My poly, I feel, was directly influenced by my reading of Heinlein at a cusp in my development. Interestingly, it was NOT "Stranger in a Strange Land" that was my primary influence (it is actually one of my least favorite Heinlein works) but my favorite Heinlein novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" that caused me to think about the various forms that relationships can take. (....followed by "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" - which really cemented my concepts of owning my own sexuality.)
I was about 12 when I started reading my dad's (very extensive) Heinlein collection - this wasn't in the context of assigned reading for school but my own leisure reading. I wasn't as certain about the concept of "love" but I consciously chose to model my sexual experiences after my own fashion of poly (mostly "unattached FWB" - I had stuff I wanted to do, no need to get bogged down with all the "relationship" hassle). When I got together with MrS (at the age of 18), I told him that he would really have to read my (by now more extensive than my father's) Heinlein collection if he really wanted to "understand" me (more than my sexual/relationship ideas were influenced by Heinlein and other sci-fi writers - there's plenty of political/social/religious/military ideology there as well). He did (precious man!), we talked about the ideas...and continue to do so.
I was further influenced by the fact that my, outwardly conservative, parents were encouraging us to question societal norms and the edicts of "figures of authority" and find our own path and answers. (Which might explain how we all ended up so very different...and happy.)
Originally Posted by BreatheDeeply
I had read Heinlein too, but just assumed that like most concepts in sci fi that it was just made up stuff. My life is filled with sci fi's empty promises of future worlds where people live incredibly long lives, visit beautiful worlds, and of course, as equally untrue, have open relationships.
My sci-fi reading was predominantly "hard" sci-fi - to interest me the "advances" really had to be at least plausible
...at least for the time they were written. I read SF with the eye of a future scientist - and threw out any concepts that flatly contradicted "known fact" - poly didn't do that for me.