Imaginary Worlds

de Eric Molinsky

Episodios

Office Space

por Eric Molinsky

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 industry, what design principles he learned working with Tim Burton’s go-to designer Bo Welch, why retro technology, especially from the 1970s, makes sense in sci-fi fantasy offices, and what those imaginary offices have to say about our workplaces in the real world. This episode is sponsored by Inked Gaming and BetterHelp. Our ad partner is Multitude. If you’re interested in advertising on Imaginary Worlds, you can contact them here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Playing Blind

por Eric Molinsky

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, he designs audio games for his company VGStorm. Accessibility advocate Ian Hamilton describes the challenge of making virtual worlds open to everyone. And Emilia Schatz from Naughty Dog studios discusses her collaboration with Brandon Cole in making The Last of Us Part II the most accessible AAA game of all time. This episode is sponsored by Skillshare and BetterHelp. Our ad partner is Multitude. If you’re interested in advertising on Imaginary Worlds, you can contact them here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Cartoonish Gender

por Eric Molinsky

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 content, somewhat unsuccessfully. And I talk with podcaster Thomas J. West and YouTube essayist Rowan Ellis about the history of queer-coded villains in Disney cartoons, and how the biggest entertainment company in the world still has a lot of catching up to do. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Our ad partner is Multitude. If you’re interested in advertising on Imaginary Worlds, you can contact them here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

The Legend of Musashi

por Eric Molinsky

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 Michael Wilson discuss their manga adaptation of Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. Yale professor Aaron Gerow, and Darren Ashmore and Will Reed from iCLA explain why Musashi’s life story had a character arc that was irresistible to storytellers. And Stephanie Billman and I connect the dots from Musashi samurai tales to Westerns, Westworld, and Star Wars. This episode is sponsored by Skillshare and BetterHelp. Our ad partner is Multitude. If you’re interested in advertising on Imaginary Worlds, you can contact them here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Giving Imaginary Advice

por Eric Molinsky

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 edited selection of his mini-series Ten Thousand Years, where he and writer Lenni Sanders imagine what if the happy ending from Groundhog Day had not been a game changer for Billy Murray’s character Phil Connors. What if it was just another day, and the days piled up for thousands of years? The episodes of Imaginary Advice we discussed are: https://soundcloud.com/ross-sutherland/45-seinfeld https://soundcloud.com/ross-sutherland/63-tony-gang-flame-war-5th-birthday-episode https://soundcloud.com/ross-sutherland/52-the-man-who-saw-tomorrow-4th-birthday-episode https://soundcloud.com/ross-sutherland/70-sex-and-the-city-the-return-part-1 https://soundcloud.com/ross-sutherland/71-sex-and-the-city-the-return-part-2 https://soundcloud.com/ross-sutherland/73-ten-thousand-years-part-2 This episode is sponsored by Skillshare and BetterHelp. Our ad partner is Multitude. If you’re interested in advertising on Imaginary Worlds, you can contact them here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Harley Quinn (Special Edition)

por Eric Molinsky

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 live action movie appearances, and the Harley Quinn animated series on HBO Max. Also, Jimmy and Amanda are a married couple, and I really appreciated the way their rapport and the sense of humor they share defines the worlds they create together. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Our ad partner is Multitude. If you’re interested in advertising on Imaginary Worlds, you can contact them here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Reporting on Capes, Cowls, Threats and Menaces

por Eric Molinsky

In superhero stories, the public is usually there to be saved by the heroes or killed by the villains. But as a journalist, I always wonder if these people are well informed enough about the threats to their lives, and who is protecting them. I talk with Maya Phillips of The New York Times, James Queally of The Los Angeles Times, and freelance reporter Sean Kelly about a range of fictional journalists from Lois Lane to Peter Parker, and whether their portrayals affect the way we view the news media in the real world. Plus, Petra Mayer of NPR, and journalist Liz Publika discuss why Spider Jerusalem is a model comic book reporter, even if he’s completely gonzo. And actress Mallory Kasdan reads the fanfiction story, “Can I Quote You on This” by Wix from Archive of Our Own about what happens when a more realistic journalist interviews The Avengers. Today’s episode includes minor spoilers for Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Daredevil, Superman and Lois, The Flash, and the graphic novel Watchmen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Living in a Simulation

