Often dismissed by those not in the know, this genre is the ideal conduit for hopes and dreams, played out in a world where the universe is thrown open and there is a massive race for the galaxy. No one alive now is likely to still be here when we find intelligent life, let alone succeed in communicating with it. None of us are likely to see a day that poverty is eliminated, war is over and all fences mended, with a chicken in every pot and the DVDs of Fawlty Towers for every girl and boy. Through these works of fiction, what-ifs are played out in a non-threatening environment. Themes like prejudice, sometimes easy to dismiss in ordinary contexts, appear entirely different as the quirks of an alien society. Not to mention the fact that everyone needs something to do when their WoW server is full.
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