melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2011-04-07 08:59 pm

Love & Marriage

One thing I love in a good SF story is ways of doing love, marriage, and romance that don't buy in to our society's idea of love+romance+sex+monogamy all on one single person as the only way to do it.

I have a small collection of worlds that have come up with better ways, and I have a great deal of fun trying to fit the 'shipping debates from various fandoms into these other ways of looking at love. I especially love the way that many of them explicitly acknowledge the value of non-sexual, sometimes non-romantic, relationships that are of equal importance with the sexual ones.

Since I've been playing with Dresden files crossover fic in a couple of these fandoms lately, I thought it might be time to introduce you all to some of my favorites! Plus I really want people to do more AUs using these ideas, so I am selfishly posting this in order to increase the probability (even if only slightly.) So here are my five favorite alternate marriage/romance systems as displayed in SF, in order of increasing complexity.

GROUP MARRIAGE
Original Source: Many, but you should all read The Tale of the Five because Diane Duane writes it more joyously than anyone. And without the creepy bits that Heinlein puts in.
Fanworks: Many! Not many TotF fanworks though. Which is a travesty.
Someone else's explanation: Group Marriage @ wikipedia

Explanation: Presumably all of my readers have at least a passing familiarity with the concept of polyamory and it not being horrible, right? Group marriage is a subset of polyamory (though there's an argument to be made that actually modern Western polyamory was born out of group marriage as portrayed by Heinlein.) Group marriage involves a group of more than two people (usually of at least two genders) formalizing a relationship in which they share, usually, some form of household and parenting duties, commit to the relationships within the marriage as their most important relationships, and generally agree to some level of sexual or emotional fidelity to the marriage partners as well.

Most of the other relationships described below are really subsets of group marriage, and a lot of SF includes versions of it, but the 'simple' form (not really simple at all!) that is just a group of people deciding they all love each other enough to attempt perfect union is always going to be my favorite. Especially when it's built into a world where that is considered completely natural and normalized.

Tale of the Five (Also sometimes called the Middle Kingdoms series) by Diane Duane is the series that does it best. It's a fairly standard High Fantasy trilogy about dragons and lost swords and magic and kingship and evil sorcerers, but it's set in a world where bisexuality and polyamory are the norm - all relationships are open unless otherwise stated, and marriages can have as many people as you want. And she works this into the cloth of the world seamlessly, with all the ramifications worked out. When I'm writing an everybody's-bi-everybody's-poly story, I think of it as a Middle Kingdoms AU.

The most important thing with writing a group marriage and making it interesting is to acknowledge that every smaller combination of people within the group has their own relationship within the larger marriage, and those relationships are all different, with their own dynamics, and all worth their own exploration. You get a good group together, marry them, and then start exploring all the inner 'ships, and you can keep exploring forever. (One marriage in the Middle Kingdoms has seven people in it, which makes 128 total relationships. Someday I am going to write a drabble series that explores them all.)

Group marriage is the obvious solution to shipping wars in about 90% of fandoms.


LINE MARRIAGE
Original Source: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
Fanworks:Not as much as there should be of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress fanfic.
Someone else's explanation: Line Marriage @ the Heinlein concordance

My Explanation: Heinlein played around a lot with polyamory, but I think line marriage is my very favorite of all of his ideas about sex, if only because it's so functional.

Basically, a line marriage is a poly marriage where every few years, as the older members of the marriage die, they marry in young people to replace them. So the marriage always has (usually it seems like a dozen or so) members ranging in age from teenagers to elderly. As a result, the marriage itself never dies. Children of a line marriage marry into other lines, and don't inherit from their parents, all the assets remaining with the marriage. In a lot of ways, a line marriage is like a corporation, only less soulless and with more sex.

Anyone in a line marriage is free to have sex with anyone else in the line, but sex and romantic love are not really the important part. And there are often complicated sub-relationships within the line, with some pairings and participants far more sexual than others, and also things going on around seniority, with lots of room for cross-generational goodness. The oldest members lead the family, but it requires a unanimous vote to add a new member.

