Science fiction, society & marriage

With the passing of gay "marriage" in NY I've been thinking of SF that I've read over the years.

In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, a Heinlein "juvenile" there is such a shortage of men that polyandry is the rule as well as "line marriages", a few wives plus multiple husbands spanning generations. At the same time one on the characters makes her living as a host mother.

I Haldeman's The Forever War soldiers are sent out and return to Earth every 100 yrs or so (due to relativity) which gives a snapshot of what's going on. At one point the gov't encourage, practically mandates homosexuality as a means to get a handle on overpopulation.
India, China &c already have shortages of girls being born and I doubt even if a totalitarian state could turn around long-standing cultural biases. Still . . .

SF authors generally extrapolate (and get things terribly wrong due to that) but looking forward from where we are now doesn't look good.

I’m thinking of my huge collection of SF books I never got to read and probably will not because I no longer wish for my mind to dwell on ideas.:wink:

[quote="didymus, post:1, topic:245831"]
With the passing of gay "marriage" in NY I've been thinking of SF that I've read over the years.

In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, a Heinlein "juvenile" there is such a shortage of men that polyandry is the rule as well as "line marriages", a few wives plus multiple husbands spanning generations. At the same time one on the characters makes her living as a host mother.

I Haldeman's The Forever War soldiers are sent out and return to Earth every 100 yrs or so (due to relativity) which gives a snapshot of what's going on. At one point the gov't encourage, practically mandates homosexuality as a means to get a handle on overpopulation.
India, China &c already have shortages of girls being born and I doubt even if a totalitarian state could turn around long-standing cultural biases. Still . . .

SF authors generally extrapolate (and get things terribly wrong due to that) but looking forward from where we are now doesn't look good.

[/quote]

I'm not too worried.

Society can impose physical force on people. but it cannot legislate basic functions of the human body. Mandatory homosxeuality? Really. Considering its success so far in the areas of drug use, smoking, and diet (and its complete failure in the USA long ago on the issue of alcohol), I'd not be too concerned.

We don't have relativistic travel or cities on Luna, and there are no near term prospects for either; so I'd not waste oxygen worrying about social adaptions to technologies we might never have.

And RH, it has been pointed out, got it wrong about his Lunar demographics. Once the cities were mostly populated by the native-born, rather than the mostly-male deportees, there would be a 1/1 gender ratio there, and conventional connubial mores would return.

ICXC NIKA.

I wouldn't look at Heinlein's and Haldeman's novels as attempting to predict the future or like they were reading tea leaves.

First of all Heinlean used his novels as a vehicle to present his own beliefs and philosophy. He was very much a believer of free love and against what would be considered typical social mores and he ran in circles that believed the same thing, which included many other SF writers. You can pick up any one his novels or even short stories and they follow many of the same themes. Read for example "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Time Enough For Love."

As for Haldeman the homosexual world he briefly imagined was a minor point in the overall plot. His novel was a SF allegory for America's involvement in the Vietnam war. As it was in his story nobody back on earth knew why they were fighting the war, who the enemy really was and the soldiers coming back (as you mentioned do to relativity) were so different and so much had changed that they felt they no longer fit in or belonged. These were common perceptions at the time and I believe Haldeman wrote this novel shortly after he came back from Vietnam.

I'd read these novels more as historical witnesses to a past time rather than something portending the future.

ChadS

In Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters", he also posited that most of society would go in for "Contract Marriages," with agreed-upon expiration dates, prenups, etc. The male and female protagonists opt instead for a traditional marriage contract, to the consternation of the bureaucrat issuing the license.

Heinlein's religious views were interesting, BTW. He was an atheist or agnostic, from his public statements, but like Sartre, in his last years he may have been reconsidering the possibility of a transcendent reality. Offered an all-expenses paid cryogenic preservation of his body by admirers within the cryogenic industry, he opted out, telling a friend he was worried it could interfere with his rebirth or resurrection. He also made the unusual choice of a VERY Catholic short story by Anatole France for an anthology of favorite stories by authors that raised some eyebrows among his secular friends...

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