Summing it all up is a difficult task especially given the range of topias traversed within such a short amount time. I could go about such a task in the standard categorical way (looking at the difference in god / sexes/ community power structure/ etc.) but that would not benefit me as I've already for the most part done just that.
I guess I could start off by saying I feel like I've emerged from a Sci-Fi nightmare as even when the going got good in stories such as Herland with woman ruling and men submitting there was still a treacherous side to be had. And this double sided good/bad dichotomy is found in the best and the not so great of them. I've realized now that the scariest part of a bad dream isn't what's going on, but what isn't going on. I say this in such a manner so as to allude to the lack evident in the different stories: such as the lack of race...the lack of diversity...the lack of a "happily ever after" that wasn't contingent on it being set off from something truly negative: for instance woman domination - set off from abusive patriarchal practices or interracial coupling - set off from the violent intolerance of it and so on.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I thoroughly dislike sci fi literature for the fact that it explores possibilities within the same paradigm it is attempting to escape: and this last statement is perhaps the biggest take away - there is not escape as long as two things function within the same system...
There's something to Mark Ward's statement about time orientation and utopia - Because as I see it - those writing with the same ideological grounding - as in those from the western/occident -are functioning under the same notion of time and as Walter Ong and Eric hAvelock state in there respective texts - a group's relationship with time necessarily impacts and thus influences their traditions, actions, governing bodies etc...What I'm trying to say here is that sci fi as we've been exposed to never departs from the Western time orientation and as such never creates a space in which true potentialities can take effect and as such they leave us only as:
this or that
white or black
right or wrong
even in their necessary complication of them. In the end, irregardless of the nature of the topia something is:
and as such cannot be envisioned as some type of great construction.
To put it simply sci fi amounts to a shirt - turned inside out
A belief system turned inside out
the shirt is still a shirt
except all the seams that make it work are visible.
A belief system is still a belief system except all the things that make it work are made visible
then is the greatest contribution sci fi offers me
And that...I appreciate.