174 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 • 1.7K 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.

    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 always 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
    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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.7K Ratings

1.7K Ratings

Der Bizon ,

Every time you think

That this podcast is covering some part of science fiction you don’t care about you listen. And learning occurs. It does it to me every time so good luck beating my records.

Voitgofc ,

It’s cool?

I don’t like super heroes but I still listen

Y tho

Hmmmmmmmm

Ehh I gust lesen

Oh wow you still here? Ok play adopt me on Roblox

amitiel ,

Mostly great

This is a good podcast. It has changed over time, and I find myself erasing more and more episodes without finishing because sometimes it seems like he’s looking too hard for a social issue. So I just roll my eyes and stop listening. I agree with a previous reviewer who stated that he was looking too hard for things that are “problematic.” I get it, that’s what is trendy right now (along with that obnoxious word), and you have to do what you think will get you listeners. The earlier episodes were generally better and more engaging.

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