If you look at Shakespeare's history plays, what the setting of monarchy allows is this extraordinary intensification of emotions and predicament.
You get rich through luck. You get rich through crime. You get rich through fulfilling the needs of another. You can be as greedy as you like. If you can't do one of those three things, you ain't going to get any money.
To my mind, the best SF addresses itself to problems of the here and now, or even to problems which have never been solved and never will be solved - I'm thinking of Philip K. Dick's work here, dealing with questions of reality, for example.
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