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  • Influence of the Science Fiction Writings of Robert A. Heinlein on Polyamory

    originally published by Serolynne, March 21, 2005

    The concept behind polyamory, or the lifestyle of openly and honestly loving more than one person at a time, has been around for much longer than the word itself.  But with the advent of the internet and a term to draw people together, polyamory has become a movement of its own. The Ravenheart family, who formed a ‘nest’ and a church based on the writings of Robert A. Heinlein, are frequently credited with coining the term ‘polyamorous’. Because a word was created, people of like minds are now able to partake in a community that has resulted from the polyamory movement. Even today, more than 40 years after the influential works of Heinlein were published, people still point to reading Heinlein’s science fiction writings as the catalyst that brought them to exploring polyamorous lifestyles.

    Robert A. Heinlein is a recognized science fiction writer, who wrote short stories, novellas and novels from 1939 until 1987 . His writings often questioned various social and political norms.

    In 1961, Heinlein published Stranger in a Strange Land, about a human raised on Mars who returns to Earth, bringing along some alternative views on sexuality, relationships and spirituality.  “Robert Heinlein depicts a group where bacchanalia, mate-swapping, and communal living are wholly moral”. The fictional Martian, Valentine Michael Smith, formed the Church of All Worlds for his followers who subscribed to his theories on spirituality and relationships. Nesting, or forming intricate webs of intimate connections in a group of church members, was presented as a valid social structure in the book.