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Imaginary Worlds

Updated 3 days ago

Arts
Society & Culture
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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.To access the full archive of Imaginary Worlds episodes, go to www.stitcher.com/premium and use the promo code Imaginary.

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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.To access the full archive of Imaginary Worlds episodes, go to www.stitcher.com/premium and use the promo code Imaginary.

iTunes Ratings

1344 Ratings
Average Ratings
1201
89
29
11
14

Constantly Listening

By Ains999 - Jun 13 2019
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Hey I just wanted to say this is a great show it’s very fun, gives a great informative perspective!

Brilliant

By Confaecius - Apr 28 2019
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I love this podcast so much. I'm always curious to see what the next topic will be.

iTunes Ratings

1344 Ratings
Average Ratings
1201
89
29
11
14

Constantly Listening

By Ains999 - Jun 13 2019
Read more
Hey I just wanted to say this is a great show it’s very fun, gives a great informative perspective!

Brilliant

By Confaecius - Apr 28 2019
Read more
I love this podcast so much. I'm always curious to see what the next topic will be.

Listen to:

Cover image of Imaginary Worlds

Imaginary Worlds

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

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.To access the full archive of Imaginary Worlds episodes, go to www.stitcher.com/premium and use the promo code Imaginary.

Origin Stories

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What makes a good origin story? University of Oregon professor Benjamin Saunders explains how retelling origin stories is a way of returning to childhood wonder. The best origin stories are not a one shot deal, they transform characters like Spider-Man or Buffy – and keep transforming them. I see a psychologist, Dr. Robin Rosenberg, who specializes in helping her patients figure out their powers and their mission. And I unpack my own origin story, or at least a story that explains how I got from animation to public radio -- hoping it's not just a contrived piece of fiction.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 10 2014

15mins

Play

Rolling the Twenty Sided Dice

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SEASON 2 PREMIERE: I spent the last two months learning how to play Dungeons & Dragons. That's right, I never played as a kid. But I've been reading so many interviews with interesting creative people who credit D&D with their success, I kept wondering what I missed out on -- and whether it was too late to figure it out. Helping me on my quest are Lev Grossman (author of The Magicians trilogy), Paul La Farge, Richard Valazquez and the staff of The Brooklyn Strategist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 23 2015

31mins

Play

The Book of Dune

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Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune and its sequels tackled a lot of big themes. The books are about ecology. They're about journeys of self-realization through mind-altering substances. But religion is at the core of the series, since the main character Paul Atreides transforms from a teenage aristocrat into a messianic revolutionary leader of a nomadic desert tribe. And the real world religion that Frank Herbert borrows from the most is Islam. Khalid Baheyeldin, Salman Sayyid, and Sami Shah discuss why the book resonated deeply with them, despite the fact that Frank Herbert wasn't Muslim. And Liel Liebowitz explains why the novel even spoke to him as an Israeli.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 12 2017

26mins

Play

Ends of Evangelion

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One of the most popular anime series just became widely available when Netflix started streaming Neon Genesis Evangelion. The show ran only one year in Japan but more than 20 years later, it’s still creating ripple effects across global pop culture. Evangelion is also infamous for having several different endings -- and a fandom that has a contentious relationship with the series creator Hideaki Anno. Former Crunchyroll editor Nate Ming, Anime Feminist editor Vrai Kaiser, Aaron Clark of Eva Monkey, Washington Post reporter Gene Park, and TV writer Heather Anne Campbell discuss how Evangelion tackled important issues like anxiety, depression, masculinity and sexuality while finding time for kids to get inside giant robots and fight giant aliens.  

