Science fiction lives in the future, whether that future exists ten seconds from the Now or whether in a story someone builds a time machine a century from now in order to travel back into the past.
“Reminded me of Hemingway’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ which I also didn’t like”
You fail to respect that I’m doing the work that matters. Your protagonist doesn’t stand for anything until I get in the way. I create the conflict that saves your readers from boredom.