#polyamory question of the day – have you read Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land recently? Is it still a valuable polyamory resource?

Written by danielbelum

On December 15, 2019

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1 Comment

  1. Alan M.

    Recently? No. But it changed my life forever in 1968. The last of the maybe 50 times I re-read it was about a decade ago.

    Frankly, it has aged poorly — even worse than most science fiction of the 1950s. Its social attitudes and philosophical explorations (about many things, not just what’s now called polyamory) were extraordinary for SF in 1961. But the best that can be said now, I think, is that it’s an important period piece — from more than a half century ago — that helped to set “the Sixties” in motion. Its science-fiction view of the near future was wildly unrealistic. (Heinlein said it he thought of the story as happening in the late 1990s; other, internal evidence sets places it shortly after 2000.) And its frozen social attitudes about men and women (and gays) was pure 1950s and not in a good way.

    As for polyamory, any newbie today who does a bit of googling quickly gets a much more sophisticated understanding of realistic polyamory that Heinlein ever had.

    It’s still a fine adventure story and potentially inspirational for some, but its time has definitely passed IMO.

    Stranger got me to read almost everything else Heinlein wrote. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with him.


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