Sep 18 2019

35mins

Play

The Mysterious James Tiptree

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Science fiction writer James Tiptree Jr. wouldn't talk on the phone or appear in person. He developed friendships with contemporaries like Ursula le Guin and Philip K. Dick purely through letters. And he became a mentor to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro when she was an up-in-coming writer. But James Tiptree Jr. didn't really exist. He was the pen name of a 60-year old suburban housewife named Alice Sheldon. Biogrpaher Julie Philips says Sheldon's real life story was even more surreal than her alter ego. With readings by Erik Bergmann. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 11 2015

24mins

Play

Actors with Pencils

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Walt Disney pioneered the art of hand drawn animation, but it was really his top animators, “The Nine Old Men,” who were responsible for developing the art form. As they used to say, an animator is really an actor with a pencil, and The Nine Old Men were like a theatrical company hiding in plain sight behind some of the iconic characters of all time. Andreas Deja, who animated Scar and Jafar, talks about being trained by The Nine Old Men and the pressure of living up to their legacy. John Canemaker explains why hand drawn feature animation is a lost art in Hollywood, and Jerry Beck sees a renaissance of 2D animation lurking beyond the “live action” Disney remakes. 

Sep 04 2019

29mins

Play

The Booj

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Movie trailers have come a long way from the voice-of-God narrators in the ‘80s and ‘90s. So why do the big budget sci-fi fantasy trailers still all feel the same? This week, we're featuring a fun episode from the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz, where their host Dallas Taylor talks with James Deaville about the history of trailers. Plus, YouTuber Craven Moorhaus breaks down the elements of blockbuster trailers to the point where you’ll never watch trailers the same way again.

Aug 21 2019

24mins

Play

The Year Without a Summer

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June 16, 2016 is the 200th anniversary of the night Mary Shelley began to write, "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus." Scholars have long speculated what Frankenstein can tell us about scientific hubris or "playing God." But Professors Gillen D'Arcy Wood and Ron Broglio think the book has just as much to say about how we adapt to "acts of God." In other words, Frankenstein was imagined in a year when the Earth's climate was thrown off balance and the weather was wildly unpredictable. Sound familiar? With biographer Charlotte Gordon and readings by Lily Dorment.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 15 2016

17mins

Play

Beyond the Iron Curtain

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Comrades! The USSR pioneered the craft of science fiction long before the decadent West. This is not an opinion - this is a scientific fact. Noted intellectuals Anindita Banerjee, Sibelan Forrester, Asif Siddiqi, Gregory Afinogenov and the author's father Steven Molinsky discuss how the glorious Soviet people brought the Revolution to Mars, and used science fiction such as Aelita and Solaris to explore existential questions. Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live forever in outer space!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 23 2017

26mins

Play

Fan Fiction (Don't Judge)

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Sci-fi and fantasy have always been a big part of fan fiction, but fan fiction hasn't always gotten respect in return. My former colleague at WNYC Stephanie Billman guides me through the landscape of fan fiction, debunking many of my preconceptions. We talk with Francesca Coppa, author of The Fanfiction Reader and one of the creators of the fan fic site Archive of Our Own. Britta Lundin, a writer on the CW's Riverdale, explains why writing fan fiction was a great way to train for writing TV. And fan fiction writer Savannah Stoehr explains why Kirk/Spock is the great love story of our time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 02 2017

28mins

Play

My So Called Evil Plan

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Villains are having a moment. They’re getting their own movies. They’re inspiring hashtags that say they’re right. And they don’t want to take over the world. They want to save it -- at a very high cost. I talk with writers and podcasters Charles Pulliam-Moore, JR Forasteros and Bruce Leslie about woke villains, and what their popularity says about our frustrations in the real world. Part 1 of 2. 

Nov 27 2019

22mins

Play

Under a Red Moon

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Ronald D. Moore is probably best known for rebooting the TV show Battlestar Galactica as a gritty political commentary in the early 2000s. His latest show For All Mankind on AppleTV Plus imagines what if the Soviet Union had beaten the U.S. in the space race and planted the hammer and sickle flag on the moon. But Moore spins that nightmare scenario into a positive alternative history where a newly invigorated space race not only gives NASA the budget it wanted in the 1970s, but forces the agency to be far more inclusive than it actually was in real history. 

