Imaginary Worlds

23 EpisodesProduced by Eric Molinsky

Imaginary Worlds is a bi-weekly podcast about science fiction and other fantasy genres. Host Eric Molinsky talks with novelists, screenwriters, comic book artists, filmmakers, and game designers about their craft of creating fictional worlds. The show also looks at the fan experience, exploring what… read more

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Tales of Margaret Brundage

March 7th, 2019


She’s mostly forgotten today, but in the 1930s Margaret Brundage was the hottest pulp fiction magazine illustrator. She created covers for Weird …

The Man Behind the Sword

February 21st, 2019


Conan the Barbarian doesn't get much respect. He's generally thought of as a muscle-bound brute who fights his way through a made-up ancient world. But the character actually has a deep, rich history -- and his creator, …

The Power of the Makeover Mage

February 7th, 2019


In some video games, you can choose which characters you want to play, and you can customize the look of those characters -- including changing their gender. For many transgender players, that option has played a …

Choose Your Own Adventure

January 24th, 2019


One of the unique aspects of video games is that you can control the characters. But game developers are often torn between wanting to give the …

Reimagining the Gods

January 10th, 2019


Madeline Miller received critical acclaim for her novels The Song of Achilles and Circe – which reimagine The Iliad and The Odyssey told from the …

A Visit by Three Ghosts

December 24th, 2018


In a special stocking stuffer of an episode, Stephanie Billman and I discuss why A Christmas Carol set the template for SF stories to come -- from …

Board Games Go Indie

December 13th, 2018


We all grow up playing board games and card games, and now those games are growing up as well. I check out BostonFIG (festival of independent games), where a new generation of indie board game designers is reimagining …

How I Won the Larp

November 29th, 2018


In my 2017 episode Winning the Larp, I looked at the history of larps (live action role plays) and how the larping experience is deeply personal for …

Alternate Movie Posters

November 15th, 2018


Long ago, before we found out about new movies from tweets about teaser trailers that advertised full-length trailers – the first glimpse of a new …

Faith in Fantasy

November 1st, 2018


Science fiction has not always been compatible with religion -- in fact many futuristic settings imagine no religion at all. But sci-fi and fantasy have long fascinated people of different faiths because the genres …

Don't Mess with the Fairies

October 18th, 2018


Forget Tinkerbell or those Victorian paintings of spritely pixies with wings. Traditional fairy folklore is much darker and weirder. Irish …

Movies for the Mind

October 4th, 2018


There has been a renaissance of audio drama podcasts over the last several years, so picking up where I left off in the previous episode, I bring the history of audio dramas up to date with the help of Ann Heppermann, …

Imaginary Deaths

July 12th, 2018


Have you ever mourned the loss of a fictional character? It can be tough to get over, and difficult to convince people not caught up in that …

Doctor Who?

January 25th, 2018


We don't know his real name. We don't know who he was before he stole the TARDIS -- a spaceship/time machine that looks like a police box on the …

Fan Fiction (Don't Judge)

November 2nd, 2017


Sci-fi and fantasy have always been a big part of fan fiction, but fan fiction hasn't always gotten respect in return. My former colleague at WNYC …

The Book of Dune

July 12th, 2017


Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune and its sequels tackled a lot of big themes. The books are about ecology. They're about journeys of self-realization …

Beyond the Iron Curtain

March 23rd, 2017


Comrades! The USSR pioneered the craft of science fiction long before the decadent West. This is not an opinion - this is a scientific fact. Noted intellectuals Anindita Banerjee, Sibelan Forrester, Asif Siddiqi, …

28 Days of Black Cosplay

February 22nd, 2017


Cosplay has gotten huge in the age of social media, but when websites feature their ComicCon slides shows, they often don't reflect the true diversity of the fans. So black Cosplayers created their own hashtag …

The Year Without a Summer

June 15th, 2016


June 16, 2016 is the 200th anniversary of the night Mary Shelley began to write, "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus." Scholars have long …

Rolling the Twenty Sided Dice

September 23rd, 2015


SEASON 2 PREMIERE: I spent the last two months learning how to play Dungeons & Dragons. That's right, I never played as a kid. But I've been reading so many interviews with interesting creative people who credit …

The Mysterious James Tiptree

March 11th, 2015


Science fiction writer James Tiptree Jr. wouldn't talk on the phone or appear in person. He developed friendships with contemporaries like Ursula le …

Origin Stories

September 10th, 2014


What makes a good origin story? University of Oregon professor Benjamin Saunders explains how retelling origin stories is a way of returning to childhood wonder. The best origin stories are not a one shot deal, they …

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May 25th, 1977


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