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This came up in a talk with someone recently. Science Fiction is a genre that often prides itself of being ahead of the curve on many things, but, as best I can remember, the first same-sex relationship in SF in popular media was in Babylon 5 in the 1990s.

What is the earliest instance of a same-sex relationship in SF (or fantasy, as well)?

  • I don't know if it's the first, but Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth (1975) had its fair share of bisexuality. – HNL Feb 10 '12 at 7:30
  • Deafening silence on the TV & film part of the question. – Kyle Jones Feb 10 '12 at 22:07
  • @KyleJones: Yes, I noticed that, too. – Tango Feb 10 '12 at 22:30
  • @TangoOversway - I'm on strike till you make the TV thing a separate question. First, because I didn't bother reading till the end. Second, because it makes for a better, cleaner question. Third, because I'm a rep Julia Roberts – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 11 '12 at 4:07
  • @DVK: You're a rep whore, not a rep slut. But that's a good point -- you sure people won't start screaming, "But it's a duplicate?" Well, there's no TV/movie answers, so I'll make that change. – Tango Feb 11 '12 at 4:13
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Well, if you include "Fantasy", you gotta start with Ancient Greek myths (e.g. Zephyr and Hyakinthos).

If you don't, Wiki lists

True History by the Greek writer Lucian (A.D. 120–185) has been called the earliest surviving example of science fiction and the first ever "gay science fiction story".

Wiki Sources:

  • Fredericks, S.C.: “Lucian's True History as SF”, Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1 (March 1976), pp. 49–60
  • Gunn, James E. denotes True History as "Proto-Science Fiction", p.249
  • Lynne Yamaguchi Fletcher The First Gay Pope and other records, p. 95, Alyson Publications: 1992 ISBN 978-1555832063

For later "real SF", Wiki lists:

An Anglo-American Alliance, a 1906 novel by Gregory Casparian, was the first SF-themed novel to openly portray a lesbian romantic relationship.

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For SF magazines, I believe the answer is "The World Well Lost" by Theodore Sturgeon, published in 1953.

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I'd say "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Anson Heinlein written in 1961

lots of sex and orgies and quite a bit of woman on woman action.

  • but not really relationships, I wouldn't say. – Daniel Roseman Feb 10 '12 at 9:19
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    The group "marriage" that takes place in the book and the sexual intercourse between the co-wives forms part of the core relationship between Mike. It is however not a monogamous relationship more of a set loosely coupled (pardon the pun) relationships within the group where sometimes the match up were same-sex. – Stu Wilson Feb 10 '12 at 10:01
  • While a good answer, it's definitely not the first – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 10 '12 at 12:17
  • Well, that Heinlein predates Harry Harrison's 'Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers' by 12 years. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 10 '12 at 15:17

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