por Eric Molinsky

Is it possible that we are living in an imaginary world? That is the premise of many science fiction stories, but some scientists have begun to wonder whether it’s not a fantasy. Perhaps what we think of as reality is a computer simulation and we’re basically just advanced versions of The Sims and don’t know it. I talk with video games entrepreneur Rizwan Virk about what advanced civilization might be lurking outside our reality, and how he draws upon real physics, The Matrix and Philip K. Dick to prove The Simulation Hypothesis in his book. And we’ll hear one of my favorite stories from the podcast Snap Judgment, where the journalist Stephanie Foo creates a version of herself in The Sims and discovers eerie parallels to her own life. “Sim Stephanie” was originally produced for Snap Judgment in 2014. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Second Life Goes On

por Eric Molinsky

One year into this pandemic, it’s been a struggle to feel a connection with other people digitally. That’s why I was inspired to hear an episode from the show Science Friday about a community that refused to disband their virtual world. As reporter Daniel Peterschmidt explains to me, the staff of Science Friday had set up a virtual outpost in Second Life when it was a trendy thing to do in the mid-2000s. The show eventually left Second Life, but Daniel recently discovered their community of hardcore fans stuck together long after many people abandoned Second Life, and the group went through not-so virtual turmoil along the way.  Today's episode is brought to you by SerialBox and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Music From Saturn

por Eric Molinsky

Sun Ra claimed to be an extraterrestrial being from Saturn who could teleport you to other planets with his music. That may or may not have been true, but he certainly was the leader of one of the most influential jazz ensembles of the 20th century, and he’s often called the father of Afrofuturism. I talk with artist Cauleen Smith and writer John Corbett about Sun Ra’s creative journey, and why he was light years ahead of his time. The musician Idris Ackamoor explains why Sun Ra was an inspiration for his band The Pyramids. And Ytasha Womack, author of fiction and non-fiction books about Afrofuturism, discusses why imagining the future is still a radical act. Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Becky Chambers Goes Wayfaring

por Eric Molinsky

Becky Chambers’ latest novel, “The Galaxy and The Ground Within,” is the final book in her Wayfarer series, which is about aliens, humans and AI trying to make their way through the galaxy and find common ground. Some of the characters in her books may seem fantastical and strange, but the conversations between them often revolve around familiar issues like identity, gender, family structure, and politics. We talk about why she’s closing this chapter in her writing career, even though the Wayfarer series could’ve gone on indefinitely, and what she has planned next. Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

The Zen of Sci-Fi

por Eric Molinsky

Illusions that mask the true nature of reality. Meditating to gain control over your mind and body. Sending your consciousness to other bodies. These are both tenants of Buddhism and science fiction. Professor Jim Clarke says the overlap is no accident, Buddhism has been influencing sci-fi fantasy creators for over a century. Novelists Ramez Naam and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne talk about how they incorporate Buddhism into their sci-fi stories and personal practices. Also, Reverend Landon Yamaoka discusses why his sect of Buddhism is in line with the troubled journey of Anakin Skywalker.  Today's episode is brought to you by Realm and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Weir Science

por Eric Molinsky

When Andy Weir wrote “The Martian,” he self-published the chapters to his website -- never expecting the story to become a best-selling book, or an Oscar-nominated Hollywood movie. His new novel, “Project Hail Mary,” is generating a lot of excitement, and he's already sold the movie rights. We talk about why he sometimes misses his old life as a cubicle dwelling engineer, the pressure of not being considered a one-hit wonder, his biggest pet peeves in sci-fi stories, and how far he’s willing to stretch his heavily scientific approach to imagine something much more fantastical.   Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Disco Elysium

