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Imaginary Worlds

Eric Molinsky

339
Followers
1.7K
Plays
Imaginary Worlds

Imaginary Worlds

Eric Molinsky

339
Followers
1.7K
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

Ahsoka Tano - A New Hope

EIf you’re the type of Star Wars fan who knows the original trilogy by heart but hasn’t seen much else, Ahsoka Tano may be the most beloved Star Wars character you’ve never heard of. In the animated series Clone Wars, she was Anakin Skywalker’s padawan who became a legendary Jedi in her own right. And if the Internet rumors are true, she will make her live action debut played by Rosario Dawson in season 2 of The Mandalorian. I talk with entertainment journalists Lauren Davis and Amy Richau about how Ahsoka captured the imagination of Star Wars fans, and why she might be important to the future of the franchise. McKenna Fellows takes us into the world of Ahsoka cosplay, and designer Rachel Roth discusses why she created a couture dress based on Ahsoka’s costume. See McKenna Fellows' cosplay of Ahsoka See Rachel Roth's couture Ahsoka dress at the Her Universe Fashion Show Today's episode is brought to you by MasterClass and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have p...

32 min6 d ago
Comments
Ahsoka Tano - A New Hope

Mission to Zyxx

EMission to Zyxx is one of my favorite and highly bingeable podcasts. It’s a sci-fi audio drama (although very much a comedy) about a ragtag crew of space adventurers ranging from humans to aliens to robots. The actors are all improvisers. Every story and every line of dialogue is made up on the spot, but when layered with stereo soundscapes and effects, it sounds like they are worldbuilding on the fly. The show has made me LOL many times with its sly references to established sci-fi franchises, and I’m happy to share it with you. Here is the Mission to Zyxx site for Episode 202: The New Norm [ft. Dru Johnston] with the cast list and other details. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 min2 w ago
Comments
Mission to Zyxx

Doug Jones: Shapeshifter

You've probably seen Doug Jones many times without realizing it because he is best known as a creature performer. You may have been moved by his performance as Saru in Star Trek: Discovery, captivated by his portrayal of The Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water or amazed by his dual roles as The Faun and The Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth. He is the Lon Chaney or Boris Karloff of our time. We talk with Doug Jones about how he got started, his approach to embodying an incredible array of non-human characters, and how he and director Guillermo del Toro developed a shorthand style of communication over six films. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31 minAUG 20
Comments
Doug Jones: Shapeshifter

Dumbledore's Army (Updated)

In 2016, I put out an episode about how JK Rowling’s themes in the Harry Potter series inspired a generation of progressive activists including Jackson Bird, who was the spokesperson for the Harry Potter Alliance. Jackson is also trans. Recently, JK Rowling has alienated many of her fans and supporters with her views on transgender rights. I catch up with Jackson Bird to discuss how he’s handling the cognitive dissonance of being inspired by the messages in the Harry Potter books while feeling profound disappointment in JK Rowling. Jackson Bird’s Op-Ed response to JK Rowling in The New York Times Responding to JK Rowlings Essay | Is It Anti-Trans? by Jamie Raines and Shaaba Harry Potter Saved My Life. J.K. Rowling Is Now Endangering Trans People Like Me by Kacen Callender Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

43 minAUG 6
Comments
Dumbledore's Army (Updated)

Inverting Lovecraft

EThe works of H. P. Lovecraft have inspired a number of Black creators and other writers of color, from the new HBO series Lovecraft Country to the novella The Ballad of Black Tom. What’s so surprising about Lovecraft’s newfound relevance is that he was exceptionally racist, and racism was folded into his stories. In the era of cancel culture, there are few people more apt to be cancelled than Lovecraft. So why are so many writers, filmmakers, and even game designers of color using Lovecraft’s mythology to illustrate the experience of being a marginalized person? I talk with novelist Victor LaValle, novelist Premee Mohamed, Michigan State University professor Kinitra Brooks, and UCR Irvine professor and illustrator John Jennings about how to separate a bigoted writer from his brilliant mythology. Also featuring readings by actor Varick Boyd. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle: Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed Box of Bones by John Jennings and Ayize Jama Everett Learn mo...

38 minJUL 23
Comments
Inverting Lovecraft

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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34 minJUL 9
Comments
Once and Future Comic Con

Making Up Creatures

EIf 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32 minJUN 25
Comments
Making Up Creatures

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 Learn more about your ad c...

33 minJUN 11
Comments
Larping in Place

Time Travel Therapy

ETime 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 Learn more about your ad choices. ...

