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.


222 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Dune was a pioneer in environmental science fiction, but Frank Herbert's own environmentalism is often misunderstood.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 13, 2021
  • Length: 27:57
  • Purchases: 1
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I talk with Loki’s production designer Kasra Farahani about why the intergalactic bureaucracy of time keepers resonated with so many viewers, and w...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Sep 29, 2021
  • Length: 27:21
  • Purchases: 1
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Blind video game players are challenging conventional ideas on how this very visual medium can be redesigned to be accessible to everyone.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Sep 15, 2021
  • Length: 28:31
  • Purchases: 1
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Queer representation in children’s entertainment has never been better, but the road to get here has been fraught. We look at how Sailor Moon broke...

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  • Added: Sep 01, 2021
  • Length: 29:08
  • Purchases: 1
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How did a real-life samurai who lived nearly 400 years ago inspire a genre of films, shows, manga, anime, games, and even Star Wars characters?

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  • Added: Aug 18, 2021
  • Length: 28:49
  • Purchases: 1
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Imaginary Worlds shares a lot in common with the podcast Imaginary Advice. We’re both interested in the line between fiction and reality, but the h...

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  • Added: Aug 04, 2021
  • Length: 35:27
  • Purchases: 1
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When I talked with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner in 2019 about their Harley Quinn comics, I had no idea how much their take on the character wo...

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  • Added: Jul 21, 2021
  • Length: 31:47
  • Purchases: 1
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Whenever I watch a superhero story, I always wonder how well informed the public are about the threats to their world, and the heroes who save the ...

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  • Added: Jul 07, 2021
  • Length: 32:06
  • Purchases: 1
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I talk with game mogul and author Rizwan Virk about whether we are actually living in a giant computer simulation, and what we think of as reality ...

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  • Added: Jun 23, 2021
  • Length: 31:04
  • Purchases: 1
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Sci-fi and fantasy genres have come a long way from their pulpy origins to become respectable genres. But sometimes you want to see something aweso...

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  • Added: Jun 09, 2021
  • Length: 37:16
  • Purchases: 1
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There are so many reasons why Disco Elysium should not have become an award-winning video game and worldwide hit, and yet many game critics believe...

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  • Added: May 26, 2021
  • Length: 29:51
  • Purchases: 1
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Andy Weir is best known for writing very scientifically accurate books like The Martian. But in his latest book, Project Hail Mary, he ventured bey...

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  • Added: May 12, 2021
  • Length: 26:57
  • Purchases: 1
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Speculative fiction writers have been influenced by Buddhism for so long, many fans don’t realize how many sci-fi characters and tropes have origin...

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  • Added: Apr 28, 2021
  • Length: 26:52
  • Purchases: 1
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Novelist Becky Chambers talks about about why she’s ending her beloved and popular Wayfarer series, and what comes next.

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  • Added: Apr 14, 2021
  • Length: 34:44
  • Purchases: 1
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Jazz and science fiction may seem to be in parallel worlds, but the musician Sun Ra saw outer space and extraterrestrial life as a way to explore i...

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  • Added: Mar 31, 2021
  • Length: 27:31
  • Purchases: 1
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Tron is often dismissed as an outdated popcorn movie, but it was quite influential, even prophetic. I talk with Tron’s director Steven Lisberger ab...

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  • Added: Mar 03, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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The conventional wisdom is that the brothers Grimm collected their fairy tale tales orally from the common folk and embraced the darkest elements o...

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  • Added: Feb 17, 2021
  • Length: 28:31
  • Purchases: 1
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In the 1950s and ‘60s, the vibrating sound of the Theremin instrument became synonymous with sci-fi to the point where the Theremin became a genre ...

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  • Added: Feb 03, 2021
  • Length: 26:43
  • Purchases: 1
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Through the prism of Betty Boop, we look at how the Hays Code censorship board of the 1930s is still influencing the way Hollywood tells stories.

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  • Added: Jan 20, 2021
  • Length: 29:09
  • Purchases: 1
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Camelot probably never existed. So why have writers over the centuries tried to make us believe that for one brief shining moment, there was a Came...

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  • Added: Jan 06, 2021
  • Length: 27:29
  • Purchases: 1