I love line marriage; I rather suspect it's the best idea Heinlein ever had about sex. Line marriage is a fun way to do a family-of-choice that's a bit more structured and might outlive its founders, especially if you like adding a bit of incestuous overtones and/or age difference for spice. Crane Poole & Schmidt is totally a line marriage. So is SG1. So is the Batfamily. (In fact, a better example of a line marriage than the Batfamily I cannot imagine. Except for the way the writers are uncomfortable with line marriage and keep trying to make the younger members into blood relations: sure.)

SEDORETU
Original Source: Short stories in A Fisherman of the Inland Sea and The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le guin (A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, Unchosen Love and Mountain Ways)
Fanworks: An Ever-Fixed Mark, the amazing Merlin AU of amazing.
Someone else's explanation: The Introduction to 'Mountain Ways'.

Explanation: On the planet O, there are Men and Women. There are also Morning people and Evening people. Your identity as Morning or Evening -- your moiety -- is just as inborn and immutable, and at least as important, as your gender. You are of the same moiety as your mother, and the only tabooed sexual relationships on O are between people of the same moiety.

A marriage on O has four participants: a Morning man, a Morning woman, an Evening man, and an Evening woman. The Morning Woman and the Evening man sleep together, and their children are Morning; the Evening Woman and the Morning man sleep together, and their children are Evening. The two women also sleep together, as do the two men. The Morning pair don't sleep together, nor do the Evening pair, but they are expected to have close nonsexual relationships.

This is complicated enough, especially since nobody is getting married until there is a complete foursome together, but Le Guin managed to queer it up even in canon: apparently, while it is not common, it is not entirely unknown for a sedoretu to have three men or three women in it, or for people to be genderqueer within the sedoretu. As long as the morning/evening ratios are right, and nobody's sleeping with anybody from their own moiety, the neighbors are generally willing to look the other way; moiety is more important than gender.

Sedoretu are amazing fun, and there need to be for fandom AUs that use them: I only know of the one that's linked above, in BBC Merlin fandom. But there are so many other fandoms that have central foursomes for whom a sedoretu would be perfect! To start with I really want to see some Stargate teams sent to O and assumed to be sedoretu. But there are plenty more possibilities. To bring up Harry Potter again: Harry and Hermione are both Evening people, obviously, and Ron and Ginny are both Morning since Molly obvs. is, so they can all get married in a sedoretu! And Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione can be awesome, and so can Ron/Harry and Ginny/Hermione, and meanwhile Ron and Ginny can be all sibling-y together and Harry and Hermione can be total best friends.

Really in any situation where people solve the problem of slash + canon het by pairing up the het love interests too becomes an amazing sedoretu. This happens especially a lot in RPS fandoms but there are lots of fandoms where sedoretu could fit seamlessly. (Hodgins and Bones are Evening, Booth and Angela are Morning: y/y/mfy? And Wilson needs to find a nice Evening girl who wants to stick around, so that he and Cuddy and House can get married already.)

BRAIDS
Original Source: The Gameplayers of Zan by M. A. Foster + the rest of the Ler trilogy
Fanworks: None that I know of. ):
Someone else's explanation: Braid at the SF wikia

My Explanation: the Ler are a genetically engineered subspecies of humanity, intended to be 'supermen' but ending up more different than better. They live on a reservation on Earth and have worked very hard at building a separate cultural identity for themselves.

Ler have a complicated sexual cycle in which they go through long periods of sexuality and asexuality. They also have only two fertile periods in their lives, which means that the only way the population can grow is through very rare multiple births or third pregnancies. As a result, they have a marriage system design to maximize fertility and genetic mixing while still allowing a stable family structure.

