172 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

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.

    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
    Second Life Goes On

    Second Life Goes On

    One year into this pandemic, it’s been a struggle to feel a connection with other people digitally. That’s why I was inspired to hear an episode from the show Science Friday about a community that refused to disband their virtual world. As reporter Daniel Peterschmidt explains to me, the staff of Science Friday had set up a virtual outpost in Second Life when it was a trendy thing to do in the mid-2000s. The show eventually left Second Life, but Daniel recently discovered their community of hardcore fans stuck together long after many people abandoned Second Life, and the group went through not-so virtual turmoil along the way. 
    Today's episode is brought to you by SerialBox 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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    • 34 min
    Tron: Welcome to the Machine

    Tron: Welcome to the Machine

    The 1982 movie Tron may seem outdated and even hokey today, but the film was more groundbreaking and prophetic than many people realize. I talk with Tron’s director Steven Lisberger about the challenge of making a movie about computers without the help of computers. Media scholars Lars Schmeink and Sherryl Vint discuss the influence of Tron on our understanding of virtual worlds and our place in cyberspace. Plus, writer Daniel Frey talks about why current sci-fi about Silicon Valley tends to be more “near future” than fantastical, including his novel The Future is Yours.
    Today's episode is brought to you by Serial Box 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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    • 31 min
    This Ain't No Fairy Tale

    This Ain't No Fairy Tale

    The story of the brothers Grimm and how they came to publish a book of fairy tales has become something of a folk legend in itself. The conventional wisdom is that the Grimms collected their tales from village peasants, and the brothers always embraced the darkest elements of the tales. But as fairy tale scholars Jack Zipes and Ruth Bottigheimer explain, the real story of how the Grimms came across these tales -- and altered them -- is much more complicated and interesting. The Grimms were writing for a particular audience in their time, and the values they embedded in these tales have influenced us in ways we may not realize. Featuring readings by actor Jochen Werner.
    Today's episode is brought to you by Serial Box, BetterHelp and Sygnyl. 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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    • 32 min
    Embracing the Spooky Spooky

    Embracing the Spooky Spooky

    In the 1950s and ‘60s, the vibrating sound of the Theremin instrument was synonymous with sci-fi movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still or horror shows like Dark Shadows to the point where the Theremin became a genre cliché. But a new generation of experimental pop musicians like Dorit Chrysler and Miles Brown (of the band Night Terrors) are using the Theremin to create otherworldly sonic landscapes. Also I talk with Albert Glinsky, biographer of Leon Theremin, about how the inventor of the Theremin lived a life that was more like a Kafkaesque science fiction tale.
    Check out Albert Glinsky’s book “Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage.”
    Today's episode is brought to you by Serial Box 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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    • 30 min

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