por Eric Molinsky

Disco Elysium has been called one of the best role-playing video games of all time. It's won a slew of awards and it’s a worldwide best-seller -- which is odd because the game wasn’t put out by a big studio. It was made by a group of friends in Estonia who had very little experience making video games. And this detective game is just as much about politics and the existential nature of reality as it is about solving a murder. I talk with Justin Keenan, one of the few American writers on the crew, along with game critic Paul Walker-Emig and game developer and former critic Heather Alexandra about why Disco Elysium is a revolutionary game that also reflects the moment of history we’re living through.  Today's episode is brought to you by Realm and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Guilty Pleasures

por Eric Molinsky

Sci-fi and fantasy genres have come a long way from their pulp fiction and Saturday matinee origins to become respectable genres. But sometimes you just want to see something awesome, weird or shocking. That’s where genre films can deliver -- even if the movie isn’t good. I talk with five listeners about their favorite guilty pleasure films. Also, Lou Hare of the podcast Guilty Pleasures breaks down the difference between a guilty pleasure and a cult classic, and we discuss why ‘80s movies are a treasure trove of excess and bad taste. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Tron: Welcome to the Machine

por Eric Molinsky

The 1982 movie Tron may seem outdated and even hokey today, but the film was more groundbreaking and prophetic than many people realize. I talk with Tron’s director Steven Lisberger about the challenge of making a movie about computers without the help of computers. Media scholars Lars Schmeink and Sherryl Vint discuss the influence of Tron on our understanding of virtual worlds and our place in cyberspace. Plus, writer Daniel Frey talks about why current sci-fi about Silicon Valley tends to be more “near future” than fantastical, including his novel The Future is Yours. Today's episode is brought to you by Serial Box and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

This Ain't No Fairy Tale

por Eric Molinsky

The story of the brothers Grimm and how they came to publish a book of fairy tales has become something of a folk legend in itself. The conventional wisdom is that the Grimms collected their tales from village peasants, and the brothers always embraced the darkest elements of the tales. But as fairy tale scholars Jack Zipes and Ruth Bottigheimer explain, the real story of how the Grimms came across these tales -- and altered them -- is much more complicated and interesting. The Grimms were writing for a particular audience in their time, and the values they embedded in these tales have influenced us in ways we may not realize. Featuring readings by actor Jochen Werner. Today's episode is brought to you by Serial Box, BetterHelp and Sygnyl. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Embracing the Spooky Spooky

por Eric Molinsky

In the 1950s and ‘60s, the vibrating sound of the Theremin instrument was synonymous with sci-fi movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still or horror shows like Dark Shadows to the point where the Theremin became a genre cliché. But a new generation of experimental pop musicians like Dorit Chrysler and Miles Brown (of the band Night Terrors) are using the Theremin to create otherworldly sonic landscapes. Also I talk with Albert Glinsky, biographer of Leon Theremin, about how the inventor of the Theremin lived a life that was more like a Kafkaesque science fiction tale. Check out Albert Glinsky’s book “Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage.” Today's episode is brought to you by Serial Box and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Betty Boop and the Hays Code

por Eric Molinsky

Betty Boop is a beloved cultural icon, but she was controversial in her heyday. I talk with Mark Fleischer – grandson of Betty Boop’s co-creator Max Fleischer – and Mark’s wife Susan Wilking Horan about how the character was created and why she still endures. I also talk with film critic Marya Gates and Professor Thomas Doherty about how the Hays Code, which censored Betty Boop, had a profound impact on the moral universe of Hollywood films, and why this defunct production code is still influencing movies up to this day, especially with fantasy entertainment. Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp and Amazon's Faraway Collection. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Camelot Forever