33 minMAY 28
Comments
Time Travel Therapy

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31 minMAY 14
Comments
The Curse of The Curse

Latest Episodes

Ahsoka Tano - A New Hope

EIf you’re the type of Star Wars fan who knows the original trilogy by heart but hasn’t seen much else, Ahsoka Tano may be the most beloved Star Wars character you’ve never heard of. In the animated series Clone Wars, she was Anakin Skywalker’s padawan who became a legendary Jedi in her own right. And if the Internet rumors are true, she will make her live action debut played by Rosario Dawson in season 2 of The Mandalorian. I talk with entertainment journalists Lauren Davis and Amy Richau about how Ahsoka captured the imagination of Star Wars fans, and why she might be important to the future of the franchise. McKenna Fellows takes us into the world of Ahsoka cosplay, and designer Rachel Roth discusses why she created a couture dress based on Ahsoka’s costume. See McKenna Fellows' cosplay of Ahsoka See Rachel Roth's couture Ahsoka dress at the Her Universe Fashion Show Today's episode is brought to you by MasterClass and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have p...

32 min6 d ago
Comments
Ahsoka Tano - A New Hope

Mission to Zyxx

EMission to Zyxx is one of my favorite and highly bingeable podcasts. It’s a sci-fi audio drama (although very much a comedy) about a ragtag crew of space adventurers ranging from humans to aliens to robots. The actors are all improvisers. Every story and every line of dialogue is made up on the spot, but when layered with stereo soundscapes and effects, it sounds like they are worldbuilding on the fly. The show has made me LOL many times with its sly references to established sci-fi franchises, and I’m happy to share it with you. Here is the Mission to Zyxx site for Episode 202: The New Norm [ft. Dru Johnston] with the cast list and other details. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 min2 w ago
Comments
Mission to Zyxx

Doug Jones: Shapeshifter

You've probably seen Doug Jones many times without realizing it because he is best known as a creature performer. You may have been moved by his performance as Saru in Star Trek: Discovery, captivated by his portrayal of The Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water or amazed by his dual roles as The Faun and The Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth. He is the Lon Chaney or Boris Karloff of our time. We talk with Doug Jones about how he got started, his approach to embodying an incredible array of non-human characters, and how he and director Guillermo del Toro developed a shorthand style of communication over six films. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31 minAUG 20
Comments
Doug Jones: Shapeshifter

Dumbledore's Army (Updated)

In 2016, I put out an episode about how JK Rowling’s themes in the Harry Potter series inspired a generation of progressive activists including Jackson Bird, who was the spokesperson for the Harry Potter Alliance. Jackson is also trans. Recently, JK Rowling has alienated many of her fans and supporters with her views on transgender rights. I catch up with Jackson Bird to discuss how he’s handling the cognitive dissonance of being inspired by the messages in the Harry Potter books while feeling profound disappointment in JK Rowling. Jackson Bird’s Op-Ed response to JK Rowling in The New York Times Responding to JK Rowlings Essay | Is It Anti-Trans? by Jamie Raines and Shaaba Harry Potter Saved My Life. J.K. Rowling Is Now Endangering Trans People Like Me by Kacen Callender Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

43 minAUG 6
Comments
Dumbledore's Army (Updated)

Inverting Lovecraft

EThe works of H. P. Lovecraft have inspired a number of Black creators and other writers of color, from the new HBO series Lovecraft Country to the novella The Ballad of Black Tom. What’s so surprising about Lovecraft’s newfound relevance is that he was exceptionally racist, and racism was folded into his stories. In the era of cancel culture, there are few people more apt to be cancelled than Lovecraft. So why are so many writers, filmmakers, and even game designers of color using Lovecraft’s mythology to illustrate the experience of being a marginalized person? I talk with novelist Victor LaValle, novelist Premee Mohamed, Michigan State University professor Kinitra Brooks, and UCR Irvine professor and illustrator John Jennings about how to separate a bigoted writer from his brilliant mythology. Also featuring readings by actor Varick Boyd. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle: Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed Box of Bones by John Jennings and Ayize Jama Everett Learn mo...

38 minJUL 23
Comments
Inverting Lovecraft

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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34 minJUL 9
Comments
Once and Future Comic Con

Making Up Creatures

EIf 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32 minJUN 25
Comments
Making Up Creatures

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 Learn more about your ad c...

33 minJUN 11
Comments
Larping in Place

Time Travel Therapy

ETime 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 Learn more about your ad choices. ...

33 minMAY 28
Comments
Time Travel Therapy

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31 minMAY 14
Comments
The Curse of The Curse
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