A Fictitous yet Genuine Critique of Reality

Throughout his article, Sarantakes analyzes and discusses the numerous allegories used in Star Trek. These allegories are used in Star Trek to relate to the international and domestic policies of the United States, and to critique them. One example of these allegories in the world of Star Trek discussed by Sarantakes is of the conflict between the Federation and the Klingons. The Federation was on the brink of war with the Klingons. Attack finally breaks out and Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock of the Federation are taken prisoners by the Klingons. The Organians are eventually able to free them, and they use their mental and psychic powers to end it all. This episode was used, in a sense, “to establish the basis for a Cold War-like confrontation: Disputes remain, but the two interstellar powers would challenge one another only through indirect means”(Sarantakes 81). Sarantakes explains that the allegory in Star Trek was used to symbolize the Cold War conflict, and to poke fun at the fact that while there were substantial disagreements between the United States and the Soviet Union, the confrontations remained indirect. The allegory is significant because it illustrates a central critique of American foreign policy.

In my opinion, both science fiction and fantasy writing serve as perfect settings to display controversial and provoking political/cultural views. This is because with fantasy and science fiction works, the criticisms of deeply seated ideologies come across as indirect. In other words, with both science fiction and fantasy, the context of the work is far away from reality. Thus, any interpretation is subjective: there is no single, definite extrapolation of the work. Outside of Star Trek, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-five also self-consciously provides a cultural critique of war and American capitalism in general. The novel, published in 1969, serves to portray to the general public the paradoxical makeup of American capitalism, and how, more specifically, the history of America is a tale of greedy and inhumane actions. This novel is under the genre of science fiction, and thus is able to provide a comprehensive critique of American capitalism, power, and racism without direct ramifications. In short, science fiction and fantasy works provide quintessential outlets for critiques of controversial topics, such as political and cultural ideologies.

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