por Eric Molinsky

The myth of Camelot runs deep in our culture. For over a thousand years, storytellers have felt compelled to tell the tale of King Arthur and add their own spin on the mythical legend. But we live in pretty cynical times where the idea of a wise and noble king feels like just as much of a fantasy as a boy pulling a magical sword from a stone. So why does the character of Arthur still endure? I talk with Arthurian scholars Martha Bayless, Elizabeth Archibald and Ingrid Nelson about why we can never forget that for one brief shining moment, there was a Camelot – even if there probably never was a Camelot. Today's episode is brought to you by Faraway Stories from Amazon, and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Making Up Creatures (Special Edition)

por Eric Molinsky

Every year, I like to play a full-length interview with a previous guest who had so much more to say than what I could fit into a particular topic. Last summer, I did an episode called Making Up Creatures where I talked with the creature designer Neill Gorton, who is best known for working on the reboot of Doctor Who and the BBC series Being Human. I talked with Neill about how he approached redesigning classic monsters he watched on Doctor Who as a child, why simplicity always beats spectacle when designing a new creature and what to focus on when working within a limited budget. Today's episode is brought to you by Faraway, a new short story collection from Amazon, CovertKit and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Monsters of 2020

por Eric Molinsky

2020 has felt monstrous on so many levels. So, it’s no coincidence that two of the top grossing movies of the year were Jaws and Jurassic Park, mostly seen at drive-in theaters. Alex Shepard explains why the shark in Jaws embodied our feeling of a dread, and how the Mayor of Amity Island seemed to be the embodiment of every leader who dismissed the seriousness of COVID. Sean T. Collins explores whether the real villain of Jurassic Park was not the dinosaurs but capitalism. And I talk with journalist Rae Paoletta, along with my assistant producer Stephanie Billman, about the most insidious monster of 2020 -- the corrupt and adorable oligarch Tom Nook who put every Animal Crossing player in debt to him. Today's episode is brought to you by Wondery's podcast Little Stories Everywhere, ConvertKit and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Fan Films Go Pro

por Eric Molinsky

Fan films allow filmmakers to tell stories set in the worlds of their favorite licensed characters, and fan films have taken off in recent years, thanks to affordable special effects and online distribution. Is that legal? Sort of. But the studios have learned it’s not worth upsetting their hardcore fans by suing them, according to copyright lawyer David Lizerbram. Indie Boom film festival director Anthony DeVito explains why he thinks fan films deserve the same respect as other indie productions. John Lim talks about playing Sulu on the bridge of The Enterprise circa 1966. And Rob Ayling breaks down his fan film, Living in Crime Alley, which puts The Dark Knight in precarious situation.  Star Trek: New Voyages One Day I’ll Become Power/Rangers Unauthorized (Bootleg Universe) Bel-Air Living in Crime Alley Batman vs. Darth Vader (Alternative Ending) Today's episode is brought to you by ConvertKit and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Fantasy in Translation

por Eric Molinsky

Since we can’t pick up universal translators on The Enterprise or through the TARDIS, we have to rely on human translators to bring fantasy stories across cultures. We all know that something is always lost in translation, but what is gained when a story transitions from one language and culture to another? Chen Malul tells the story of Israeli pilots who translated The Hobbit while in captivity. Olga Zilberbourg remembers the Soviet version of The Wizard of Oz – which was very different from the original story. Emily Jin discusses the nuances of translating Chinese science fiction at a time when everyday life in China feels like sci-fi. And translators Gord Sellar and Jihyun Park explain how feminism revitalized SF literature in South Korea. Stories mentioned in this episode: National Center for the Preservation of Human Dignity The Flowering Today's episode is brought to you by ConvertKit and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Adulting with Cowboy Bebop