The basic Ler social structure is a braid. The core of the braid are two insiblings, who were born and raised in the braid, but are not genetically related to each other. When the insiblings undergo their first fertile period, they have sex, and have a child together; that child is the elder outsibling. Before their second fertile period, each of the insiblings finds an outsibling from another braid who is about to reach their first period of fertility, and "weave" the new outsiblings into the braid. The children of the outsibling+insibling pairings become the insiblings of the next generation. Finally, the outsiblings have their second fertile period together, and their child becomes the braid's younger outsibling. The genes of the braid's founding insiblings are carried down through the generations without the insiblings ever being blood relations. (There is a science-ex-machina reason why the gender ratios almost always work out right.)

Relationships within the braid, and how those relationships change between sex allowed, sex required, and sex forbidden before & after the fertile periods, can get really chewy and complicated. (Also, while homosexuality is pretty much invisible in this canon, there are various ways that they get queered up anyway. My username comes from a character in this book & I am amused that even ten years ago I chose to identify with the minor character who is vaguely genderqueer and markedly, freakishly asexual by her society's standards.)

Braids are chock full of incesty fun. In fact, they are practically an excuse to do incest 'ships without making anyone be actually genetically related. One example of a story that would be *immeasurably* improved by giving them Ler braids is Wuthering Heights. It also works really well with fandoms where there's a core het partnership, and then canon brings in outside love interests for them instead. No need for tearful breakups or writing people out, just weave all four of 'em into the braid!

TROLL ROMANCE
Original Source: Homestuck
Fanworks: SO MUCH TROLL FIC
Someone else's explanation: Troll Romance the short version

My Explanation: Oh, Homestuck trolls. I don't even read the blasted comic, and yet.

Homestuck's trolls acknowledge four types of romantic relationships: Matespritship, Kismesissitude, Moirallegiance, and Auspisticism. We are told that the main thing troll romance has in common with human romance is that it's incredibly confusing for everyone involved, and most of what we know about it in practice comes from the experiences of a group of very young trolls who have other things to think about - it's like trying to derive human romance by reading Twilight.

As a result there is a lot of debate in the fandom as to what the four 'quadrants' actually involve, complicated of course by individual fans' shipping preferences, so any attempt at explaining them is probably going to cause controversy. There have also been various attempts to systematize the relationships, but I happen to disagree strongly with fanon on that, so we're not going to get into it here.

Troll relationships are usually put on a grid, which each relationship in a quadrant. The left column is the "concupiscent" or sexual relationships; the right column are the "conciliatory" or nonsexual romances. The top row are the "red" or postive relationships; the bottom row are the "black" or negative relationships. A troll's goal for fulfillment is to have someone to fill each of their four quadrants, presumably in a stable or semi-stable way. The relationships are (ideally) mutual - if A is B's matesprit, then B is A's - but each of the four relationships is not necessarily linked to the others. Gender is irrelevant. Trolls also believe that each person has a destined partner for each of the four quadrants, who they will eventually find, hopefully in time.

There is a lot more symbolism and terminology and argument around troll relationships and biology, but I am not going into it all here.

Matespritship is Lust and Liking. It's the closest to what we think of as human romance and love. But trolls don't expect matespritship to be the be-all and end-all of romance, and don't expect a matespirit to give them everything they need, so matespiritship is both simpler and more complicated. I imagine that without the pressure to be everything to each other, the illusions of love and perfection get to last a lot longer.

Kismesissitude is lust plus hate. It is what fandom likes to call "Foe Yay" or hatesex - nemeses holding on to a rivalry fuelled by unwilling respect and sexual tension. Humans - or at least fannish humans - tend to have a good understanding of these relationships, there are certainly enough people who ship them in fandom, but among humans, generally a "happy ending" for such a pairing is supposed to include not being enemies any more. Trolls, on the other hand, consider the foeyay relationship to be the goal - kismeses becoming matesprits happens but is far from ideal. (Matesprits becoming kismeses happens a lot too. Sometimes a relationship oscillates wildly between the two down the concupiscent side.)

