152 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
    • 4.8, 1.5K 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.

    Once and Future Comic Con

    Once and Future Comic Con

    San Diego Comic Con is the high holiday of geekiness where fans converge to cosplay, buy collectables, show their appreciation to creators, and be the first to hear big announcements and see upcoming trailers. But the road from obscurity to cultural domination hasn’t always been smooth. In a year where the future of fan conventions is in doubt, we look back at the history of Comic Con and what it might look like in a COVID-19 world. Featuring filmmaker Eric Brammer, journalist Rob Salkowitz, and University of Oregon professor and author Erin Hanna.
    “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment” by Rob Salkowitz
    “Only at Comic-Con: Hollywood, Fans, and the Limits of Exclusivity” by Erin Hanna
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    • 34 min
    Making Up Creatures

    Making Up Creatures

    If we ever make contact with aliens, they probably won’t look like humans with pointy ears or bumpy noses, but creature makeup design is more about communicating ideas. I talk with creature and makeup designers Steve Wang (Predator, Planet of the Apes, Underworld, Gremlins,) and Neill Gorton (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Being Human, Watchmen) about the process of turning a human actor into something convincingly non-human. Also, Rosemary Chalmers of Leeds Arts University explains why she wishes more creature designers would look more to the natural world for inspiration.  
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    • 32 min
    Larping in Place

    Larping in Place

    Live theater has been shut down across the country, but live action role play (“larp” for short) is finding new ways to thrive in digital spaces. I talk with Betsy Isaacson and Ryan Hart of Sinking Ship Creations about how the phone can be turned into a medium for audio drama. Carly Dwyer and Jasmine Kimieye Graham explain how anyone can feel empowered when working in I.T., especially when it’s a Magical Help Desk. Tiffany Keane Schaefer discovers that Zoom is the perfect medium to tell stories about space travel, and game designer Jessica Creane discovers that her interactive show Chaos Theory can be tailor-made for the current moment.
    https://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.org/how-i-won-the-larp.html
    Sinking Ship Creations:
    https://www.sinkingshipcreations.com/all-events
    Intramersive Media:
    https://www.intramersive.com/magical-help-desk
    Otherworld Theatre:
    https://www.otherworldtheatre.org/larp
    Chaos Theory: 
    https://www.jessicacreane.com/chaos-theory.html
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    • 33 min
    Time Travel Therapy

    Time Travel Therapy

    Time travel is one of my favorite genres, and it’s also my go-to daydream. But I’ve begun to wonder whether time travel fantasies are a psychologically unhealthy way of avoiding problems in the present, or a helpful way of putting the present moment into sharper focus. I talk with authors Charles Yu, Vandana Singh, and editor Ann VanderMeer about the themes of loss and love in time travel narratives. And professors Antonio Cordoba and Concepcion Carmen Cascajosa Virino explain how the Spanish sci-fi show Ministry of Time (a.k.a. El Ministerio del Tiempo) became a therapeutic outlet for a nation still processing a long history of trauma and disappointments. Featuring readings by actor Woody Fu.
    The Time Traveler’s Almanac: A Time Travel Anthology
    https://www.amazon.com/Time-Travelers-Almanac-Travel-Anthology/dp/0765374242
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
    https://www.amazon.com/Live-Safely-Science-Fictional-Universe/dp/0307739457
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    • 33 min
    The Curse of The Curse

    The Curse of The Curse

    When things go wrong, it’s tempting to say something’s cursed as a joke. But when things go dreadfully wrong on horror movie sets, some fans have speculated that the films were literally cursed. Jay Cheel talks about his new documentary series “Cursed Films,” which explores why people believe the cast and crew of The Exorcist, The Omen, and other horror films were targeted by demonic forces. Special effects artist Craig Reardon and director Gary Sherman separate fact from fiction with the alleged Poltergeist curse. And I talk with professor Brandon Grafius, author of “Reading the Bible with Horror,” about why religion can prompt us to believe in curses. 
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    • 31 min
    Toy Stories

    Toy Stories

    Many of us have imaginary friends when we’re young in the guise of a doll, stuffed animal or toy that give us a sense of comfort. Then we grow out of those characters – or at least we’re supposed to. We asked our listeners to tell us about their favorite childhood toys that are still around and providing them with a sense of comfort and security during the global health crisis. Featuring Nancy Farnsworth, Steve Romenesko, Jen Cresswell, Jean Klare and the artist Jennifer Maher Coleman who paints portraits of childhood toys.  
    Jennifer’s site Your Toy Portrait:
    https://yourtoyportrait.com/category/toyportraits/
    Jennifer and her husband’s band Architrave:
    https://architrave.bandcamp.com/
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    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.5K Ratings

1.5K Ratings

loveplussqualor ,

One of my absolute favorites

Great show all around!

Merrimack-Kid ,

Great Podcast

Imaginary Worlds covers all topics of imagination. Even the ending of St Elsewhere which continued to be the most unique show ending. And Dr Who, Star Trek, Star Wars etc. but it’s the approach and the detail that makes this 5 Star worthy.

CCAD student ,

Always a joy

I very rarely know what to expect from each new episode, except that it’s going to be new, thought-provoking, and fun. One of my favorite podcasts, for certain

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