"In the preface to William Gibson's Burning Chrome, Bruce Sterling said science fiction writers are like court jesters, able to speak truths without offense. 'We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins makes us seem harmless.'
"Science fiction is able to make indictments against us palatable. We can choose either to accept them as truths or dismiss them as empty fiction. Star Trek, we know, wasn't saying that hundreds of years in the future we'll see racism as a social flaw. It was saying that it should be recognized as such back then in the '60s. Every comment on the Prime Directive, every mention of how the people of Earth solved their society's problems, were not speculation on what the future might bring but arguments that something was wrong in the present."