Science fiction, despite being by nature the most outlandish of the forms of genre fiction, enjoys arguably the best relationship with traditional literature. While literary scholars are hesitant to bestow high honors on works of science fiction, they are more willing to search for deeper meaning in their pages than those of other forms.
This is, perhaps, because science fiction tends to be the most socially-reflective version of genre fiction: It has its origins in the idea of extrapolating society in the future--usually in a negative, "this is what will happen if things do not change" sense--from current trends.
The best science fiction merges the same story elements that make any work of literature great with imaginative, logically-consistent speculation on future technology and society. Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, for instance, often is studied solely on its own merits as a work of literature. Lost in the forgetfulness of time, however, is the fact that almost all of the technology that occurs in the book was imagined by the author--the submarines, functional wetsuits and even searchlights that we take for granted today were years and years from being invented when it was written.