I came across this on Tumblr, and thought it was worth a read:
Science fiction, speculative fiction, whatever, is the perfect choice for that kind of behavior. Someone [...] once wrote that poking fun at science fiction, as a genre, is so silly, considering that mystery novels (which are also great!) are about death and murder and crime, while sci-fi is about reimagining the world and making it better and new and different. And, honestly, these are the books and pulps and magazines and comics that have done more than any other genre to begin the process of playing with race, and gender. No one is claiming that Heinlein is a social justice blogger, or anything like that, and it’s not a super-great book, but ANY KIND of science fiction, even of the Tits in Tight Silver Outfits variety, is implicitly saying that the world we currently live in is not the only way a world could be, that things could change. That’s really revolutionary, when you think about it. And, jeez, if you want to talk about “the story not the storyteller,” let’s think about Orson Scott Card. The man is a bag of dicks, when it comes to his personal politics, but Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus could actually make you a better person.
This is an excerpted piece of from Nicole Cliffe‘s review of Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, I’ve always appreciated this aspect of Science Fiction and, like Cliffe, feel that the sensawunda, the insistance that the world, the universe, humanity has the potential to be better is a very strong reason why Science Fiction is so important to the history of human society and the future development of us as a people and a species. I’ve written something similar about Fantasy, come to think of it. Whether you agree with Cliffe or not, the whole review is worth reading, and I hope we can discuss some of these arguments that she raises.