Imaginary Worlds

Series produced by Eric Molinsky

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Imaginary Worlds sounds like what would happen if NPR went to ComicCon and decided that’s all they ever wanted to cover.

Host Eric Molinsky spent over a decade working as a public radio reporter and producer, and he uses those skills to create thoughtful, sound-rich episodes about science fiction, fantasy, and other genres of speculative fiction. Every other week, he talks with comic book artists, game designers, novelists, screenwriters, filmmakers, and fans about how they craft their worlds, why we suspend our disbelief, and what happens if the spell is broken. Imaginary worlds may be set on distant planets or parallel dimensions, but they are crafted here on Earth and they’re always about us and our lived experiences.


225 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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I talk with writers and producers about Star Trek Strange New Worlds, and the challenge of playing within an established canon.

Bought by RadioFreePalmer and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jul 20, 2022
  • Length: 31:13
  • Purchases: 2
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This week, I talk with artist Cliff Chiang and writer Stephany Folsom about the new show Paper Girls, based on the beloved comic book series. And I...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Aug 03, 2022
  • Length: 25:22
  • Purchases: 1
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We kick off a two-part series on mentorships by looking at superheroes and their protégées. And I got to talk with writer Matt Fraction about his g...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Aug 17, 2022
  • Length: 26:51
  • Purchases: 1
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In part 2 of our mini-series on mentorships, we travel to a galaxy far, far away, and look at how the philosophies of the Jedi and the Sith play ou...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Aug 31, 2022
  • Length: 28:39
  • Purchases: 1
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I talk with authors P. Djeli Clark, Nisi Shawl and Zen Cho about how they use magic and fantasy to reimagine the legacy of imperialism and colonial...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Sep 14, 2022
  • Length: 28:49
  • Purchases: 1
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I talk with listeners about their favorite depictions of Death as a character in fantasy worlds from Sandman to Discworld to Dead Like Me, and why ...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Sep 28, 2022
  • Length: 37:18
  • Purchases: 1
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This week, we delve into the booming world of VTubers who use motion capture technology to appear as animated characters that can interact with the...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 12, 2022
  • Length: 27:36
  • Purchases: 1
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I talk with composer Jeff Russo about his approach to scoring shows like Star Trek Discovery, The Umbrella Academy, and For All Mankind, and why it...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 26, 2022
  • Length: 28:52
  • Purchases: 2
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We look at the artistic movement of indigenous futurism – how it’s giving voices to indigenous creators and why telling stories about werewolves, s...

Bought by Prairie Public, KALW, and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Nov 09, 2022
  • Length: 31:38
  • Purchases: 3
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We look at the subgenre of analog horror, where something sinister might be lurking in the horizontal lines and vertical holds of those old VHS tapes.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Dec 07, 2022
  • Length: 33:11
  • Purchases: 1
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We revisit my 2016 episode about Octavia Butler in honor of the 75th anniversary of her birth. And we hear a new reading from one of Butler’s class...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Dec 21, 2022
  • Length: 35:18
  • Purchases: 1
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What happens to a town or a city when you layer a fantasy story on top of it? We look at how the tourism of fandom is changing places in the real w...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jan 04, 2023
  • Length: 38:01
  • Purchases: 1
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What if Jay Gatsby literally sold his soul to get that giant mansion? What if Hollywood studios hired changelings who could actually turn into thei...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jan 18, 2023
  • Length: 34:11
  • Purchases: 1
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The exploitation of VFX artists and the development of AI image generation may seem like separate stories, but they’re both about how the careers o...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Feb 01, 2023
  • Length: 31:29
  • Purchases: 1
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As we near the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, I check in with writers I spoke with last year and learn that speculative fiction is thr...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Feb 15, 2023
  • Length: 34:54
  • Purchases: 1
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The first big sci-fi alternate reality games on The Internet was meant to be a joke. It got a lot darker and weirder than anyone anticipated.

  • Added: Mar 01, 2023
  • Length: 47:23
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For 100 years, Weird Tales magazine struggled to keep publishing issues, if it was publishing at all. But now Weird Tales is seen as the Big Bang o...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Mar 15, 2023
  • Length: 31:20
  • Purchases: 1
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Margaret Cavendish wrote her landmark text The Blazing World as a philosophical treatise and a response to the science of her day. She had no idea ...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Mar 29, 2023
  • Length: 32:16
  • Purchases: 1
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Discworld rests on the backs of four giant elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle which is traveling through space. But the fantasy of Di...

  • Added: Apr 12, 2023
  • Length: 38:28
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Caring for the environment has been a consistent theme throughout Miyazaki’s films. But what exactly has he been saying for the last four decades a...

  • Added: Apr 26, 2023
  • Length: 37:57