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May 7th, 2010


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12:14 am - Polyamory in SF & Fantasy
I'm curious, does can anyone think of any science fiction or fantasy novels featuring polyamory in a positive and non-incidental fashion (ie as something that major characters are involved in) other than Diane Duane's Door into Fire, Door into Shadow, & Door into Sunset, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Forbidden Tower, various novels by Robert Heinlein and Samuel R. Delany, Joan D. Vinge's The Outcasts of Heaven Belt, Melissa Scott's The Roads of Heaven trilogy (Five Twelfths of Heaven, Silence in Solitude, The Empress of Earth), and most recently Adam Troy Castro's Emissaries from the Dead & The Third Claw of God. a few more near the bottom of this list of books, but none more recent than the 1990s. I'm especially interested in books written in the last 10-15 years.
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From:lupagreenwolf
Date:May 7th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
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IIRC, Starhawk's Fifth Sacred Thing.
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From:mindstalk
Date:May 7th, 2010 07:25 am (UTC)
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Probably doesn't really fit, but The Hero and the Crown has Aerin loving both Tor and Luthe. It's not really active poly, though: sleeps with Luthe, then marries Tor until he dies, then presumably goes back to Luthe since she and him aren't "quite mortal". (In fact, I figure he was at least 2000 when 20 year old her slept with him.) Also Tor probably never knows about Luthe.

That's the best I can come up with which isn't already listed.
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From:heron61
Date:May 7th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
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You're right, I'd forgotten that part of The Hero and the Crown.
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From:pegunicent
Date:May 7th, 2010 09:17 am (UTC)
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Not sure how well it fits but one of my favorites was 'If I Pay Thee Not In Gold'.
From:stardansr
Date:May 7th, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)

How about?

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I'm not sure if this fits or not but - Octavia Butler's Lillith's Brood
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From:blue_estro
Date:May 7th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)

Re: How about?

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Fledgling by her also sorta did.
From:stardansr
Date:May 8th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)

Re: How about?

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That one by her I have not read. I'll have to add it to my to read pile.
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From:blue_estro
Date:May 9th, 2010 06:47 am (UTC)

Re: How about?

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It was published just before she passed and isn't quite the same flavor as previous works.

If you message me an address I can mail you my copy (supporting the postal service, freeing up space on my shelves, etc. etc)
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From:heavenscalyx
Date:May 12th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)

Re: How about?

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I'm reading it right now. Lots of action, fast-moving, very cool vampire paradigm! Though for the early part of it, I admit, I felt like I was reading Parable of the Sower.

Edited at 2010-05-12 12:55 pm (UTC)
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:May 7th, 2010 10:09 am (UTC)
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The early novels of Mercedes Lackey's Bedlam's Bard series feature a MFM triad between Eric, Beth, and Kory. Of course, the elves in her novels are implied to be both bi and poly and no big thing is made of it, which is very nice indeed.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:May 9th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
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Spider Robinson's books also frequently have polyamorous characters. Gwyhwyfar (sp?) in The Mists of Avalon is polyamorous, but she is too guilt-ridden to openly acknowledge it. Arthur is willing to acknowledge it, but she refuses to do so, silly bint!
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From:nancylebov
Date:May 7th, 2010 11:55 am (UTC)
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From 1951, iirc Lieber's "Nice Girl with Five Husbands".

My impression is that the AIDS epidemic had a large effect on how sex was presented in sf.

Oh, right. Laurel Hamilton! Definitely polyamory, definitely in your time frame.
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From:heavenscalyx
Date:May 7th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)
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Laurie J. Marks' Elemental Logic series has alternative families with multiple adults. There's still a habit of pairing off within that structure, but I think I recall some families that were more obviously poly than the POV family.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 7th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)

EMISSARIES and THIRD CLAW OF GOD

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Yes, but in Adam-Troy Castro's EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD and THE THIRD CLAW OF GOD, Oscin and Skye Porrinyard are technically only one person (albeit one with two bodies). So that's not really poly-whatever, is it?
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From:heron61
Date:May 7th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)

Re: EMISSARIES and THIRD CLAW OF GOD

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Very true.
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From:siderea
Date:May 7th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
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I'm astonished nobody's mentioned the book that introduced me to poly: Piers Anthony's Split Infinity. The resolution to the climactic problem is the protagonist suddenly realizing he dosn't need to chose between these two women and refusing to be made to.
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From:rjgrady
Date:May 7th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Clive Barker's Imajica has the protagonist involved with both a woman and a shapechanging mystif. I shan't spoil the ending, although it doesn't turn into a stable situation.

The Mordred books has Guinevere defiantly married to Arthur while having a relationship with another man, to Arthur's great displeasure. She dares anyone to make something of it; the situation comes to an end when Arthur's enemies move against him. Series starts with, I think, Mordred's Curse. Warning: The series is gritty, bleak, and quite nasty, which is not to all tastes.

One of the characters in Tepper's Gibbon's Rise and Fall is a lesbian polyamorist.
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From:lavenderfae9
Date:May 7th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
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"Palimpsest" by Catherynne M. Valente
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From:blue_estro
Date:May 7th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
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In the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, there is a whole planet that has developed Mormon style type polygamy due to a genetic problem which reduced the birthrate for males. Somewhere later in the series, the heroine joins an already romantically committed couple, creating a family, but I am not sure this counts as the other woman in the relationship is paralyzed from the neck down, which is ostensibly why her husband is interested in other women (while still being very much in love with her).

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