz
A Novel

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Somewhere in California, in the 1990s, a nuclear weapons lab develops advanced technologies for its post-Cold War mission. Advanced as in not working yet. Mission as in continued funding. A scandal-plagued missile defense program presses forward, dragging physicist Philip Quine deep into the machinations of those who would use the lab for their own gain.

The Soviet Union has collapsed. But new enemies are sought, and new reasons found to continue the work that has legitimized the power of the Lab, its mangers, and the politicians who fund them. Quine is thrust into the center of programs born at the intersection of paranoia, greed, and ambition, and torn by incommensurable demands. Deadlines slip and cost overruns mount. He is drawn into a maelstrom of policy meetings, classified documents, petty betrayals, interrupted conservations, missed meanings, unanswered voicemail, stolen data, and pornographic files. Amid all the noise and static of the late twentieth century made manifest in weapons and anti-weapons, human beings have set in motion a malign a d inhuman reality, which now is beyond their control.

More than critique of corrupt science and a permanent wartime economy, Radiance is a novel of lost ideals, broken aspirations, and human costs. In this vivid satire, relationship are just a question of who's using whom. Failure is just another word for opportunity. "Spin" is a property not of atomic particles but if the news cycle. Nature is a blur beyond the windshield, where lives are spent on the road, on the phone, on the make, in fierce competition for financial, political, and intellectual resources.

About Carter Scholz

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Carter Scholz has been publishing short fiction for 25 years. When not writing, Carter composes experimental computer music, and is a member of the Frog Peak Composers Collective. He lives in Berkeley, California. This is his first novel.
Published February 9, 2002 by Picador. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Newly appointed acting director, despite his conflicting romance with Lynn Hamlin, a paralegal at Citizens Against Nuclear Technology, which demonstrates regularly against the Lab, Quine must appease the Department of Energy by switching the Lab’s direction to “dual benefit” and rooting out stagg...

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The New York Times

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Entropy is the dominant principle of Carter Scholz's ambitious novel, which takes place in a nuclear weapons lab in Northern California during the 1990's.

Feb 17 2002 | Read Full Review of Radiance: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Scholz's writing crackles with energy, intelligence and dark humor, but readers will recognize tones and topics heavily based on Pynchon, DeLillo et al., and wish Scholz had struck out a little farther on his own.

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