Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'


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Evan Narcisse of the Atlantic rather adeptly illustrates science fiction’s ability to make poignant political and cultural statements when written well; in this case in the first two iterations of the Mass Effect trilogy.

It’s funny, considering the debates I’ve had with folks on the same topic, especially regarding the Krogan – basically, that even in hypothetical circumstances people are quick to accept the rationalization for the destruction of another race so long as it’s not them and to exploit the Other so long as it is always kept under one’s thumb.

They stick to the hardest line “they’re expendable, we’re not” colonialist attitudes with nary a thought to abstract the concept – The Sepoy Rebellions and their subsequent retaliatory crackdowns, for instance, or the Warsaw Uprising. Afghanistan – under the British, the Soviets, the Americans.

Even now we teach soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight a proxy war that they are likely never to win but gives us an excuse to leave. Our legacy as an empire is marked a great deal by how well we keep the death our policies cause at arm’s length, politically and socially. Heady concepts to stuff into a softcore sci-fi thriller, but that’s what the genre is for, after all.

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