Moirallegiance is positive feelings without lust. This is probably close to how fandom feels about "partners". The duty of a moirail is to keep their partner sane and at least semi-functional, or at least stop them from snapping and killing other people, or themself. The first fandom example I can come up with is Mulder and Scully, due to it having the relevant risk of snapping and death all 'round. Holmes and Watson are moirails too. So are House and Wilson. This quadrant can be read as romantic friendship/platonic partnership, only drop the fluffy illusion endorphins part and have them see right into each other's weak points and dark places from the beginning. In some ways it's the deepest of the troll relationships, but keeping it non-sexual is important.

Auspisticeship is the relationship that probably has the most confusion about it. It is romance with neither lust nor liking. I propose that its closest analogues are relationships that humans think of as familial, like parents or siblings: you are auspistice for someone you don't necessarily always like, and don't want to sleep with -- heck no, that would be a trainwreck - but somehow you care about their welfare anyway, and your life would have an empty place without them. An auspistice apparently spends most of their time making sure their partner's other relationships are functional and at least quasi-stable, and it's implied that their most important role is to keep kismeses from killing each other. You can probably think of a fandom with characters like that, and if they aren't seen as familial, they're probably exes.

In practice, working with a network of troll relationships gets complicated fast - the fewest trolls you can have in a closed system and still mutually fill all quadrants is six, but in practice, there are these tangled webs where even trolls get quickly lost figuring out who is what to who ... kind of like human relationships, only trolls have names for more of them.

It is, however, still awesome to work out troll relationship quadrants for people. For example: Harry's matesprit is Ginny, his kismesis is Draco, and during the books Ron and Hermione fluctuate between being his moirail and his Auspistice, but I think by the last book Ron is moirail and Hermione is auspistice. Meanwhile, Hermione is matesprit with Ron and mutual auspistice with Harry, but I am less sure about her other two quadrants - I suspect the first person she played blackrom games with was Rita though, and she could probably pull off moiraillegiance with Viktor. Ron is matesprit with Hermione and moirail with Harry, and I suspect his auspistice is Ginny (I have decided incest is irrelevant in the conciliatory quadrants), but he has had no luck at all finding a proper kismesis. Ginny is matesprits with Harry, auspistices with Ron, and kismeses with Tom; I suspect she has a moirail too, we just didn't see enough of her to know who it is (but it ought to be Neville!)

See, doesn't that make a lot more sense than the 'shipping arguments people usually have? :D

Also, because I hate all the terms currently in circulation in the asexual community for the not-sexual-not-exactly-romantic-but-necessary-to-life partnerships, I am considering trying to sneak "moirail" into the discourse...


So what are your favorite fictional systems of romance and marriage? What do I need to add to this list?
cypher: (furocious pouncebeast!)

[personal profile] cypher 2011-04-08 02:34 am (UTC)(link)
Technically I think incest is irrelevant in all troll quadrants, since they don't even have the concept! XD

...But yeah, I think when translating to non-troll terms, where we have familial relationships (whereas trolls pretty much only have "serious" relationships through their quadrants, not through blood relation), it makes sense to allow family members to take on conciliatory quadrants. They're the sort of knowing-you-well, wishing-you-well relations that it's easy to see close family members filling.

Have you read urbanAnchorite's Case Studies on Moirallegiance? The Equius<>Nepeta chapter is probably my favorite look at a moirail relationship ever.

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staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)

[personal profile] staranise 2011-04-08 02:37 am (UTC)(link)
I have nothing to contribute, but this is making me grin madly. I love it! (I am more confused by the braids than the trolls. I feel like that says something about me.)

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bessemerprocess: Elder duckie Ursala Vernon (acid-ink) (Default)

[personal profile] bessemerprocess 2011-04-08 02:44 am (UTC)(link)
I am always a proponent of a good group marriage, and I bow to the awesomeness of this post. I'm going to spend the rest of the night squeezing my favorite characters into Sedoretu and Troll quadrants.



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elf: Sime hands with tentacles (Tentacles-Sime)

[personal profile] elf 2011-04-08 03:05 am (UTC)(link)
You're missing the Lortuen/Orhuen/Torluen relationships from the Sime~Gen series! And other transfer-partner relationships. (Do you know the Sime~Gen series? 'Cos I don't want to throw long stretches of background info at you if you already know how that works.) Another fandom where something other than gender is the main identifier for people and their relationships--in this case, it's called larity.

