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.


177 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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In the ‘90s, Mystery Science Theater 3000 helped define a new kind of pop culture humor. But as the show returns, I ask creator Joel Hodgson whethe...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: May 25, 2022
  • Length: 25:29
  • Purchases: 1
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There’s an old saying that everyone wants to live long, but no one wants to get old. The same can be applied to our favorite sci-fi fantasy franchi...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Apr 27, 2022
  • Length: 33:06
  • Purchases: 1
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Many sci-fi worlds present a future where neurotypical humans interact with aliens or A.I. that see reality in a different way without a hierarchy ...

Bought by WLRH and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Apr 13, 2022
  • Length: 26:56
  • Purchases: 2
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On the centennial of Nosferatu, I talk with film composers who have infused this vampire tale with new blood, and new scores to keep an old film al...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Mar 30, 2022
  • Length: 29:07
  • Purchases: 1
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine shocked the world, but this conflict was foreshadowed in Ukrainian and Russian speculative fiction. I talk with sev...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Mar 16, 2022
  • Length: 27:05
  • Purchases: 1
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I talk with the artist and writer Astria Suparak about her video presentation, “Asian futures, without Asians,” where she examines a genre within t...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Mar 02, 2022
  • Length: 33:24
  • Purchases: 1
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Beforeigners is a fantastic Norwegian sci-fi drama which imagines what if people from the Viking era and other times in Norway’s past started poppi...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Feb 16, 2022
  • Length: 33:12
  • Purchases: 1
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Have you ever watched a movie or show, gotten sucked into a mystery and come up with your own idea of what is going to be revealed – only to find o...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Feb 02, 2022
  • Length: 32:22
  • Purchases: 1
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Al Capp and his comic strip L’il Abner were once cultural institutions. He broke new ground pushing satire and politics into the funnies, until it ...

Bought by WHCP-LP Cambridge, KCUR, and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jan 19, 2022
  • Length: 27:58
  • Purchases: 3
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Walt Kelly coined the iconic phrase, “we have met the enemy and he is us,” But not many people have met Kelly’s characters, who have a lot more to ...

Bought by WHCP-LP Cambridge, KCUR, RadioFreePalmer, and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jan 05, 2022
  • Length: 29:01
  • Purchases: 4
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This week, I’m replaying two older episodes of mine that dealt with many of the themes that come up in multiverse storylines, as the MCU and DC cin...

Bought by PRX Remix and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Dec 22, 2021
  • Length: 32:00
  • Purchases: 2
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To some people outside central Europe, the idea of St Nicholas having a horned tongue-wagging companion called Krampus, who punishes children, migh...

Bought by KVNF and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Dec 08, 2021
  • Length: 27:19
  • Purchases: 2
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We’re snapping together the LEGO bricks of Nathan Sawaya’s career, going from being a corporate lawyer to a famous LEGO Master Builder, and a profe...

Bought by PRX Remix and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Nov 24, 2021
  • Length: 28:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Tabletop role-playing games are experiencing a renaissance of game design, but they’re also asking tough questions about the nature of classic RPGs...

Bought by PRX Remix and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Nov 10, 2021
  • Length: 28:03
  • Purchases: 2
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From buckets of stage blood to confectionary edible eyeballs, the Grand Guignol grossed out its Parians audience a century ago, and invented modern...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 27, 2021
  • Length: 26:46
  • Purchases: 1
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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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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?

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Aug 18, 2021
  • Length: 28:49
  • Purchases: 1