In so doing, however, I mean no disrespect to Bill Burling, who was obviously a wonderful teacher and an astute critic. I recommend following this link to investigate Burling's legacy, which includes a close association with Kim Stanley Robinson, leading to this upcoming title.
In any case, here is the passage from Burling's text which really captured my attention:
British SF over the past four decades often engages with socialist and even Marxist thematics, which may be said to begin with Michael Moorcock’s assumption of the editorship of the magazine New Worlds in 1964. Encouraging the pursuit of experimental and radical social critique in SF, Moorcock published what would in due course become an impressive generation of Left SF authors and their followers, including Brian Aldiss and J. G. Ballard. Taking William Burroughs as their literary inspiration, the first “new wave” SF evinced a latent Left position, that is, one advocating Left views of consciousness but not highlighting the requisite socio-economic components. A second wave was, however, depicted manifestly Left extrapolations: Iain Banks’ “Culture” novels, such as Consider Phlebas (1987) offer an extended post-scarcity, left socio-techno vision; Ken Macleod actively engages Marxist ideas in the “Fall Revolution” series, as in The Star Fraction (1995); and China Miéville’s remarkable and generically innovative “Bas-Lag” series incorporates an extended meditation on Left political and social issues, most clearly in Iron Council (2004).
Of special and final note is the work of two recent women authors. Tricia Sullivan’s Maul (2003) vigorously interrogates social and political issues in her depiction of a near future, but non-utopian, world administered solely by women. Also important is Gwyneth Jones’ Bold as Love (2001), winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the ensuing namesake series: Castles made of Sand (2002), Midnight Lamp (2003), Band of Gypsies (2004), and
Even this short and admittedly selective survey demonstrates the essential interconnection between SF’s representations of the production and consumption of technology and the resulting implications as theorized by Marx and later Left thinkers. While only a few SF works have manifestly engaged the concomitant and irrepressible social, political, and economic issues inherent in their alternative worlds, every SF story, film, or television show bears the latent burden of ideological commitment.