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The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman (1999-07-01)

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  • Pulpless.Com (1823)
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Review Text

  • By Diane Joy Baker on June 9, 2017

    I read *The Rainbow Cadenza* long ago, and instantly fell in love with it. One of the greatest pleasures I've had was to tell the author, in person, how much I loved this book. I love this cover, too. The woman dancing among lights sums up the essence of the book. It explores a very troubling world, but never loses its hopeful tone. This world has Gaylords (literally), Wiccan circles, laseriums, and independent LaGrange stations in space, such as Cair Paravel, Ad Astra and such. It also has a draft---of women---into a prostitution service. Schulman is having a great time, but he's also making a serious libertarian point: ownership of self and ways in which the state impinges on what should be a natural right. Joan Darris, a talented laserist and natural rebel enters this draft service, and finds more about other less-than-lovely aspects of her culture. She goes on the run after a rather nasty incident concerning a politico, and you won't blame her. What happensafter that is explosive. Read this wonderful tale with spot-on language, lovely images, and important concepts! You'll want your own copy.

  • By J. Jordan, aka Hunter on February 3, 2018

    One hell of a story, and will make you think deeply on the subjects he explores. I am not usually a fan of dystopian fiction, but I was already quite familiar with J Neil Schulman when this came out. I had joked for years about a totalitarian libertarian society, and damned if he didn't write a moderately plausible if rather horrifying take on what that could be like. With all the noise these days about gender being a construct and anything goes sexuality, his take on where that could all end up is just as relevant today as when he wrote it over 30 years ago.

  • By Jade Lover on December 5, 2013

    I got this first when it was released. I didn't expect much out of it, but laser music was a different concept, so I bought it. Never would have thought it would be on my all-time-favorites list.The society has sort of worked itself into a corner with sex selection in favor of males. So much of a glut of males that gay relationships are actively encouraged, and it is the very rare heterosexual male who finds a mate - women are that scarce. The government, in its wisdom, has fixed that. All females get to give a year or so as prostitutes - trained by the government, told it is their sort of military obligation. Set up in houses on hour long appointment schedules. Of course, after you finish your obligation, there are many opportunities waiting, but still. . . And avoiding "your duty" is likely to get you executed/The interesting thing is that the author makes all this logical and real. i don't know anything about Mr. Schulman, and haven't read anything by him since, but he did a great job. You've got to get it used, but they are available and worth reading.

  • By a.s. on October 24, 2016

    His best written book.

  • By Timothy on January 31, 2018

    Great extrapolation of what it means to accept government control. Really enjoyed the use of a new media of artistic expression as a plot device. Don't forget the afterwards (plural). Even the glossary has some hidden gems.

  • By Steve Reed on February 19, 2007

    Joan Darris, the musician using laser light who is Neil Schulman's protagonist in this novel, is one of the most richly limned and fascinating female leads in any novel. Her quest for individuality and resistance to oppressions - societal and personal - are the backbone of the story.That it takes place about 200 years in the future is almost beside the point, for we need people like Darris now ... and we have them now, in and out of literature. (She compares to Dagny Taggart in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged.")Yet Schulman's extrapolation of trends in technology, religion, sociology, and State control ends up being extremely helpful to his characterizations. Darris and her friends and enemies wouldn't be nearly so compelling if they were contrasted to a more or less contemporary background.No, this is not "libertarian propaganda," as other reviewers have insisted. Politics, both tolerable and twisted (and wickedly and constantly satirized), is only a small portion of the story. Most of it involves the heroic Darris challenging, dealing with, and ultimately defeating the base impulses of the leaders of her society, and with most of that being in artistic, not political, terms.It is, however, anti-authoritarian to its core, and makes a host of issues that impinge on politics - from conscription to the judiciary to sound money to sexual freedom - affect its story line and the efforts of the characters to build a working life for themselves.Schulman adds potent and provocative afterwords about some of the topics of the novel, but they're just that, and are not relied upon by the novel itself. Certainly not in any sense comparable to Orwell's afterword about Newspeak in "Nineteen Eighty-four."You will have a compelling and unforgettable experience in letting this world wrap around you. One of advanced technology, transformed religious norms, sexuality that transcends societal distortions, and the indomitable spirit of Joan Darris.I have an important caveat about the "Pulpless" edition, however. (In both printed and eBook form.) It was converted by OCR from a previous edition - and it has prominent typos on every page, especially if the original hardcover and paperback versions are taken as the standard. A few of them greatly alter the meaning of key passages.I approached the author about this having happened, and he was more or less indifferent to it - quite surprising, given that he published the "Pulpless" version himself.I'd strongly urge you to buy the 1986 Avon paperback, still available through Amazon Marketplace (The Rainbow Cadenza: A Novel in Vistata Form). It actually had a proofreader, and it uses a stylized and dramatic painting as its far better cover art.Or that you buy this edition, but send the author (you'll find links to him in the book) a note asking that he have the text repaired. You would be missing a superb reading experience if you forego it, even in this flawed form.

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