por Eric Molinsky

The anime series Cowboy Bebop is currently being turned into a live-action series for Netflix, but Cowboy Bebop doesn’t need to be Americanized. The original series was already an homage to Western films and movies. Authors Roland Kelts and Matt Alt talk about how Cowboy Bebop fits into a very Japanese tradition of adopting and even improving upon aspects of foreign cultures. Evan Minto of Anime News Network explains why the show was groundbreaking. And Eric Vilas-Boas and John Maher of Dot + Line discuss how Cowboy Bebop had a huge impact on them as kids, even though it took them decades to understand the characters.   See You, Space Cowboy…. Matt Alt’s book “Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World.” Roland Kelt’s book, “Japanamerica: How Japanese Culture Has Invaded the U.S.” Today's episode is brought to you by Acorn TV and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Law & Order Superheroes

por Eric Molinsky

You know the scene. A pair of muggers are in an alleyway when a superhero leaps down and beats them to a pulp. It’s a classic scenario, but in a year when we’re reassessing the role of law enforcement in the real world, is it time to reimagine the role of super-cops in fantasy worlds? I talk with prosecutor Patrick O’Connor and police officer Henry Wong about how Batman or The Punisher could better reflect the times. Matthew Westfox, co-host of the podcast Superhero Ethics, discusses the moral quandaries of Daredevil. Peter Nowak, author of “The Rise of Real-Life Superheroes,” explains why costumed crime fighters are no longer just in fiction, and we hear from The Grim and Violet Valkyrie, who actually patrol the streets of San Diego as their superhero alter-egos. Today's episode is brought to you by EveryPlate, HelloFresh and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Fantasy and Fascism

por Eric Molinsky

Fascism is a common theme in fantasy worlds, especially the rebels vs. evil empire scenario. But what can we learn from stories about encroaching fascism? I talk with journalists Lauren Davis, Damien G. Walter, professor Jason Dittmer and podcaster Stefan Sasse – who teaches history in Germany – about Star Wars, Game of Thrones, superheroes and how fantasy itself can be a dangerous tool for authoritarians.   Stefan also hosts The Boiled Leather Audio Hour podcast. Today's episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Ahsoka Tano - A New Hope

por Eric Molinsky

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 Wars character you’ve never heard of. In the animated series Clone Wars, she was Anakin Skywalker’s padawan who became a legendary Jedi in her own right. And if the Internet rumors are true, she will make her live action debut played by Rosario Dawson in season 2 of The Mandalorian. I talk with entertainment journalists Lauren Davis and Amy Richau about how Ahsoka captured the imagination of Star Wars fans, and why she might be important to the future of the franchise. McKenna Fellows takes us into the world of Ahsoka cosplay, and designer Rachel Roth discusses why she created a couture dress based on Ahsoka’s costume.  See McKenna Fellows' cosplay of Ahsoka See Rachel Roth's couture Ahsoka dress at the Her Universe Fashion Show Today's episode is brought to you by MasterClass and BetterHelp. Want to advertise/sponsor our show? We have partnered with AdvertiseCast to handle our advertising/sponsorship requests. They’re great to work with and will help you advertise on our show. Please email sales@advertisecast.com or click the link below to get started. Imaginary Worlds AdvertiseCast Listing Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mission to Zyxx

por Eric Molinsky

Mission to Zyxx is one of my favorite and highly bingeable podcasts. It’s a sci-fi audio drama (although very much a comedy) about a ragtag crew of space adventurers ranging from humans to aliens to robots. The actors are all improvisers. Every story and every line of dialogue is made up on the spot, but when layered with stereo soundscapes and effects, it sounds like they are worldbuilding on the fly. The show has made me LOL many times with its sly references to established sci-fi franchises, and I’m happy to share it with you. Here is the Mission to Zyxx site for Episode 202: The New Norm [ft. Dru Johnston] with the cast list and other details. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Doug Jones: Shapeshifter

por Eric Molinsky

You've probably seen Doug Jones many times without realizing it because he is best known as a creature performer. You may have been moved by his performance as Saru in Star Trek: Discovery, captivated by his portrayal of The Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water or amazed by his dual roles as The Faun and The Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth. He is the Lon Chaney or Boris Karloff of our time. We talk with Doug Jones about how he got started, his approach to embodying an incredible array of non-human characters, and how he and director Guillermo del Toro developed a shorthand style of communication over six films.    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dumbledore's Army (Updated)