Transfer mates aren't necessarily married, and they don't exactly connect to group marriage. But a "perfect Distect marriage" is two (M-F) couples whose partners are in orhuen with each other. (Vocab page; orhuen is the a transfer dependency between same-sex couples; lortuen involves a male sime & female gen; torluen involves a female sime & male gen. Lortuen & torluen have sexual connections; orhuen doesn't.)

If that's all too confusing, I'd be happy to back up & put together something more detailed & coherent.

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sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2011-04-08 03:08 am (UTC)(link)
I love this list! It is SO GREAT. I love ALLLLLL of these to death (and it is tragic I was not familiar with a lot of them before!) Although I feel like I still do not quite understand how the "braid" one works...

I have an example to add to the "group marriages" section, a published fic example: "Vigilant," by James Alan Gardner! The planet most of the action is on, Demoth, sees group marriage as a perfectly normal though rather old-fashioned thing to do. Faye (the main character) marries her seven friends, and their marriage is throughout the book a source of much stabilizing influence and joy. It is SO GREAT. It was also, I'm pretty sure, my first introduction to positively-portrayed poly, and I will always be glad of it for that, too. I just love Faye's marriage SO MUCH.

And now I want to go reread Vigilant (which is brilliant for plenty of reasons besides group marriage) but I CAN'T because my copy is loaned out to a friend! TRAGEDY!

OH! And I almost forgot! Another of James Alan Gardner's books, "Hunted", has a different sort of marriage/romance system, for its main group of aliens, the Mandasars. They have various, mmm, castes, I suppose you could call them, though they're biological. And a family/hive is always made up of five Mandasars, of three castes: one warrior, one gentle, and three workers. They depend on each other pheremonally -- without hanging out with people of the other castes, they go mentally a bit haywire (in evolutionarily useful ways, yes, but not beneficial for a stable society). Once every 9 years when the gentle goes into egg-heat, and she and the warrior mate, but other than that they're pretty "mindboggling platonic".

The book doesn't ever attempt to queer Mandasar relationships, and only portrays "normal" ones, but I bet it would be pretty fun to try!

(James Alan Gardner is pretty great with writing books about nonstandard gender/sexuality. Though actually now that I think about it, he DOESN'T do any m/m or f/f....)

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mecurtin: I am on the lookout for science personified! (dinosaur science)

[personal profile] mecurtin 2011-04-08 03:19 am (UTC)(link)
The more I think about line marriage, the more dubious I become.

Line marriages, like most traditional marriages, are about *property*. And line marriages point up the problem with egalitarian poly marriages: there doesn't EVER have to be inheritance. A line marriage is more like a corporation than like marriage-as-we-know-it, and that does *not* lead to freedom.

The thing is, traditional polygynous marriages are not truly poly, because the wives are not married to each other. In a traditional (Mormon, Muslim, ancient) poly marriage, all the marriages end when the husband dies, and at that point the property *has* to go through an inheritance process.

In Heinlein's line marriage, there is no inheritance -- the marriage keeps going without control ever passing directly to a new generation. The *only* child of the line marriage who inherits, really, is the one who marries back in. And in a realistic world, that means that parents in a line marriage will try to pimp their children to their co-spouses, because the child who marries back into the line is the one who grabs the brass ring, who wins BIG. All the others are pushed out into the world, and you can bet that they never get as much (property, money, whatever) as they would if the marriage was liquidated every generation, as in a normal marriage.

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willwrite_fortea: (Default)

[personal profile] willwrite_fortea 2011-04-08 04:06 am (UTC)(link)
:flails happily:

:offers you flowers and trinkets, because she really needed literature about romances and relationships not necessarily monogamous or sexual, etc etc for the upcoming summer months:

I'm in the middle of reading The Left Hand of Darkness, and I'm pleased to find out that the author's play with gender and relationships pervades other works of hers <3
lindentreeisle: Don- got tech? (Default)

[personal profile] lindentreeisle 2011-04-08 04:09 am (UTC)(link)
Love this post. I love Le Guin's ideas. She also does a lot with sexuality- for example the stories she's written where people become fertile in cycles and are only gendered while fertile; they "come into" fertility as the opposite gender of whoever brings them in. 'Kemmer' it's called. Remember those?

