The 2010 CBC Massey Lectures, "Player One: What is to Become of Us"


CBC is proud to present the 2010 Massey Lectures, by celebrated Canadian author and artist, Douglas Coupland. A cultural commentator with international impact, Coupland presents this year's lectures in the form of a novel, Player One. What is to Become of Us.

The novel and lecture together present a story set over five hours in an airport lounge which asks; at what point do humans stop being humans and become something else? Where, if anywhere, do modernity and classical theology overlap? What is time? What is the human essence? And how does storytelling fit into all of this?

Karen, Rick, Luke and Rachel are four people marooned in an airport lounge sometime in the very near future. The price of oil goes through the roof, and a kind of apocalypse takes over the world- or at least the world that they can see through the windows of the bar and on the crackling, intermittent news reports. Thick ash falls from the sky. The taps are dry. Cellphones don't work. Sealed in, the four can only talk to each other, examine their lives and the meaning of love, and try to confront their own demons. There is no turning back, they realize.

Are we ants or are we divine? A new age is dawning.

What is to become of us?

Douglas Coupland is the international bestselling author of Generation X, and eleven other novels, including The Gum Thief, Hey Nostradamus!, All Families Are Psychotic, and Generation A, which was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His nonfiction books include Marshall McLuhan, Polaroids from the Dead, Terry: The Life of Terry Fox, and Souvenir of Canada. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages and published around the world. He is also a visual artist and sculptor, furniture designer and screenwriter. He lives in Vancouver, B.C.


Listen to Part 1 of Player One: What is to Become of Us?
(Please note only Part 1 is available for online streaming. 

Purchase the entire series on iTunes  CBC Radio

Listen to all other Massey Lecture Audio

Books and CDs

Player One: What is to Become of Us is published by House of Anansi.

Player One
(5 CD set) Five one-hour lectures, $49.95.  Available from the CBC Shop.

Related Websites

Douglas Coupland's Official Website

Douglas Coupland - Author Profile on

Douglas Coupland - CBC Digital Archives

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