175 episodes

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 makes us suspend our disbelief, and what happens when that spell is broken. Fantasy worlds may be set in distant planets or parallel dimensions, but they are crafted here on Earth and on some level relate to our daily lives. Employing his years of experience in public radio, Eric brings a sophisticated, thoughtfully produced voice to the far-out and fantastical.

Imaginary Worlds Eric Molinsky

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

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 makes us suspend our disbelief, and what happens when that spell is broken. Fantasy worlds may be set in distant planets or parallel dimensions, but they are crafted here on Earth and on some level relate to our daily lives. Employing his years of experience in public radio, Eric brings a sophisticated, thoughtfully produced voice to the far-out and fantastical.

    Guilty Pleasures

    Guilty Pleasures

    Sci-fi and fantasy genres have come a long way from their pulp fiction and Saturday matinee origins to become respectable genres. But sometimes you just want to see something awesome, weird or shocking. That’s where genre films can deliver -- even if the movie isn’t good. I talk with five listeners about their favorite guilty pleasure films. Also, Lou Hare of the podcast Guilty Pleasures breaks down the difference between a guilty pleasure and a cult classic, and we discuss why ‘80s movies are a treasure trove of excess and bad taste.
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    • 40 min
    Disco Elysium

    Disco Elysium

    Disco Elysium has been called one of the best role-playing video games of all time. It's won a slew of awards and it’s a worldwide best-seller -- which is odd because the game wasn’t put out by a big studio. It was made by a group of friends in Estonia who had very little experience making video games. And this detective game is just as much about politics and the existential nature of reality as it is about solving a murder. I talk with Justin Keenan, one of the few American writers on the crew, along with game critic Paul Walker-Emig and game developer and former critic Heather Alexandra about why Disco Elysium is a revolutionary game that also reflects the moment of history we’re living through. 
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    • 32 min
    Weir Science

    Weir Science

    When Andy Weir wrote “The Martian,” he self-published the chapters to his website -- never expecting the story to become a best-selling book, or an Oscar-nominated Hollywood movie. His new novel, “Project Hail Mary,” is generating a lot of excitement, and he's already sold the movie rights. We talk about why he sometimes misses his old life as a cubicle dwelling engineer, the pressure of not being considered a one-hit wonder, his biggest pet peeves in sci-fi stories, and how far he’s willing to stretch his heavily scientific approach to imagine something much more fantastical.  
    Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started.
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    • 30 min
    The Zen of Sci-Fi

    The Zen of Sci-Fi

    Illusions that mask the true nature of reality. Meditating to gain control over your mind and body. Sending your consciousness to other bodies. These are both tenants of Buddhism and science fiction. Professor Jim Clarke says the overlap is no accident, Buddhism has been influencing sci-fi fantasy creators for over a century. Novelists Ramez Naam and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne talk about how they incorporate Buddhism into their sci-fi stories and personal practices. Also, Reverend Landon Yamaoka discusses why his sect of Buddhism is in line with the troubled journey of Anakin Skywalker. 
    Today's episode is brought to you by Realm and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started.
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    • 29 min
    Becky Chambers Goes Wayfaring

    Becky Chambers Goes Wayfaring

    Becky Chambers’ latest novel, “The Galaxy and The Ground Within,” is the final book in her Wayfarer series, which is about aliens, humans and AI trying to make their way through the galaxy and find common ground. Some of the characters in her books may seem fantastical and strange, but the conversations between them often revolve around familiar issues like identity, gender, family structure, and politics. We talk about why she’s closing this chapter in her writing career, even though the Wayfarer series could’ve gone on indefinitely, and what she has planned next.
    Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started.
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    • 37 min
    Music From Saturn

    Music From Saturn

    Sun Ra claimed to be an extraterrestrial being from Saturn who could teleport you to other planets with his music. That may or may not have been true, but he certainly was the leader of one of the most influential jazz ensembles of the 20th century, and he’s often called the father of Afrofuturism. I talk with artist Cauleen Smith and writer John Corbett about Sun Ra’s creative journey, and why he was light years ahead of his time. The musician Idris Ackamoor explains why Sun Ra was an inspiration for his band The Pyramids. And Ytasha Womack, author of fiction and non-fiction books about Afrofuturism, discusses why imagining the future is still a radical act.
    Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started.
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    • 31 min

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