Nov 14 2019

34mins

Play

From Outer Space

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Think of an alien abduction. You know the story: humanoid creatures descend on people in a rural area, bring them on board their spacecraft for medical experiments, and the victims’ memories are wiped out until they’re brought back by hypnosis. But that narrative was largely unknown until Betty and Barney Hill went public about their alien abduction in the 1960s. Betty Hill’s niece, author Kathleen Marden, tells the story of how fame was just as traumatic to her aunt and uncle as the alien encounter. And professors Susan Lepselter, Chris Bader, Joseph O. Baker and Stephanie Kelley-Romano explain how the story of the Hills changed UFO subculture and science fiction. 

Oct 30 2019

34mins

Play

Talking to the Dead

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Jason Suran wants you to know he can’t talk to the dead. Then he will convince you that he can. In Suran’s show, The Other Side, he recreates a theatrical type of séance that departed American culture almost a century ago. And David Jaher, author of The Witch of Lime Street, discusses how séances became all the rage in the 1920s, until Harry Houdini made it his life’s mission to debunk them. But Houdini may have met his match in a Boston socialite who performed supernatural feats that he couldn't explain.

https://www.jasonsuran.com/seance

http://davidjaher.com/

Oct 16 2019

29mins

Play

Scoring Godzilla

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We all know Godzilla’s iconic roar, but the musician who scored Godzilla's rampages is not as well known. The composer Akira Ifukube’s collaboration with the director Ishiro Honda is fascinating because the two men had different ideas of what Godzilla represented. Honda filmed Godzilla as a monster, but Ifukube saw Godzilla as an anti-hero. Erik Homenick, John DeSentis, and Reiko Yamada explain how this artistic conversation between the music and the visuals added layers of depth that helped turn a monster into an icon. 

Oct 02 2019

25mins

Play

Ends of Evangelion

Podcast cover
Read more

One of the most popular anime series just became widely available when Netflix started streaming Neon Genesis Evangelion. The show ran only one year in Japan but more than 20 years later, it’s still creating ripple effects across global pop culture. Evangelion is also infamous for having several different endings -- and a fandom that has a contentious relationship with the series creator Hideaki Anno. Former Crunchyroll editor Nate Ming, Anime Feminist editor Vrai Kaiser, Aaron Clark of Eva Monkey, Washington Post reporter Gene Park, and TV writer Heather Anne Campbell discuss how Evangelion tackled important issues like anxiety, depression, masculinity and sexuality while finding time for kids to get inside giant robots and fight giant aliens.  

Sep 18 2019

35mins

Play

Actors with Pencils

Podcast cover
Read more

Walt Disney pioneered the art of hand drawn animation, but it was really his top animators, “The Nine Old Men,” who were responsible for developing the art form. As they used to say, an animator is really an actor with a pencil, and The Nine Old Men were like a theatrical company hiding in plain sight behind some of the iconic characters of all time. Andreas Deja, who animated Scar and Jafar, talks about being trained by The Nine Old Men and the pressure of living up to their legacy. John Canemaker explains why hand drawn feature animation is a lost art in Hollywood, and Jerry Beck sees a renaissance of 2D animation lurking beyond the “live action” Disney remakes. 

Sep 04 2019

29mins

Play

The Booj

Podcast cover
Read more

Movie trailers have come a long way from the voice-of-God narrators in the ‘80s and ‘90s. So why do the big budget sci-fi fantasy trailers still all feel the same? This week, we're featuring a fun episode from the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz, where their host Dallas Taylor talks with James Deaville about the history of trailers. Plus, YouTuber Craven Moorhaus breaks down the elements of blockbuster trailers to the point where you’ll never watch trailers the same way again.

