169 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.

    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    The 1982 movie Tron may seem outdated and even hokey today, but the film was more groundbreaking and prophetic than many people realize.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
    Betty Boop and the Hays Code

    Betty Boop and the Hays Code

    Betty Boop is a beloved cultural icon, but she was controversial in her heyday. I talk with Mark Fleischer – grandson of Betty Boop’s co-creator Max Fleischer – and Mark’s wife Susan Wilking Horan about how the character was created and why she still endures. I also talk with film critic Marya Gates and Professor Thomas Doherty about how the Hays Code, which censored Betty Boop, had a profound impact on the moral universe of Hollywood films, and why this defunct production code is still influencing movies up to this day, especially with fantasy entertainment.

    Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp and Amazon's Faraway Collection. 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
    Camelot Forever

    Camelot Forever

    The myth of Camelot runs deep in our culture. For over a thousand years, storytellers have felt compelled to tell the tale of King Arthur and add their own spin on the mythical legend. But we live in pretty cynical times where the idea of a wise and noble king feels like just as much of a fantasy as a boy pulling a magical sword from a stone. So why does the character of Arthur still endure? I talk with Arthurian scholars Martha Bayless, Elizabeth Archibald and Ingrid Nelson about why we can never forget that for one brief shining moment, there was a Camelot – even if there probably never was a Camelot.
    Today's episode is brought to you by Faraway Stories from Amazon, 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
    Making Up Creatures (Special Edition)

    Making Up Creatures (Special Edition)

    Every year, I like to play a full-length interview with a previous guest who had so much more to say than what I could fit into a particular topic. Last summer, I did an episode called Making Up Creatures where I talked with the creature designer Neill Gorton, who is best known for working on the reboot of Doctor Who and the BBC series Being Human. I talked with Neill about how he approached redesigning classic monsters he watched on Doctor Who as a child, why simplicity always beats spectacle when designing a new creature and what to focus on when working within a limited budget.
    Today's episode is brought to you by Faraway, a new short story collection from Amazon, CovertKit 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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.7K Ratings

1.7K Ratings

Watermark is huge ,

Always a delight

I pretty much listen to every episode, even if I don’t think I’ll be interested in the topic, because Eric always picks stories where he can find a way to dig in and make it interesting.

AdamSDoyle ,

A Genuine Gem

A perfectly considered podcast that covers a range of topics under the speculative umbrella. Always interesting and frequently relevant to current events. Insightful, to the point, and fun.

Bookwormgirl956 ,

Always excited to see it in my feed

I’m always excited to see episodes of this show in my feed. The guests are always thoughtful and the host is a great interviewer. Must listen for the modern nerd.

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