Darts and Lasers


It’s stardate 99040.01 and lead producer Jay Cockburn is temporarily taking over command of Darts and Letters for an episode.

For this episode, as part of the week’s theme of “ideas in strange places” we boldly go into the strange new worlds of science fiction, revealing how it’s long been a vehicle for radical thought. We dig into post-scarcity, Afrofuturism, and feminist speculative fiction as we set our phasers to fun and go where no podcast has gone before.

This episode is a rebroadcast from our catalogue. We’re revisiting some of our favourites until the new season of Darts and Letters launches on September 18th.

  • First (@10:54), Cory Doctorow is a journalist, activist, blogger, and author of many books including the post-scarcity speculative fiction novel Walkaway. He takes us through the idea of a post-scarcity world as he breaks down the idea of abundance and what we might do with it, or not.
  • Then, (@34:52), Nalo Hopkinson is a science fiction writer, editor, professor, and author of Brown Girl in the Ring. She talks to us about Afrofuturism as a critical lens and different ways of seeing the future for different communities — and re-imagining the present. Plus, be sure to read her own recommendation: Sister Mine.
  • Finally, (@49:43), Batya Weinbaum is a poet, artist, professor, and the editor of FemSpec, an academic journal of feminist speculative fiction. She charts the history of feminism in science fiction and how art, including novels, helps drive social, political, and economic change.


  • Check out Cory Doctorow’s blog site Craphound, including the shop where you can buy his books, including Walkaway, which is featured in this episode. Also have a look at this latest book, Attack Surface.
  • Dig into the interdisciplinary feminist journal FemSpec, edited by Batya Weinbaum and visit her Google Scholar page to peruse her many academic articles.
  • We mentioned a number of books in this episode you may want to check out, including Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Iain M. Banks’ the Culture series.

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Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic; this episode our guest host and lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Gordon Katic is our editor. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. Our research assistants for this episode were Addye Susnick and David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

Your Host

Jay Cockburn

Jay Cockburn is the lead producer on Darts and Letters. He's also produced for 99% Invisible, Spotify/Gimlet Media and before he moved to Canada he worked as a director, producer and engineer at the BBC in the UK. Jay fancies himself a writer and has a book on podcast production out, but really he just wants to write poorly researched science fiction novels and geek out on urbanism.

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