Aug 21 2019

24mins

Play

Superheroes in the Ring

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Masks, capes, secret identities – Mexican wrestling (aka Lucha Libre) has a lot in common with the superhero genre. But trying to be a superhero in real life has its own set of challenges. I visit two Lucha Libre matches in New York City and talk with wrestlers (aka luchadors) about the joy of being famous and anonymous at the same time. Photographer Lourdes Grobet reveals how she went behind-the-scenes with luchadors without exposing their identities, and professor Heather Levi reveals the unusual origin of the iconic Lucha Libre mask. Special thanks to Nueva Era Lucha Productions and The Bronx Wrestling Federation.

Aug 07 2019

29mins

Play

Dirk Maggs

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I talked with legendary audio drama producer Dirk Maggs for an episode about the history of radio dramas last year-- but a lot of great material ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. So I’m presenting a full version of our conversation, where we discuss how he brought major franchises like Batman, Alien and The X-Files to life with audio drama, and how he brought The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy back to radio. He also reveals a few secrets of audio production on how to trick the brain into seeing what’s not there. 

Jul 25 2019

30mins

Play

The Undertaker

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He’s undead. He’s shot lightening out of his hands. He’s thrown his enemies into coffins. He's one of the most popular pro-wrestlers of all time. But Mark Calaway’s character The Undertaker is also an anachronism from a different era of wrestling. Today WWE performers rely more on their real life personalities than invented personas, and yet The Undertaker has continued his supernatural reign in the ring for nearly three decades. Journalist Chad Dundas and professors Charles Westmoreland of Delta State and Christopher Stacey of LSU Alexandria put The Undertaker’s remarkable career in the context of “sports entertainment,” which often doesn’t get enough respect as sports or entertainment. 

Here's a link to the graphic novel Chad Dundas wrote about the origin of The Undertaker:

https://www.amazon.com/WWE-Original-Graphic-Novel-Undertaker/dp/1684152305

Jul 11 2019

32mins

Play

Hero Props vs. Fake Props

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Imagine walking into your living room, and alongside your couch is a prop from one of your favorite childhood movies. Sure, it was costly but this is a piece of pop culture history, and it's right here in your home. Now imagine you found out that prop was a fake. I talk with prop collectors Tiana Armstrong of Hero Prop, Wesley Cannon of Hollywood History Online, prop appraiser Laura Woolley of Antiques Roadshow, prop designer Ross MacDonald, and Museum of Pop Culture curator Jacob McMurray about the dark web of swindlers and forgers who prey on sci-fi fantasy fans. 

Jun 26 2019

29mins

Play

Nerdlesque

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Burlesque has merged with geek culture to form nerdlesque – where characters from Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who and other fantasy franchises strip down to pasties and g-strings. Nerdlesque is also a form of storytelling, similar to fanfiction or cosplay in the way it encompasses a diverse range of fans, and re-imagines the power dynamics of the original stories. We talk with pioneering nerdlesque performers Fem Appeal and Nasty Canasta, and we get a back stage tour of The Empire Strips Back with Russall Beattie, Lisa Toyer and Kael Murray. Needless to say, this episode contains adult content with adult language. 

Jun 12 2019

26mins

Play

Rod Serling's Key of Imagination

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Witness if you will a writer: Rod Serling. This is the story of a man with a vision -- a vision of what television could be if only men ceased to operate out of fear and greed. But Rod Serling has a plan. He will use the camouflage of monsters, both real and imagined, to reveal what cannot be said about society, and what Mr. Serling himself cannot say about his own fears and regrets. And those monsters dwell in a state of mind called The Twilight Zone. The cast of characters: Nicholas Parisi, author of “Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination,” Amy Boyle Johnston, author of “Unknown Serling: An Episodic History vol. 1,” and Mike Pipher, archivist of the Rod Serling archive at The Bundy Museum of History and Art in Binghamton, NY. Also a recommendation: “As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling,” by Anne Serling. 

