The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman

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The Rainbow Cadenza
J. Neil Schulman

The People Who Care have remade the earth in their image, and it's an earthly paradise.

War, hunger, racism, nationalism, random crime and violence, and most diseases have been conquered.

Humanity is joined together under a single, popularly-elected world government.

If you even want to find a gun anywhere on earth, you'd probably have to look in a museum.

Technology is tamed to the needs of humankind, rather than despoiling the earth.

Gay men and lesbians are not only just tolerated at the fringes of society, but are among its most powerful and respected members. Gay marriage is an institution as normal as any other marriage.

Women are more politically powerful than at any time in human history. Abortion is freely available to any woman who wants it.

The First Lady is Head of State.

So why isn't everything perfect for everyone? Who are the new underclass called Touchables, and why are they hunted for sport? What social problems has cloning human beings created, and why are clones treated as inferior? Why do men outnumber women seven-to-one? And why are teenaged women being drafted into government service for three years?

This 1984 Prometheus-award-winning novel is the story of Joan Darris, a brilliant young artist in the medium of laser concerts.

Laserium Image: 
Abstract 2Is it her destiny to play music for men's eyes, or to make herself a plaything for their desires? Why does her love for her mother threaten to subject her to three years of legalized rape, and why does her family--the very politics on Earth in her time--tell her it's her duty to comply? How does the murder she witnessed at five years old make legalized rape seem the lesser of evils twelve years later--and how does the lingering horror of that murder threaten not only to rob her of her artistic triumph but threaten the life of a man she loves but who can't give himself to her without betraying everything he believes in?

Laserium Image: 
Pieces of My HeartJoan Darris's world is an Earth with Marnies who hunt Touchables, with Gaylords and Ladies, with televised trials that sentence resisters to death in microwave ovens--an Earth that has eliminated war, but which has found new outlets for violence.

Like the cautionary tales of Orwell and Huxley, the philosophical novels of Ayn Rand, the realistic speculation of Heinlein, the satiric fiction of Anthony Burgess, The Rainbow Cadenza uses the device of futuristic fiction to ask fundamental questions about the personal, political, and religious values to which we dedicate our lives, and to shed light on the problems we face today.

Playboy Books rejection letter for The Rainbow CadenzaThe Rainbow Cadenza has been controversial right from its very beginning and remains controversial today.

When submitted in outline to Playboy Books, it was turned down by an editor who wrote in her rejection that "I'm looking for other-world science fiction with some sex thrown in; the sex shouldn't be a major part of the plot or background." The Rainbow Cadenza may well be the only book ever rejected because the sex wasn't gratuitous.

After appearing in hardcover from Simon & Schuster and winning the Prometheus Award, Baen Books withdrew an offer to reprint it in paperback after Schulman refused to edit out the book's most controversial sex scenes--scenes which set up the character conflicts for the climax of the story.

Is this book just a cheap science-fiction soap opera? Or one of the best novels ever written? It's been called both. Some women say it's the best book they've ever read. It leaves others cold. How will it affect you? You'll have to read it to find out.

The Rainbow Cadenza has been out of print since 1986. Now, Pulpless.Com is making J. Neil Schulman's novel of political correctness gone wild available once again.

Laserium Image: 
Laserium Logo This new Pulpless.Com edition includes eight afterwords exploring various themes used in the novel--including an updated afterword by Ivan Dryer, CEO of Laser Images, Inc.--as well as an encyclopedic glossary of the inventive language used in the novel.


Praise for
"Every libertarian should read it. It should win the Prometheus Award."
--Robert A. Heinlein, at the 1983 L-5 Society Conference, to Libertarian Futurist Society Chairman Michael Grossberg

"I found it absolutely fascinating ... A splendid book."
--Colin Wilson

"After 'Alongide Night' (1979) was praised by Anthony Burgess, Neil Schulman pulled out all the stops. Idolizing Robert A. Heinlein, he seems to emulate the later Heinlein works... In Schulman's 22nd Century, space colonies are independent, human cloning is commonplace, women are drafted for sexual duty, justice is administered by commercialized courts, and criminals ('Touchables') are hunted down, raped, and killed for sport. Sexual orientation divides four classes of people ..."
--The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A thoughtful, unusually well-written book that raises the most important questions about life and art."
--Michael Medved, host of The Michael Medved Show
(In addition to his original 1983 letter of endorsement, Michael Medved has praised The Rainbow Cadenza on his nationally-syndicated radio show as recently as 2007 and 2008--a quarter century after he first read it. You can listen to excerpts of Michael's recent praise here and here.)

