Over the sci-fi show's first two seasons, many conservatives saw it as a pitch-perfect metaphor for the United States’ post-9/11 battle against Osama bin Laden and his Muslamonazi horde. Galactica, which has become something of a surprise hit on the Sci Fi Channel, takes place in a post-apocalyptic universe where humanity has been decimated by a nuclear strike launched by an enemy race of robots known as the Cylons. Most of the action revolves around a noble band of 50,000 survivors who hurtle through space searching for a new home planet. Along the way, they have had to deal with Cylon sleeper agents, suicide bombers, and even a sinister pack of left-wingers who use violence to try to force humanity to make peace with their enemies...
“The whole suicide bombing thing … made comparisons to Iraq incredibly ham-fisted,” wrote a frustrated Jonah Goldberg, who had hoped the struggle against the Cylons would look more like Le Resistance than the Iraqi insurgency. “The French resistance vibe … is part of what makes the Iraq comparison so offensive. It’s a one-step remove from comparing the Iraqi insurgency to the (romanticized) French resistance.”
“Message to BSG fans on the Right,” wrote fellow conservative John Podheretz sternly. “You cannot … come up with some cockamamie explanation whereby it’s not about how we Americans are the Cylons and the humans are the ‘insurgents’ fighting an ‘imperialist’ power...
It’s understandable why Galactica’s new political bent has created such a stir among some conservatives. As President Bush’s approval ratings have steadily slid down since the 2004 elections, and as violence in Iraq has continued to surge, many of the Galacticons have turned to science fiction and fantasy as the basis for their policy ideas. The most recent example comes from soon-to-be-ex-Senator Rick Santorum, who compared the Iraq war to the fight against Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. "As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” said Santorum, who went onto explain that the Iraq war had drawn the “eye” of the terrorists away from America. “It’s being drawn to Iraq, and it’s not being drawn to the U.S. And you know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”
The use of Lord of the Rings by the defenders of the War of Terror doesn't surprise me - as I've noted in passing here, Rings is a masterpiece of reactionary politics.
One sci fi writer whose political stance has never been in doubt is Ken MacLeod, whose novels mix the minutae of Trotskyist politics and history with shoot 'em up action in a dystopian Britain of the near future. You can check out a new interview with MacLeod here.