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Imaginary Worlds

Arts • Society-and-culture • Tv-and-film

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, exploringRead more

Popular episodes

Art of the Brick

Nov 25 • 30:56

Nathan Sawaya is one of the best-known LEGO Master Builders – people who can recreate just about anything out of LEGO. While he's worked with major franchises like DC, creating life sized superheroes, he's also an artist who makes original sculptures out of LEGO, including human figures that seem to be grappling with existential angst. I talk with Nathan about how making t...

Re-Rolling Role Playing Games

Nov 11 • 31:15

The world of tabletop role-playing games is much broader than Dungeons & Dragons, and there’s been a boom of DIY tabletop RPGs in the last decade. But as new players are coming on to the scene, they’re asking new questions about what defines a game, and what might be problematic about classic tabletop RPGs. Game master Timm Woods explains how new game systems are embracing...

Stage Fright

Oct 28 • 29:45

Many elements of modern horror movies and TV shows came from an unlikely source, a theater in Paris called The Grand Guignol. Beginning in the late 19th century, The Grand Guignol was inventing staples of the horror genre as they discovered how to scare audiences, and why people want to be scared. I talk with University of East Anglia professor and author Richard Hand and ...

The Ecology of Dune

Oct 14 • 32:03

Frank Herbert’s Dune has been hailed as a pioneer of environmental science fiction, where the Fremen on the planet of Arakkis, have had to adapt to extreme weather conditions through technology and culture. I talk with Ian Schoenherr, the son of illustrator John Schoenherr, about how his father and Frank Herbert bonded over their love of nature. Although Veronika Kratz exp...

Office Space

Sep 30 • 30:21

Kasra Farahani has done concept art on a lot of big sci-fi fantasy films, and this year he took on his biggest job yet as the production designer for the Disney+ series Loki. Kasra’s sets became fan favorites, especially the way he depicted the sprawling intergalactic bureaucracy of the Time Variance Authority, or TVA. I talk with Kasra about how he got started in the indu...

Playing Blind

Sep 16 • 31:32

Video games are an inherently visual medium that traditionally haven’t been very accessible to blind people. But there are plenty of blind players who enjoy games and want to lower the barriers to entry. I talk with blind accessibility advocates Liam Erven, Brandon Cole and Aaron Baker about how sound design can guide blind players through virtual worlds. In Aaron’s case, ...

Cartoonish Gender

Sep 2 • 32:09

Queer representation in children’s cartoons has never been better, but the road to get here has been fraught. I talk with podcaster Dawn H and journalist Sara Century about how the first type of queer representation they saw in cartoons came from Sailor Moon – or at least a highly edited and strangely dubbed English-language version that tried to scrub away all the queer c...

The Legend of Musashi

Aug 19 • 31:46

An entire subgenre of samurai films, shows, manga, anime and games can be traced back to one person – a real life samurai named Miyamoto Musashi. He was not the first samurai to achieve fame, but his remarkable career of undefeated duals, and his unconventional style of fighting cemented Musashi’s legacy in the popular imagination for centuries. Chie Kutsuwada and Sean Mic...

Giving Imaginary Advice

Aug 5 • 38:41

If you’ve ever searched for my podcast, you probably came across a show with a similar title: Imaginary Advice. I quickly became a fan of Imaginary Advice because the host Ross Sutherland walks the line between fiction and reality, often playing a fictional version of himself doing slightly fantastical things. I talked with Ross about his creative process, and we hear an e...

Harley Quinn (Special Edition)

Jul 22 • 34:51

Every year, I like to play a full-length version of an interview from a previous episode where a lot of great material ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. In 2019, I interviewed the comic book creators Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner about their three-year run on the Harley Quinn comic book series because the way they reinvented the character influenced her li...

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