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  #11  
Old 04-19-2011, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
I’ve been thinking about this [polyamory or poly-friendly in the books of John Irving] for a few days (since reading your comment) and frankly I’m rather doubtful. I’m a fan of Irving’s, I read as many of his books as I can get my hands on (most of them more than once) and there’s only one I didn’t like (in fact, I thought it stank!) – his first novel entitled “Setting Free The Bears”.
I didn't like it either. The swinger novella is called The 158-Pound Marriage and has been published in his Three Complete Novels collection alongside the SFtB.

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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
In “The Cider House Rules” – which you mention – two of the main characters start a relationship after they believe that her fiancé is dead. She gets pregnant and when the fiancé turns up alive (but in a wheelchair) the other two feel guilty about their relationship and end it. They pretend that their child is adopted. (Which gentle, protective lie the fiancé – later husband – sees through... and implicitly forgives. He’s a nice guy – which is one of the reasons that the other two feel so guilty about their “cheating”.)
Yep, poly-friendly or poly-sympathetic would describe Cider House better. As I read it, these two have a love relationship that begins before and lasts beyond the sexual aspect of it while the woman continues to love her husband, so I was thinking polyamory more as an orientation than as an actual practice.

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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
I only read “The Hotel New Hampshire” – which you give as an example - one time (I’d like to read it again), many years ago, at a time when I wasn’t looking for examples of polyamory in literature, so I can’t be sure of that one.
Again, I love it how this book emphasizes how you can have multiple loving connections that (might) have a sexual aspect that is sort of secondary. The main character and his sister share a female partner who begins with sis and ends up with the bro, and the two bring up the child that is biologically his sister's and her new old boyfriend's. So there is a definite poly family feel to it, although the sexual connections don't happen simultaneously.

So yes, poly-sympathetic rather than actually about polyamory in practice. Silly enough but I feel that both HNH and CHR are such excellent pieces of literature that I don't want to read anything else by Irving for the fear of it being less than what I expected. I did enjoy the World According to Garp and found the early three novels interesting, but haven't had the nerve to read anything written after Cider House Rules.

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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
But again, haven’t got my hands on as much as I’d like. Which novels are set on the planet O?
Sorry, short-stories. The two I have read can be found in the short-story collection Birthday of the World. I'm quoting her from the foreword to the collection;

"In the title story of the collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, I invented some social rules for the people of the world called O, which is quite near Hain, as worlds go. The world, as usual, seemed to be something I just found myself on and had to explore; but I did spend genuine thought, respectable, systematic thought, on the marriage and kinship customs of the people of O. I drew charts, with male and female symbols, and lines with arrows, very scientific. I needed those charts. I kept getting confused. The blessed editor of the magazine in which the story first appeared saved me from a horrible blunder, worse than incest. I had gotten my moieties mixed up. She caught it, we fixed it.

Since it took a while to work out these complexities, it may be mere conservation of energy that has brought me back twice to O; but I think it's because I like it. I like thinking about marrying three other people only two of whom you can have sex with (one of each gender but both of the other moiety). I like thinking about complex social relationships which both produce and frustrate highly charged emotional relationships.

In this sense, you could say that "Unchosen Love" and "Mountain Ways" are comedies of manners, odd as that may sound to those who think science fiction is written ray-gun in hand. The society of O is different from ours here now, but not very much more different than that of Jane Austen's England; perhaps less different than that of The Tale of Genji."

(The title novella of The Birthday of the World is magnificent too, and also features a society where non-monogamy is the norm.)
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2011, 05:05 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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I do NOT want to high-jack this thread into an Irving/LeGuin love-feast, so I hope that this will be my last comment here about them.
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Silly enough but I feel that both HNH and CHR are such excellent pieces of literature that I don't want to read anything else by Irving for the fear of it being less than what I expected. I did enjoy the World According to Garp and found the early three novels interesting, but haven't had the nerve to read anything written after Cider House Rules.
I think that - aside from that awful first novel, “Setting Free The Bears” – you can read anything by Irving without fear of being disappointed. [I haven’t read the 2nd or 3rd, but apparently you have.] I myself was rather leery about 2 of the main themes in “A Prayer For Owen Meany” (religion and the military), but I’ve read it at least 3 times now and it never fails to bring a lump to the throat and moisture (at the very least) to the eyes. Irving has a talent for helping us to overcome our prejudices and hasty assumptions. He presents his characters as real 3D human beings, and even when we disapprove of their actions, he makes us understand – even in the case of the philandering arsehole of “A Widow For One Year” – their reasons for those actions.

Which is why, if he ever did champion the cause of polyamory, he’d be an excellent ally in making the concept acceptable to the general public.
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Sorry, short-stories. The two I have read can be found in the short-story collection Birthday of the World.
Ah, yes! We mustn’t forget the quality of LeGuin’s short story writing. One of her short stories once had me literally trembling with paranoia and I was afraid to go to bed… but anxious to fall asleep in order to escape from thinking too much of the implications of that story. And "The Wife's Story" from the collection “The Compass Rose” is one of the best examples that I’ve ever read of a story's looking at a well-worked theme from a totally different perspective. (The writing is so good and the twist is so unexpected, that I would be giving the game away if I said anything more than: "Read it, it's GREAT!")

Although it’s been decades since I read “The Dispossessed”, I’m sure that the anarchist revolutionaries on the moon Anarres were very poly-friendly (way ahead - as with much of LeGuin's literature - of their time).
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2011, 12:49 PM
brynneth brynneth is offline
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Default Curious about books or songs with poly themes

Do any of you have a favorite book or song with a poly theme? I'm kind of starved for a good romantic storyline that doesn't just assume that there can only be one love.

I'm actually writing a novel with a poly love story for national novel writing month and got curious to see if there is the same feeling among other poly folks. I get tired of the same old mono assumptions in all my music and literature and it kind of bums me out sometimes.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by nycindie; 06-03-2015 at 11:58 PM. Reason: moved thread
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  #14  
Old 11-27-2011, 05:32 AM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.) features poly fairly heavily, and is excellent in its own right.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2011, 06:49 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Have you done a search?

Poly-themed books, movies, TV shows, and music are all the subject of this thread: polyamory in movies/music/art?

Also stuff for kids here: poly books and stories (also films) for children
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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  #16  
Old 11-27-2011, 11:41 PM
brynneth brynneth is offline
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Thanks. Sorry, had a brain fart. I've searched google and not found much, but forgot to search the forum.
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  #17  
Old 11-30-2011, 02:36 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Songs:
My girlfriend's girlfriend by type o negative
Trying to love two by william bell
Love in stereo by the monks
You're the two by roches
Cactus tree by joni mitchell
Don't ever call your sweetheart by his name by christine lavin (less about poly, more about semi-honest non-monogamy, but it's funny)
Torn between two lovers by mary macgregor
You and your friend by snake river conspiracy

Aaaaand, now that I took the time to type that out, I found an awesome list that mentions all of the above plus a whole lot more: http://www.aserve.com/holly/culturefaq.html
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  #18  
Old 11-30-2011, 09:28 AM
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Thanks for that list Annabel!
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  #19  
Old 12-02-2011, 03:52 AM
brynneth brynneth is offline
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Yeah, those are great. Thank you
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  #20  
Old 12-02-2011, 04:01 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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You're welcome, guys! I started building that list in high school.
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