"Particular praise is due to Schulman for the detailed working out of the heroine's profession of laser-graphics composer. Future art forms are seldom handled wih the intelligence and vividness seen here."

"This novel is engrossingly suspenseful, and equally interesting are the details of the updated Brave New World ... The Rainbow Cadenza is wickedly funny and chilling at the same time, a detailed view of a heartless technological society in which everything works almost perfectly."
--Publishers Weekly

"In Schulman's ambitious second novel, the 22nd century is brave and new in profuse detail. ... The story centers around Joan Darris -- her conflict with family and her growth as a gifted lasegraphy artist. To match her visual music, this novel of ideas tries to harmonize everything from sociology to religion in a sonata of rational discourse. A highly recommended feast of invention and serious speculation."
--Library Journal

"[Joan Darris] is a reminder that women in her future world still need liberation. It strikes me as strange -- and fills me with hope -- that a man would write a novel, especially a science-fiction novel, with such a feminist message. ... 'The Rainbow Cadenza' is imaginative and stylishly written, well worth its price for the moral questions it raises, even to those who are not science-fiction buffs. Schulman manipulates his words and characters much as the lasegrapher controls the colors and shapes of a composition. Each climaxes with a sign of hope: a rainbow."
--Beth Wickenberg, The Arizona Daily Star
See full review.

"'The Rainbow Cadenza' is an impassioned plea for individual liberty, pitting two cultures against each other -- the highly libertarian space colonies versus the totalitarian earth. ... There are enough plot twists and gimmicks to suit the most avid pulp magazine reader, coupled with a basic scenario that raises serious challenges to directions already evident in contemporary society -- and what more could be asked of a work of science fiction? Schulman's second novel affords a feast of clones, underground ministers, witchcraft ... and politics. This is an entertaining and challenging book."
--Richard Brenneman, The Sacramento Bee

"This is a world far removed from the one we know, and a delightful read for those free souls capable of leaving conventional story restraints behind. Mr. Schulman presents a bold adventure in entertainment. His style is fast, tight, and attentive to detail without letting the plot lag. Unusual, but very well done"
--Paul Bach, Desert Sentinel

"'The Rainbow Cadenza' is much more than merely a well and complexly plotted novel. It is also a novel of ideas -- ideas about art and commercialism; politics; economics and technology; and human psychology. It is that rare thing, a genuinely intellectual thriller."
--Jeff Riggenbach, San Jose Mercury News

"The book left me feeling for three days that I wished I'd been born without a penis."
--Larry Niven, to the author

"[I]n The Rainbow Cadenza, J. Neil Schulman has touched yet another nerve. The damn book haunted me for days after I read it. ... J. Neil Schulman has given us not only a fine story but a great deal to think about -- perhaps especially if we think ourselves sexually unprejudiced."
--Poul Anderson, Reason Magazine

"An original and thoughtful book which raises questions that have not appeared in fiction before."
--Gregory Benford

"Ayn Rand's influence can be found ... in science-fiction writer J. Neil Schulman's The Rainbow Cadenza ..."
--Barbara Branden, writing in The Passion of Ayn Rand

"An intensively interesting evocation of complex psychological realities. Imaginative and original. Mr. Schulman is a remarkably gifted writer."
--Nathaniel Branden, author of The Psychology of Self Esteem and My Years With Ayn Rand


Read a rave review of this book.

Read sample chapters and afterwords of this book.


Library of Congress Catalog
Card Number: 99-62904
6" x 9" Trade Paperback
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ISBN No. 1-58445-123-8
Cover Price: 27.50


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The World According to J. Neil Schulman.

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