Rainbow Destructor is a dizzying flash of color splashed onto the page as the seven-woman crew of the XSS Savior must save the galaxy from an impending threat that defies not only physics, but everything you’ve ever expected in a space adventure story.
This story was originally written with one chapter every single day throughout 2017, so it is a bit free-form and experimental compared to the typical serial sci-fi piece. Take this journey only if you’re ready for some strange occurrences, alright?
Cover by Sarah McSquish.
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Let me preface this review by saying that you're going to need to read the entirety of this story to get the full picture. Trust me on this.
Rainbow Destructor opens like a fast, pulpy sci-fi action adventure with a retro feel. Spaceships, giant alien squid, malfunctioning AIs and unidentified anomalies - it's all a lot of good, old-fashioned fun.
Until it isn't.
By the time I was done reading Rainbow Destructor, I felt like I'd just experienced a mashup of an episode of Star Trek, the Wizard of Oz, Black Mirror and the Phantom Tollbooth, of all things. This highly original novella delights in taking your expectations about the genre and stamping on them, then doing it again because the first time apparently wasn't enough. It's clever, it's self-aware and it's brilliant. Needless to say, it's one of those stories that's hard to talk about without divulging spoilers, so I'll say no more on that front.
While the plot would get a 6/5 from me if that was possible, I did feel it was let down slightly by its rushed and frenetic pacing. Events race by so fast they often don't have time to really sink in or create much of an impact. But the story recognises this, and - wait, no, I can't talk about that because of spoilers.
The characters are fun and distinct, but again the pacing prevents us from being able to get to know them in too much deta - er, never mind. Spoilers.
By now you may have surmised that my inability to talk about this story is its greatest strength. So read it for yourself, and be sure to read from start to finish. The first few chapters won't cut it. Read on, however, and you'll find a wild, exponentially-accelerating ride shattering conventions as fast as the spaceships it features, leaving you at its oh-so-capricious mercy. And the narrative is superb.
Rainbow Destructor is a veritable rainbow of a story that offers SF action, space military self-insertion zany mayhem cult-classic goodness. Think Plan 9 From Outer Space and you won't go wrong. If you like Plan 9, you'll enjoy Rainbow. If you hated Plan 9, well, you're gonna hate Rainbow. It's just that simple.
The author provides us with short chapters that blend into one another, especially after the halfway mark. Admittedly, the events of the first two chapters have little to nothing to do with intervening narrative (which is a pity, because there is a story in itself of what the scientist lady could accomplish - hint, hint), and the last arc feels like you need to have ingested whatever it is that Dead Heads enjoy at their concerts, BUTTT.... I appreciate the author's craft and skill, and realize that everything in here was intentional, no matter how much I wanted to cringe over what at times seemed a bad fan-fiction themed tale. It's not. It's Rainbow Destructor. All your reading skills is belonging to us. Resistance is futile.
The story averaged less than 1 visible grammar issue per chapter, so in that score it's a win.
Characters are for the most part flat and uni-dimensional, well except for the villian. (Good job there), but this was not a story where character development or progression adds anything to the story. It's a fluff story. Get over it. Enjoy it for what it is.
The all important question (or questions) being asked would I read a sequel to the story, or more of this author's work, my answer is indicated that I keep waiting for my notification bell to ding me with just that happy announcement. Write on, Thedude3445, write on!
Rainbow Destructor is an interesting blend of action, comedy, high-concept meta, and sci-fi, almost a sort of zany version of a Twilight Zone episode, or like one of those crazier 90’s OVA space adventure anime.
The story is short, really only a novella in length, with bite-sized chapters you can blur through in one sitting. This is both a strength and a drawback, as the story gets right down to the point and doesn’t stop for nothin’. On the one hand, the story doesn’t waste your time, and trusts the reader to be able to keep up, which is something I always appreciate. On the other hand, the story is so short and fast, its over before the characters can really make an impression on you. As such, this really does feel like an episode out of a weird-sci-fi anthology show, where you only have 45 minutes to grapple with an ensemble cast of characters and the overarching plot.
But if you can click into it quick, there’s a very clever and creative sci-fi storyline here that morphs into a nearly-fourth-wall-breaking meta-narrative about the nature of storytelling, and a writer’s relationship with their characters. To say anything more specific would spoil it so I’ll just leave it at that.
I recommend this for people who are looking for something high-concept, but not too serious. If nothing else, it’s a short enough read that even if it throws you off at first, you’ll be able to get through it quick enough to reach the pay off without it being a slog.