Doyle's SF Genre Rant asserts that science fiction stories are romances rather than novels, and that if we (fans of science fiction) think of them this way, we can stop apologizing for the ways that science fiction isn't like mainstream fiction.
Her definition of romance is "a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious".
I don't think "romance" is really the right name for what she is talking about, but overlooking that, I think she has an excellent point. On the other hand, her point is also somewhat overgeneralized, and if you consider science fiction only in the context of romance, you miss a great deal.
Seems to me this would be a great topic for a Wiscon panel (although I'm a relatively new Wiscon attendee, and so for all I know, it might already have been done).
[Edit] Yes, I suggested it as a Wiscon panel.