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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Neill Gorton, creature designer for Doctor Who and Being Human, talks about the craft of making up monsters.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Dec 23, 2020
  • Length: 25:49
  • Purchases: 1
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This was a very strange year, and it deserves an unconventional recap. We look at the monsters of the past which suddenly felt relevant again from ...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Dec 09, 2020
  • Length: 28:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Fan films exist in a legal gray area between free speech and copyright infringement. But the courts favor fan films that are “transformative,” whic...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Nov 23, 2020
  • Length: 27:08
  • Purchases: 1
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We can’t get universal translators through The Enterprise or the TARDIS, so we have to rely on human translators. Of course, something is always lo...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Nov 11, 2020
  • Length: 30:38
  • Purchases: 1
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When Cowboy Bebop debuted on Cartoon Network in 2001, many of the first fans in the U.S. were kids. And it took them decades to finally understand ...

Bought by WCNY and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 28, 2020
  • Length: 32:07
  • Purchases: 2
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At a time when we’re reassessing the role of law enforcement in the real world, is it time to re-asses the role of vigilante super-cops in fantasy ...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 14, 2020
  • Length: 28:30
  • Purchases: 1
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Can fantasy worlds teach us to recognize and combat encroaching fascism?

Bought by KVSC, KZYX, and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Sep 30, 2020
  • Length: 32:39
  • Purchases: 3
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If 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 War...

Bought by KVSC and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Sep 16, 2020
  • Length: 28:53
  • Purchases: 2
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Doug Jones is one of the most widely seen actors that many people don’t know they’ve seen, thanks to makeup artists and his incredible versatility...

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  • Added: Aug 19, 2020
  • Length: 28:55
  • Purchases: 1
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In this week’s episode, I talk with Jackson Bird (formally of The Harry Potter Alliance) about how transgender fans of Harry Potter can still find ...

  • Added: Aug 05, 2020
  • Length: 40:40
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H.P. Lovecraft was exceptionally racist. Why are so many creators of color finding that his work can be great fodder to describe the experience of ...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jul 22, 2020
  • Length: 34:48
  • Purchases: 1
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For the first time in 50 years, San Diego Comic Con was cancelled – until it was brought back to life online. But can a virtual SDCC still feel lik...

Bought by WCNY, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, and KVSC


  • Added: Jul 08, 2020
  • Length: 31:01
  • Purchases: 3
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If we ever make contact with aliens, they probably won’t look like humans with pointy ears or bumpy noses, but as creature design is more about com...

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  • Added: Jun 24, 2020
  • Length: 29:09
  • Purchases: 1
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Live theater has been shut down across the country, but live action role play (a.k.a. larp) is finding new ways to thrive in digital spaces with im...

  • Added: Jun 10, 2020
  • Length: 29:49
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People often criticize time travel for the logical inconsistencies, but what about the emotional logic these narratives? Are they psychologically u...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: May 27, 2020
  • Length: 29:47
  • Purchases: 1
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There are countless lists of horror films that were allegedly cursed like The Exorcist and Poltergeist. But the myth of the curse became its own ty...

Bought by KVSC and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: May 13, 2020
  • Length: 28:14
  • Purchases: 2
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We asked our listeners to tell us about their favorite childhood toys that are providing them with a sense of comfort and security right now. Their...

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  • Added: Apr 29, 2020
  • Length: 32:48
  • Purchases: 3
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How the Solarpunk movement of writers and artists are imagining an eco-sci-fi future in the hopes that people will be inspired to create that futur...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Apr 15, 2020
  • Length: 28:01
  • Purchases: 1
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World of Warcraft gamers have been feeling déjà vu because the COVID-19 pandemic has eerie similarities to a computer virus that took over their ga...

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  • Added: Apr 01, 2020
  • Length: 25:50
  • Purchases: 1
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What do Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter and Doctor Who have in common? In the last few years, they’ve all seen their backstories changed radical...

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  • Added: Mar 18, 2020
  • Length: 30:12
  • Purchases: 1