Science fiction has always been a goldmine of political commentary, as writers get to project the problems of the current world into the future and imagine how humanity deals with them.
The best science fiction, in our opinion, deals with people and how they go about their lives in these future realities. We’re fascinated by ideas that speculate on alternate futures for humanity; we want to understand the worlds they live in. It is what made Firefly and the Star Wars expanded universe so fun, and why shallow, lifeless worlds, like the one in Battlefield Earth, tend to fail. Specifically, we can look to the leaders within these stories to understand what a future society thinks it’s ideal human should be. In terms of human stories told in science fiction, very few can match the immersive world of Star Trek.
In Season 1 of the Laissez Squares podcast we discussed the political and social commentary of Star Trek, as well as the economics of the universe. But as I have become more familiar with the franchise, I have become fascinated with its leaders. Two leaders in particular stand out as diametric opposites of one another, and their differences speak volumes about the world they inhabit. The first is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the Captain of the USS Enterprise and played by Patrick Stewart. The second is Benjamin Sisko, the commander of station Deep Space 9 and played by Avery Brooks.
Jorge Arena of boundingintocomics.com recently wrote a fantastic article about these 2 captains and what we can learn from their differing points of view.