Imaginary Worlds

Series produced by Eric Molinsky

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Imaginary Worlds makes us think more deeply about the real world. It's a bi-weekly podcast about sci-fi, comic books, fairy tales and other fantasy genres -- how we create them and why we suspend our disbelief. These are the backstories of our stories.

Produced by Eric Molinsky, public radio reporter and illustrator.


150 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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Tron is often dismissed as an outdated popcorn movie, but it was quite influential, even prophetic.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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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 ...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Jan 06, 2021
  • Length: 27:29
  • Purchases: 1
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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 WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • Added: Oct 28, 2020
  • Length: 32:07
  • Purchases: 1
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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...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago


  • 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 WXAV 88.3FM Chicago and KVSC


  • Added: Jul 08, 2020
  • Length: 31:01
  • Purchases: 2