Tried reading Lancer RPG several times now. (It's been on my bedside table for a month.)

And it is *genuinely* difficult for me to see its setting's central polity, Union, as anything but an analogue to imperial US America.
* centralised polity with clear metropole worlds
* absolutely intertwined with megacorporations
* "safeguarded" by a secret intelligence bureau a la the CIA / KGB
* foreign policy against its "periphery" is expansionism / corpocratic brush war
* sure of its moral rectitude
The text uses the word "utopia" / "utopian" 18 times. (Not counting the phrase "Utopian Pillars", Union's charter.)

I kept looking to see whether it was using this world ironically. It does not.

I'm sorry, but secret police + centralised nation-state + MEGACORPS =/= utopia.
(I manually counted the words, I was so annoyed.)
(PS: *a megacorp is still a megacorp*, even if some of them in Lancer have "oh but we're a co-operative! [that happens to fight brush wars from time to time]" vibes.)
One of the political entities outside Union is called the Aunic Ascendancy, a theocracy with whom Union has tense relations with, primarily because of difference in values. And yeah, Union corpocracies are looking to expand into Aunic territory.
Yeah, so I live in the Muslim world, and considering how I can't rid the smell of American Good Intentions off Union, I can't help reading the Aunic peoples as an analogy ...
So I looked up what Lancer's creators had to say about their setting. Maybe it's a commentary on how good-intentioned monocultures a la Star Trek's Federation see themselves?

(PS: recently been watching Voyager, too. Had to stop, because of all the self-righteous Federation-ing)
Co-creator Miguel Lopez:

' The story takes place in a setting where there was a genuine good actor, someone who was saying, “We’re trying to do the right thing, and it’s complicated, but we really are trying to make it better for everyone.” '…
Yeahhh, I'm sure US foreign policy likes to think the same about itself ... (It certainly says so often enough.)

Now that folks in the Western Hemisphere are awake and taking umbrage at my reading of Lancer- look: I understand that lots of folks like their "Shining City On The Hill" utopias. (It's a traditional image in Western civilisation, after all.)
But it empathically *isn't* my idea of utopia.

And citing Rome honestly isn't helping your case, yo.
PS: I'm behind the times on more contemporary sci-fi, but-

My fave take on a just interstellar society in fiction is the Ekumen. Even in "The Dispossessed", where Le Guin discusses anarchist, utopian ideas most explicitly, the most she goes is to call it an "ambiguous utopia."
Because Le Guin has the right of it:

Utopia isn't found in good intentions enforced by state charters and railguns.

Utopia is found in practice, day to day, of difference and humanity, person by person by person; in the hands that help temporarily weaker ones when they stumble.
" they brought us help. They built ships and gave them to us, so we could leave our ruined world. They treat us gently, charitably, as the strong man treats the sick one. They are a very strange people, the Hainish; altruists ... are moved by a guilt we don’t even understand "
Above all, they *never* believe they know better.

At the end of "The Dispossessed", a person from Hain (the cradle-world of humanity), expresses their desire to see Anarres, where the anarchist Odonian culture is based:
' “We have been civilized for a thousand millennia. We have tried everything. Anarchism, in all its forms, with the rest. But I have not tried it. They say there is nothing new under any sun. But if each life is not new, each single life, then why are we born?” '
For what it's worth:

Lancer RPG fans: I didn't mean to spoil anybody's fun.

Posted the thread because I'd read the book to bed again, and woke up annoyed. I wouldn't have spent so much time trying to like it if it *wasn't* striving to be more than milsim wank.
Am muting this thread. I regret it a bit. I did the thing I told myself I wouldn't do, which is post a Twitter thread when a a blog post would've been better.

The one thing I *don't* regret is quoting from Le Guin. If you haven't read "The Dispossessed"- you should.

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15 Dec 20
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As we slip further into dystopia, cyberpunk begins to dress in the costume of realist fiction.

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2 Feb 19
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