In SF, the attitude of estrangement--used by Brecht in a different way, within a still predominantly "realistic" context--has grown into the formal framework of the genre.
-- DARKO SUVIN, "ON THE POETICS OF THE SCIENCE FICTION GENRE" (375)
As with any imaginative mode, science fiction is not essentially progressive or conservative. It does not automatically come down on the side of angels or devils. Often, sf is implicated in the ideological apparatus of mainstream society and does its bit in reproducing that social order and its subjects. Certainly the sf of Jules Verne played into the technological logic of his time, and Edgar Rice Burroughs's novels privileged empire and patriarchy. Critics such as H. Bruce Franklin, Constance Penley, and Andrew Ross have demonstrated the ways in which sf in the United States has helped to create the very imaginary of the military-science-industrial complex that has managed the Pax Americana in its Cold War and post-Cold War manifestations, and many feminist critics have exposed the legitimation of masculine privilege and power within the world of sf publishing itself. 1
Connected to its role in the reproduction of these hegemonic logics, the sf imaginary has also, and perhaps more pervasively, contributed to the interpellation of consumer subjects in the United States and around the globe. Especially with recent claims for the triumph of finance capitalism and its attendant technological marvels, uncritical sf images and narratives do not bring readers and audiences into brave new worlds, whether worse or better than the present, but rather spin them around within the one and only "paradise" that is allowed to exist. From literary series to special-effects-laden films, from video games to fashion