Samuel Walters wrote:
Essentially, the seeming defeat of Communism was also the seeming defeat of Enlightenment itself.
I think one issue with Sci-Fi is a fatigue with the whole World of Tomorrow™ concept. Considering we've had decades of reality dispel much of the speculation we had in the 20th century, that makes audiences much less willing to suspend disbelief for a Sci-Fi future. Fantasy just *is* and as long as the fantasy world is internally consistent, then audiences seem more willing to suspend disbelief.
I do think Sci-Fi is, essentially, harder to create because it's so closely tied to the limits and restraints of our knowledge. The more we advance, the more aware we are of our limitations. As such, FTL-based stories, galaxy-spanning story worlds, alien-contact tales, and idyllic/utopian futures are harder to accept as plausible. I think this is why, in part, why dystopian stories have taken hold. There's currently no limit to how far a society can fall given future technologies.
Fatigue with World of Tomorrow=Impossible to believe in Progress (i.e., tired of the Enlightenment)
Dystopian tales are rarely about the future, they are commentary on humanity now. They are generally misanthropic rather than pessimistic. Again, a visceral rejection of the Enlightenment's positive view of humanity.
Increase in knowledge making future worlds less believable is irrelevant. People mostly prefer wish fulfilment and thinking about plausibility of speculation, much less reality, isn't wish fulfilment. Also, people do not, repeat, do not
favor fantasies that are internally consistent.