Apr 17 2019

35mins

Play

Imaginary Deaths

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Have you ever mourned the loss of a fictional character? It can be tough to get over, and difficult to convince people not caught up in that fictional world that your sense of mourning is valid. I talk with Tim Burke, Dawn Fancher, Maria Clara Santarosa, Megan Knox, Stephanie Billman, Leigh Foster and Daniel Skorka about how they've grieved the loss of their favorite characters from video games, novels, TV shows and movies. Plus Professor Jennifer Barnes explains the psychology behind why we feel a deep connection to make believe people. To hear more of Leigh Foster discussing the death of Tara and other LGBT characters on her podcast: https://lezhangoutpod.com/blog/2018/4/2/episode-15-bury-your-gaysTo watch Jennifer Barnes give a TEDx Talk on parasocial relationships: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22yoaiLYb7MLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 12 2018

28mins

Play

Fan Fiction (Don't Judge)

Podcast cover
Read more
Sci-fi and fantasy have always been a big part of fan fiction, but fan fiction hasn't always gotten respect in return. My former colleague at WNYC Stephanie Billman guides me through the landscape of fan fiction, debunking many of my preconceptions. We talk with Francesca Coppa, author of The Fanfiction Reader and one of the creators of the fan fic site Archive of Our Own. Britta Lundin, a writer on the CW's Riverdale, explains why writing fan fiction was a great way to train for writing TV. And fan fiction writer Savannah Stoehr explains why Kirk/Spock is the great love story of our time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 02 2017

28mins

Play

The Book of Dune

Podcast cover
Read more
Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune and its sequels tackled a lot of big themes. The books are about ecology. They're about journeys of self-realization through mind-altering substances. But religion is at the core of the series, since the main character Paul Atreides transforms from a teenage aristocrat into a messianic revolutionary leader of a nomadic desert tribe. And the real world religion that Frank Herbert borrows from the most is Islam. Khalid Baheyeldin, Salman Sayyid, and Sami Shah discuss why the book resonated deeply with them, despite the fact that Frank Herbert wasn't Muslim. And Liel Liebowitz explains why the novel even spoke to him as an Israeli.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 12 2017

26mins

Play

Beyond the Iron Curtain

Podcast cover
Read more
Comrades! The USSR pioneered the craft of science fiction long before the decadent West. This is not an opinion - this is a scientific fact. Noted intellectuals Anindita Banerjee, Sibelan Forrester, Asif Siddiqi, Gregory Afinogenov and the author's father Steven Molinsky discuss how the glorious Soviet people brought the Revolution to Mars, and used science fiction such as Aelita and Solaris to explore existential questions. Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live forever in outer space!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 23 2017

26mins

Play

28 Days of Black Cosplay

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Cosplay has gotten huge in the age of social media, but when websites feature their ComicCon slides shows, they often don't reflect the true diversity of the fans. So black Cosplayers created their own hashtag #28DaysofBlackCosplay (although it was #29DaysofBlackCosplay on the leap year.) Harry and Gina Crosland of Pop Culture Uncovered talk about why they like putting an original spins on classic characters. Cosplayers Suqi and Brittnay N. Williams of the site Black Nerd Problems talk about finding their community, and having to call out Cosplayers who don't understand why blackface shouldn't be part of any costume. Special thanks to Monica Hunasikatti.blacknerdproblems.com popcultureuncovered.cominstagram.com/BrittanyActs instagram.com/mssuqiyomifacebook.com/BishopCosplay Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 22 2017

20mins

Play

The Year Without a Summer

Podcast cover
Read more
June 16, 2016 is the 200th anniversary of the night Mary Shelley began to write, "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus." Scholars have long speculated what Frankenstein can tell us about scientific hubris or "playing God." But Professors Gillen D'Arcy Wood and Ron Broglio think the book has just as much to say about how we adapt to "acts of God." In other words, Frankenstein was imagined in a year when the Earth's climate was thrown off balance and the weather was wildly unpredictable. Sound familiar? With biographer Charlotte Gordon and readings by Lily Dorment.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 15 2016

17mins

Play