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-   -   polyamorous social convention: Neanderthal Parallax (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2269)

SchrodingersCat 03-05-2010 07:01 AM

polyamorous social convention: Neanderthal Parallax
Just wondering how many people have read Robert J. Sawyer's trilogy, "Neanderthal Parallax" ? It's awesome fiction for poly folk.

It's a sci-fi, but if you don't like sci-fi, please hear me out first!

Some scientists from an alternative universe accidentally open a portal into our universe. In that universe, Neanderthals became the dominant species on Earth and humans were extinct.

Now here's where it gets interesting for us: Bisexual polyamory is the social convention.

Each person has a male and female partner. They live with their same-sex partner most of the time, but on a socially dictated schedule, they go live with their opposite-sex partner. Mothers raise the children up to a certain age, after which boys go live with their dads.

One thing that was neat, since they have a very keen sense of smell enabling them to detect hormones, all the women are on the same menstrual cycle. *giggles* needless to say, this is when the men steer the hell clear! Also, because their cycles are synchronized, they've also synchronised child birth. The time of the month when they trade partners prevents pregnancies, except for every 7 years, when all the women get pregnant in the same month. I guess it also would mean that all the kids go through their terrible twos at the same time, but they don't talk about that. I should mention that they aren't "forced" to have children, it's just that if they do want them, they can only do it every 7 years.

Another interesting aspect of the book was how they dealt with violent crime. They wore monitoring devices that record every second of their lives, stored in a private locked vault, so they had perfect evidence of any crime. If a person was convicted of a violent crime, then anyone who shared 50% of their DNA was sterilized. It seems a little eugenic, but I can see the logic of it.

So as my grade 8 French teacher used to say, "Checkez ša out"

budKEP 03-05-2010 07:46 AM

wish there was a like button on here. sounds like a entertaining read. =)
and ive always been a fan of the chip in everone, sorry lol.

vandalin 03-05-2010 09:59 PM

I haven't read this one, but I did read a short story (I'm sure I have the anthology it was in somewhere in my basement) that this reminded me of. In this speculative fiction peice there were three scientists, two female one male. The man and one of the women were married and she was also pregnant, the second woman identified as lesbian and was very good friends with both husband and wife. The sci-fi part is that they were working on part of the genome and discovered that there may have been three genders, not just two. This third gender was typically non-breeding and more of a care-giver role but was just as much a part of the family dynamic as the mated couple. So of course, the second female takes the infection that would re-start that gene...and I'm not telling anymore.

As for your story, I agree a chip would be nice, but the neutering 50% DNA shared relations just because one person was a violent offender...that is a bit much. Otherwise it does sound like an intriguing story.

Derbylicious 03-05-2010 10:29 PM

I've read it and met the author. It's an awesome book. (As is flash forward)


NeonKaos 03-06-2010 01:44 AM

It's so refreshing to see someone mention "poly-sci-fi" other than Heinlein. I read Stranger in a Strange Land and thought it was insipid.

Ceoli 03-06-2010 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by YGirl (Post 23645)
It's so refreshing to see someone mention "poly-sci-fi" other than Heinlein. I read Stranger in a Strange Land and thought it was insipid.


Twill 03-06-2010 04:01 PM

I was a huge fan of "Stranger in a Strange Land" as a teenager. And, even though I'd probably dislike it if I read it today for the first time, it remains a favorite because of the emotional attachment I have to it.

For those of you that don't like "Stranger," I'd suggest you give Heinlein one more chance and read "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress." In it, he includes line marriages. Even if you hated "Stranger," you might enjoy this book, as it's very different.

And, to satisfy my own curiosity: Can anyone suggest other fiction that features polyamorous relationships? Either sci-fi or not.

NeonKaos 03-06-2010 04:29 PM

Yes, Love & Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez (the original series "Locas").

It's a "comic" book series and it features Maggie and Hopey, two young Latina-american punk-rockers. Hopey is a lesbian and Maggie is bi (but only with Hopey) and they both see other people but keep coming back to each other.

There are many, many other characters and many sub-plots that don't even involve M & H. The other brother Beto (Jaime is the one who writes Locas) does stories about a small central-american (Mexican) fictional town called Palomar and the adventures and misadventures of the residents there.

The series also has a lot of shorter self-contained stories and some of them are on the sci-fi side.

Beto has also done a porno-graphic novel called "Birdland" which I highly recommend.

Normally, I would provide links to these materials, but as per the site guidelines, I recommend the following Google search terms:

Love & Rockets Comics (not to be confused with the band who GOT THEIR NAME FROM THE COMIC BOOK)

Los Bros Hernandez

Fantagraphics Books

classycaveman 03-07-2010 01:29 AM

That 'chip in everyone' stuff scares the hell out of me, but it's probably inevitable. Eventually everyone will have one, and we'll use it for everything. Security clearances, buying and selling, communicating...

...and whoever's in power will have the ability to turn it off.

SchrodingersCat 03-07-2010 06:54 AM

Chip in everyone: good idea in theory, but if Microsoft gets their hands in it, we're all FUBAR. The other issue with that is that Quantum Computing is getting closer and closer, and if that comes, there will be no such thing as computer security. I really don't like the idea of my brain being h4x0r3d!

Sterilizing violent offenders: I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. Murder and Rape are so horrible and destructive. They speak back to a time in our evolution where things like that gave some kind of advantage ("If I murder some guy from another tribe and steal his food and his women, then I'll get his food and his women... If I rape that woman and put my seed in her, she'll have my baby and I'll breed") but have no place in modern society. So part of me sees the logic of it and would like the idea of "breeding" violence out of our species. The other part of me sees the slippery slope towards other eugenics, sterilizing people because they aren't smart enough or come from poor families, or maybe because they don't follow the social norms of relationship style? and that just sends shudders down my spine.

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