Joe Haldeman does something similar to line marriage in his "Worlds" series- it's originally invented as a way to restructure families as corporations for legal and tax reasons, and it kind of explodes into a whole way of structuring families and marriages. Each family kind of does things its own way; some are hetero mono, some use polyamory or polyandry, etc.

I also want to mention Courtship Rite which is an extremely cracked out book that is mostly about cannibalism but has group marriages with very weird courting rituals.

Sorry this isn't very coherent, I'm tired. Will have to discuss more when I'm not tired.

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ambersweet: (Default)

[personal profile] ambersweet 2011-04-08 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
[personal profile] finch linked me to this, and I'm totally fascinated by some of these relationships I've never heard of before. :D

Could the auspistice role be filled by a BFF? Reading the description, I was totally reminded of Sex and the City.

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calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)

[personal profile] calvinahobbes 2011-04-08 06:47 am (UTC)(link)
I love this post, and I have nothing to say, because I am too busy, but I'm glad I took the time to read.
whatawaytoburn: ([Writing]  At work)

[personal profile] whatawaytoburn 2011-04-08 06:48 am (UTC)(link)
I was prodding around my network and came across this. I'm terribly fascinated by this and want to play around with some of these c9oncepts badly. Granted, no one who knows me would be surprised by this but I am defi9nitely bookmarking this and saving it to be reviewed again tomorrow when I have had more sleep and can brain enough to try and plot things.
avendya: Amy Pond glares and is gorgeous. (Doctor Who - Amy Pond is prettier than y)

[personal profile] avendya 2011-04-08 07:27 am (UTC)(link)
Also, because I hate all the terms currently in circulation in the asexual community for the not-sexual-not-exactly-romantic-but-necessary-to-life partnerships, I am considering trying to sneak "moirail" into the discourse...

But some Googling tells me it is traditional to sleep with your moirail once, but only once, and AUGH PLEASE NO. (I have -- well, I'll use my term of choice, "queerplatonic" -- relationships, and I really do not want to sleep with them, ever.)
avendya: blue-green picture of a woman's face (Doctor Who - Eleven & Amy)

[personal profile] avendya 2011-04-08 07:32 am (UTC)(link)
Also, from the comments of the sedoretu fic:

Sherlock Holmes, the 2009 version, works perfectly for a sedoretu. Holmes & Mary are of the same moiety; as are Irene and Watson. (... Sherlock (2010) doesn't bother having enough characters for polyamory to work well, and I don't remember ACD well enough to comment.)

Also: the current Team TARDIS is such a sedoretu - Eleven and Amy are of a moiety (yes, I know, I am the only person in fandom who doesn't ship them), and Rory and River are of the other. Thus, Amy/Rory, Amy/River, River/Eleven, Eleven/Rory all work, while taking out the two pairings that don't work for me - Amy/Eleven and Rory/River.

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ambyr: pebbles arranged in a spiral on sand (nature sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy) (Pebbles)

[personal profile] ambyr 2011-04-08 07:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Hmm, what about Octavia Butler's books? There's the five-way marriages in the Xenogenesis trilogy, with one male human, one female human, one male alien, one female alien, and one third-sex alien. Seeing those queered up would be interesting.

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stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)

[personal profile] stultiloquentia 2011-04-08 11:08 pm (UTC)(link)
What a kickass resource! I'm running into the "But I want ALL the ships!" dilemma in my current fandom, so clearly I'm going to have to give this some considerable thought.

