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The Rainbow Cadenza
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"A thoughtful, unusually well-written book that raises the most important questions about life and art." -- Michael Medved
"Engrossingly suspenseful ... the updated Brave New World ...wickedly funny and chilling at the same time." -- Publishers Weekly
"Every libertarian should read it. It should win the Prometheus Award." -- Robert A. Heinlein
"Future art forms are seldom handled wih the intelligence and vividness seen here." -- Booklist
"I found it absolutely fascinating ... A splendid book." -- Colin Wilson
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after that is explosive. Read this wonderful tale with spot-on language, lovely images, and important concepts! You'll want your own copy.
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.
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.