Imaginary Worlds

24 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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Sidekicks: Tonto and Kato

May 15th, 2019

30:25

As part of our mini series on sidekicks, we look at two characters that have travelled in parallel since they came out of the same radio station in the 1930s – Tonto and Kato. There wasn’t anything authentically Native …

Sidekicks: Watson

May 1st, 2019

28:42

Sidekicks are often taken for granted because they’re so loyal. We assume they’ll always be there to back up our heroes. Why? What’s in it for them? …

Rod Serling's Key of Imagination

April 17th, 2019

35:33

Witness if you will a writer: Rod Serling. This is the story of a man with a vision -- a vision of what television could be if only men ceased to …

The Hero's Journey Endgame

April 3rd, 2019

32:35

When something goes wrong in an ordinary world, an unlikely hero emerges to go on a quest….and you know the rest. Ever since George Lucas cited Joseph Campbell’s 1949 book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” as the …

Slaughterhouse at Fifty

March 20th, 2019

30:52

Time doesn’t work the same for Billy Pilgrim as it does for the rest of us. He keeps jumping from one moment in his life to the next -- and always back to the bombing of Dresden. 50 years ago this month, Kurt Vonnegut …

Tales of Margaret Brundage

March 7th, 2019

26:37

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

29:57

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

29:28

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

31:56

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

31:00

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

23:56

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

26:55

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

39:59

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 …

Imaginary Deaths

July 12th, 2018

28:40

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

33:14

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

28:15

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

26:28

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

26:01

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

20:21

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

17:30

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

31:09

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

24:11

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

15:27

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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