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Rainbow Man

Tor, 1993 (hardcover); Tor (Orb series trade paperback), 1994.

Now it can be told: My original title for this novel was A Manual for Selectors. When I first sent the manuscript to my agent, Virginia Kidd, she responded, “This is absolutely the worst title I’ve ever seen.” After she read the manuscript, she told me, “Now I see it’s the perfect title for this novel – but no publisher will print it that way. Booksellers would shelve it with the technical manuals.” So it was published as Rainbow Man – which is the label the locals of the planet Bimran pin on my very female heroine.
To my surprise, Rainbow Man was nominated for both the Tiptree Award (for best feminist SF novel) and the Prometheus Award (for best Libertarian SF novel). I was honored by the Tiptree nomination and startled by the Prometheus one (no doubt received because Rainbow Man describes a society without laws). It didn’t make the final cut for the Tiptree, at least partly because Rainbow Man is more concerned with what religion does to people than with what gender does to them. It’s also a love story, and a speculation on how a starfaring society could function without faster-than-light travel.