Stereotypes acting out a story that sums itself up in a moral… the fable may be the most pervasive form in literature. Whenever a schemer looks vulpine or a student demands to know what a story “means,” fable is to blame.
Modernism can be read as a reaction against fable. As can science fiction’s explication of scientific principles in place of the moral.
Which is why “The Cold Equations” is so regressive. It presents a moral that has become emblematic of science fiction: The universe doesn’t give a damn. Thus reducing the genre to a platitude.