Allegories within Science Fiction

Star Trek creators recognized the power they held with the public through having a popular tv show and the ability to alter media. They decided to utilize this power by making political statements in the episodes of Star Trek. In the Episode “Patterns of Force” first aired 16 February, 1968, the creators allude to Nazi Germany and the totalitarian regime of Hitler. In this episode the starship Enterprise travels to the planet of Ekos whilst in search of a missing member of the Federation, Gill. Upon Arrival, Kirk and Spock find an identical Nazi movement that has taken control of the planet and learn that it was put in place to unify the country. The writers of Star Trek initially had the idea to have the characters acknowledge that in some places and in some times, fascism could be a successful form of government, however they decided against it. Ultimately, the goal of the episode was to emphasize the mistake of intervention in other countries, or in this case planets, governments. Sarantakes’ conveys, “Regardless of motivation, attempts to intervene will have repercussions for which Americans will be responsible”. This is likely in reference to the Vietnam War and how American intervention did pretty much nothing at all to help stop Communism, but rather ended in the loss of more lives and the destruction of the country. The other allegory within the episode is more pro-America and its the idea the democracy was ultimately the best form of government. In the episode the faults of a Nazi regime are discussed, “What he’s saying Spock is a man that holds that much power, even with the best intentions, just can’t resist the urge to play god”. Overall the episode emphasizes that democracy, and limited government power is the way to go.

Science Fiction as a genre lends itself to the ability to sneak allegories in, because it has practically no ties to reality. The structures of life may be completely the same but because Science Fiction tends to be set in a place or time in which we can’t comprehend, we don’t allow ourselves to consciously see the similarities within societies. It is because of this that Science Fiction becomes perfect to alluding to a problem of our culture. People have a tendency to shut down and ignore any ideas that are in opposition to their beliefs, so by subtly placing them into popular media, our perceptions are swayed within being confronted. Additionally, media and popular culture tend to be open to interpretation so it would be easier to publish a controversial topic. An allegory in popular culture (kind of science fiction) that I always go back to is in Disney’s Wall-E. What I appreciate about Disney’s attack on consumerism and dependency on technology in Wall-E, is that it is ironically produced and marketed through that dependency. Also, by being a cartoon it is lighthearted to the older generations and therefore not an as abrupt challenge to their way of life, but also targets the younger generation who will be growing up and facing the outcomes of this issue.

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One thought on “Allegories within Science Fiction”

  1. I think the example of Wall-E is really relevant, for the cartoon criticizes consumerism by attempting to portray the inhumanity of the humans towards their planet. In the movie, the humans destroy the Earth and regard it as a garbage bin. Portraying the aftermath of human activity, Wall-E proves that humans are not adopting an appropriate behavior in order to save their plant. In the movie, humans seem to not have feelings, and they do not seem to feel any remorse for the destruction they cause. On the other hand, Wall-E is the the only character who experiences a feeling, love, when he sees Eve. As a result, the creators of the movie make the robots more human than the actual humans, which directly criticizes the carelessness of the human in regards to the Earth and the consequences of their actions.

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