This week, we welcome Cory Doctorow to the show and have one of our meatiest conversations to date. After almost a decade, Doctorow is back with a new adult novel: Walkaway. The book has been described as “an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.” It’s also been called an optimistic dystopia, and Doctorow does an incredible job of upturning literary dystopian cliches and shows us what the world might look like if no one is left behind.
After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life―food, clothing, shelter―from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.
It’s still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it’s war—a war that will turn the world upside down.
On this episode, we talk about Walkaway, why we believe in a “barely restrained predatory nature” of the people around us, Doctorow’s fair-trade ebook platform, U.S. politics, and the pros and cons (mostly cons) of DRM. But it’s not all heavy; we definitely take time to geek out about Disney’s Haunted Mansion and the Ghost Post subscription box—over which Doctorow had major creative control.