I just read Le Guin's The Birthday of the World a few weeks ago, and it made me all bouncy and excited about, as you said to somebody else, social engineering sf. Yay.
scrollgirl: sg-1 v2.0 (sg-1 team)

[personal profile] scrollgirl 2011-04-09 02:42 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for explaining these canons; this is fascinating stuff! I started to meta about how the "SG-1" designation shouldn't be retired, that new members should be brought in as old members leave or die, and then realised that Team Atlantis fits the line marriage model even more so than SG-1.

Le Guin has been on my To Read list for years and years, and now I want to actually pick a book and start. Maybe Left Hand of Darkness?

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[personal profile] verity 2011-04-09 02:42 am (UTC)(link)
I love this post SO MUCH! And I wish I had more things to suggest, but Heinlein's all I'm really familiar with. Well, I think there might have been some plural marriage in Joanna Russ's The Female Man, but it's been a while since I read that... (Recommend so hard, though!)
harpers_child: melaka fray reading from "Tales of the Slayers". (Default)

[personal profile] harpers_child 2011-04-09 02:45 am (UTC)(link)
i have bookmarked this for referring to later when i'm writing my SGA "no really these other culture are nothing like earth cultures, stop projecting your world view all over everyone in another galaxy" fic. because in a place where it's very likely you'll be eaten before your children are grown having a marriage involving lots of people makes sense, dammit.
erinptah: (Default)

[personal profile] erinptah 2011-04-09 09:03 am (UTC)(link)
Let me just reiterate that this is an awesome post. (And may even push me into actually reading Homestuck.)

"Stephen"'s life would get a whole lot less angsty if he could have a sedoretu. Either a group with three men in which the one woman is of his moiety, or a standard Em/Ef/Mm/Mf group in which he and the woman of the opposite moiety just never seem to find the time to sleep together, whoops, such a shame, but there's plenty of love and sexual fulfillment and emotional support to go around within the group.

And I'm trying to make Alucard/Integra/Seras/Pip work out, but it keeps collapsing back into "everyone wants to sleep with Integra." It almost works as Alucard/Integra, Integra/Seras, Seras/Pip, with friendly-loving Alucard+Seras and Integra+Pip...it's just that Alucard/Pip doesn't really work out. Although perhaps they could use the same tactic as that second "Stephen" option.

Are there any generalizations to be drawn from the original stories about characteristics of Morning people versus Evening people, or are you just saying things like "Molly Weasley is obviously a Morning person" because it sounds, hm, poetically fitting? (Not that I'm not going to go straight to the library tomorrow later today and pick them up anyway...)

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sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)

[personal profile] sqbr 2011-04-09 09:59 am (UTC)(link)
Oh wow I love this post. I'm actually not all that into AUs which write people as other species etc, but I am a HUGE fan of interesting alien attitudes to sex/gender/relationships etc so it was fascinating anyway.

With Homestuck: An Auspistice relationship has three people, not two. A keeps B and C's relationship stable, and the A/B/C triple is the relationship, not A/C or A/B. Fanon has a lot of Auspitices keeping kismeses etc from killing each other etc, but afaict it only comes up in canon as A stopping B and C from becoming kismeses in the first place (because B is already kismesis with D, say)

It's worth noting that Homestuck troll society is very anti-poly within each quadrant, and that this is one of the reasons auspitices are valued. Thus far there have been no poly troll relationships (from a troll POV) in canon, though there has been people having crushes on multiple people at once, and complicated feelings between exes who have new partners. Friendship (rather than being moirails) is kind of queer, I guess, it's certainly seen as strange.

Personally I would love if one of the trolls decided they were asexual in one or more quadrants, since there's no longer a death sentence on being single. There's certainly some who seem very unenthusiastic about finding a kismesis.
Edited 2011-04-09 10:03 (UTC)

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thatyourefuse: ([sp] the greatest treason)

[personal profile] thatyourefuse 2011-04-09 07:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Here through [personal profile] recessional...

