Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe
After reading this I had to go back and read the book as I honestly didn't remember any poly in it! (unless you were referring to the snakes
). On re-reading, the "polyness" was so naturally treated (i.e. presented as a natural part of the culture rather than as a point of conflict or central theme) than my brain must have just gone "Oh, okay." and moved on. (Then again I read a LOT of Heinlein, so am used to characters having multiple relationships/group marriages.) A quite enjoyable read - thanks for prompting me to dig it out again.
(Contrast this with "The Avatar" by Poul Anderson - where there is a lot of melodrama over the topic and the characters in-book dialogue feels uncomfortable and defensive.)
lol re snakes! I did a thesis on women and s/f and liked way there was a "romance" but not at all "conventional" nor as male fantasy as Heinlein!
This is wot I rote - Warning! Contains spoilers...
The Hugo and Nebula award winning Dreamsnake, for example, is described as 'fusing the elements of quest, far-out medicine and love story' by the Daily Telegraph on the back cover of the 1989 Gollancz paperback. Its background is the future post-holocaust earth of much popular SF.
The background location is a future which is medieval in flavour like much of the heroic fantasy genre. Snake, the protagonist of Dreamsnake can be compared with a number of McCaffrey's heroines. She is skilled, and powerful within her calling (medicine), she undertakes an arduous struggle and falls in love with a man. Nevertheless the novel presents challenges to the dominant discourses.
There is full acceptance of alternative lifestyles and sexuality outside the nuclear family and heterosexuality although that is the most common pattern within the towns. Examples of casual sex, homosexuality, menage a trois, celibacy and paying for sex are also presented non-judgementally in this novel. Travelling people with their own codes of ethics are accepted by town dwellers and their skills appreciated.
Snake is not diminished in love and does not need to be rescued by a hero. McIntyre manages to subvert the rescue device so common to the adventure story. We are aware of Snake's growing danger and this narrative is undercut by the journey of Arevin, her potential lover. As Snake's journey continues we are aware of Arevin getting closer to her as her danger increases. He does not, however, rescue her. She escaped danger and rescues the child whose care she has undertaken by her own strength and ability.
If romantic fiction within the SF genre can be challenging I think it is important that it is not dismissed as having no feminist value. Like mainstream romantic fiction it reaches a wide audience.
I think it is a fabulous book as said...