A Political History of SF
How different waves of political enthusiasm passed through SF in the 20th century, and how they relate to the nature of the genre.
What I have learned from science fiction
ESR's list of ways of thinking he picked up from SF. This made me realized that I've been influenced in very similar ways.
Why the deep norms of the SF genre matter (and follow-up here)
SF has a mission. There’s a valuable cultural function that SF, alone of all our arts, is good for. SF writers (and readers) are our forward scouts, the imaginative preparation for what might come next, the way we limber up our minds to cope with the unexpected future. SF is not just the literature of ideas, it’s a literature of thinking outside the box you’re in, one that entwines escapism with extrapolation in ways that are productive for both ends. At SF’s best it provides myths and role models for people who want to make the world a better place in a way no other art form can really match.
Or as my muse puts it, "Science fiction needs to succeed in making the people that will be leading and causing change into "genre savvy" changers."