Some of our favourite heroes are characters who might be deemed less than heroic by society. Smugglers, reckless hot-heads, gamblers and gangsters – everything that law and order should squash at the earliest opportunity. Yet in fiction we can’t help loving them. Rogues are the ones who do the dirty work so the hero doesn’t get too tarnished along the way. But can they be the heroes themselves? Or does no one want a cad for a glorious leader? 

If history is written by the victor, is there a temptation to gloss over the more unsavoury elements of our heroes? Can a rogue only be accepted in the new world order if they give up their roguish ways and redeem themselves via heroic acts? Author Ren Hutchings helps answer some of these tricksy questions.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Picard
  • Space Sweepers
  • The Dark Knight
  • Indiana Jones
  • Dragon Age 2
  • Star Wars novels by Timothy Zahn 
  • The Copper Cat Trilogy by Jen Williams
  • Among Thieves by M J Kuhn
  • Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot
  • City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn

Ren Hutchings is a speculative fiction writer, writing mentor, and perpetual sci-fi fan. She spent most of the past decade working in game dev while also plotting twisty space novels. Ren graduated with a BA in History before completing a year of grad school in archaeology, indulging her lifelong passion for nerding out about the past just as much as the future.

She loves pop science, unexplained mysteries, 90s music, collecting outdated electronics, and pondering about alternate universes. Her debut science fiction novel, UNDER FORTUNATE STARS, was published by Solaris in 2022. You can find Ren online at, and on social media as @voidcricket.