por Eric Molinsky

In 2016, I put out an episode about how JK Rowling’s themes in the Harry Potter series inspired a generation of progressive activists including Jackson Bird, who was the spokesperson for the Harry Potter Alliance. Jackson is also trans. Recently, JK Rowling has alienated many of her fans and supporters with her views on transgender rights. I catch up with Jackson Bird to discuss how he’s handling the cognitive dissonance of being inspired by the messages in the Harry Potter books while feeling profound disappointment in JK Rowling. Jackson Bird’s Op-Ed response to JK Rowling in The New York Times Responding to JK Rowlings Essay | Is It Anti-Trans? by Jamie Raines and Shaaba  Harry Potter Saved My Life. J.K. Rowling Is Now Endangering Trans People Like Me by Kacen Callender Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Inverting Lovecraft

por Eric Molinsky

The works of H. P. Lovecraft have inspired a number of Black creators and other writers of color, from the new HBO series Lovecraft Country to the novella The Ballad of Black Tom. What’s so surprising about Lovecraft’s newfound relevance is that he was exceptionally racist, and racism was folded into his stories. In the era of cancel culture, there are few people more apt to be cancelled than Lovecraft. So why are so many writers, filmmakers, and even game designers of color using Lovecraft’s mythology to illustrate the experience of being a marginalized person? I talk with novelist Victor LaValle, novelist Premee Mohamed, Michigan State University professor Kinitra Brooks, and UCR Irvine professor and illustrator John Jennings about how to separate a bigoted writer from his brilliant mythology. Also featuring readings by actor Varick Boyd. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle: Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed Box of Bones by John Jennings and Ayize Jama Everett Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Once and Future Comic Con

por Eric Molinsky

San Diego Comic Con is the high holiday of geekiness where fans converge to cosplay, buy collectables, show their appreciation to creators, and be the first to hear big announcements and see upcoming trailers. But the road from obscurity to cultural domination hasn’t always been smooth. In a year where the future of fan conventions is in doubt, we look back at the history of Comic Con and what it might look like in a COVID-19 world. Featuring filmmaker Eric Brammer, journalist Rob Salkowitz, and University of Oregon professor and author Erin Hanna. “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment” by Rob Salkowitz “Only at Comic-Con: Hollywood, Fans, and the Limits of Exclusivity” by Erin Hanna Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Making Up Creatures

por Eric Molinsky

If we ever make contact with aliens, they probably won’t look like humans with pointy ears or bumpy noses, but creature makeup design is more about communicating ideas. I talk with creature and makeup designers Steve Wang (Predator, Planet of the Apes, Underworld, Gremlins,) and Neill Gorton (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Being Human, Watchmen) about the process of turning a human actor into something convincingly non-human. Also, Rosemary Chalmers of Leeds Arts University explains why she wishes more creature designers would look more to the natural world for inspiration.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Larping in Place

por Eric Molinsky

Live theater has been shut down across the country, but live action role play (“larp” for short) is finding new ways to thrive in digital spaces. I talk with Betsy Isaacson and Ryan Hart of Sinking Ship Creations about how the phone can be turned into a medium for audio drama. Carly Dwyer and Jasmine Kimieye Graham explain how anyone can feel empowered when working in I.T., especially when it’s a Magical Help Desk. Tiffany Keane Schaefer discovers that Zoom is the perfect medium to tell stories about space travel, and game designer Jessica Creane discovers that her interactive show Chaos Theory can be tailor-made for the current moment. https://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.org/how-i-won-the-larp.html Sinking Ship Creations: https://www.sinkingshipcreations.com/all-events Intramersive Media: https://www.intramersive.com/magical-help-desk Otherworld Theatre: https://www.otherworldtheatre.org/larp Chaos Theory:  https://www.jessicacreane.com/chaos-theory.html Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices