This week's issue of The Economist
includes a review of Star Trek: Beyond
in its Books, Arts, and Culture column, Prospero
The reviewer doesn't seem to be interested in cinematography or action, plot or characterisation. Their only point is that Beyond
fails to deliver the social criticism for which they admire the Original Series. Is that fair? Is it even relevant? Does science fiction have any obligation to deliver social commentary?
Now, The Left Hand of Darkness
, he Dispossessed
, and Forever War
are among my favourite SF, and I still occasionally reflect on the points they made about sex, socialism, and war. But I think that e.g. Neutron Star
and The Tower of Glass
are also very worthwhile, stories that were built around scientific points or social/moral points that are drawn from blue-shy speculation and have nothing to do with issues that are presently of political concern. For that matter, some of my favourite science fiction is sheer adventure in an exotic setting, and I don't see anything wrong with that.