The following is a text of the remarks made by J. Neil Schulman as he accepted the Prometheus Award for his novel, The Rainbow Cadenza. The award was given to him on August 11, 1984, at the Forty-second World Science Fiction Convention. LA Con, in Anaheim, California.
Science fiction stories are about ideas—and the ideas that people have determine what sort of world they will live in.
I wrote The Rainbow Cadenza to destroy an idea by reducing it to absurdity. The idea is: the rights of the individual should be sacrificed when the greater good for the greatest number demands it. This idea is the Justification for every violation of human rights on this planet today.
What I did in The Rainbow Cadenza was to take the sixties' slogan, "Make Love, Not War" at face value. I show what sort of lousy world we’d have if—in the name of "the greatest good for the greatest number"—people stopped demanding that young men be drafted to Make War, and instead demanded that for three years young women be drafted to Make Love.
I hope this logical absurdity horrifies you even while you smile. If it doesn’t horrify you, I wrote The Rainbow Cadenza to show why it should: my young draftee is a woman whose artistry with lasers can make rainbows of hope. If it does horrify you, I wrote The Rainbow Cadenza to show why drafting anyone to Make War should horrify you even more.
Above all, I wrote The Rainbow Cadenza because each artist—in whatever medium—has a powerful weapon to fight what Thomas Jefferson called "every form of tyranny over the mind of man." and nobody had to draft me for that. I volunteered. Thank you.
J. Neil Schulman
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