... and oh my god, the Spooks team are a (largely) platonic line marriage! Lucas replaces Adam who replaces Tom, Ruth replaces Connie who replaces, well, Ruth the first time, who replaces Tessa, Ben replaces Zaf who replaces Danny -- and lots of others I haven't got to/been spoiled for yet, and the tricky question whether one line of descent runs Zoe-Fiona-Jo-Beth or whether Fiona was sui generis and then Ros came in as replacement for her -- but they're all Harry's People in whatever iteration. And also each other's people. (Even when -- as with, say, Ruth and Ros -- they would never ever interact at ALL if it weren't for being part of the same kinship group.)

And of course lots of little individual relationships within the network.

Oh, I'm just going to keep framing it that way from here on out.

(And, yes, fandom of one. Sorry. But that was an epiphany.)
thatyourefuse: ([sp] the card the dealers won't touch)

[personal profile] thatyourefuse 2011-04-09 09:15 pm (UTC)(link)
... and now my brain is actually trying to write that actual AU.

And is giving me a whole range of kinship terms for use therein.

Fuuuuuuuuuuck.
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[personal profile] fenellaevangela 2011-04-09 07:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooh, this is a shiny, shiny post.
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[personal profile] blades_of_grass 2011-04-09 07:33 pm (UTC)(link)
here through rydra_wong

This is an awesome post! I second the sime~gen recommendation - that's one very good example of sexual mores determined both by biology and ethics.

Also, Fiona Patton's books have an interesting variation, though only for aristocrats. Every person has a same-sex companion out of Companion's league, who is supposedly teaching them subtleties of politics and relationship as well as spying on them. But the relationship between a companion and their charge is more often than not of intensely loyal love and mutual protection. "Regular" marriage is between to opposite-sex people.

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A bold request

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sapote: The TARDIS sits near a tree in sunlight (Default)

[personal profile] sapote 2011-04-09 07:38 pm (UTC)(link)
... I have written a Buffy sedoretu story but have been too shy to post it. I will now woman up and drop you a link as soon as it's up. Also, I love this post entirely <3
sapote: The TARDIS sits near a tree in sunlight (Default)

[personal profile] sapote 2011-04-09 08:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Also, to skip out on genre entirely, How I Met Your Mother is completely supportable as a show about Lily, Marshall, and Ted trying to find Ted a nice Evening girl so they can all settle down. Even so far as extending the Le Guin-canon fictive kin names to Robin and Barney, as friends or partners who are part of the kin group but not the core marriage! (They are Aunt Robin and Uncle Barney to Ted's kids, which is completely Le-Guin canonical). I would have written this too, except that it's really hard to mash up sitcom writing and Le Guin and have everyone sound in-character.

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[personal profile] zlabya 2011-04-10 01:19 am (UTC)(link)
I couldn't even get past the first couple of sentences of the Troll marriage structure.

Love your critiques of Heinlein, and I love even more your love for Ursula K Le Guin's works. Her recurring themes of marriage, gender and social engineering/anthropology are major reasons she's been in my top 3 of authors for decades.

Speaking of social engineering, my major interest in this topic of types of marriage is the reason for developing each. One can't simply invent a new system because it's cool or fun; it needs to make social sense. Sedoretu does because of the Morning and Evening orientations of that people. Dyads would be possible, but making sure one had more or less equal amounts of Morning and Evening people would be more difficult. Also, having one parent of each moiety ensures one has a same-gender and opposite-gender parent in one's own moiety for empathy and modeling.

And I love your examples for the two fandoms I know of: Harry Potter and House.

Hmm, are there any fandoms I know of where a sedoretu story might be good? Now you've got me thinking.

[personal profile] w_thit 2011-04-10 04:45 am (UTC)(link)
Oh group marriage meta! This is gorgeous.

Just to add to the list, Star Trek has some of this, though they're in dire need to queering up:

In the expanded universe, Andorians have four genders; canonically, their marriages have four spouses, though Data did say that there were exceptions.

More in line with your post, Denobulans have open marriages which function more like networks than anything else. Each individual is expected to have three spouses (of the opposite gender, from how it was explained), and to have relationships with their spouses's spouses at the very least. There are 720 different socially acceptable familial relationships, 42 of them sexual.

Anyway, this was a fantastic post.

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