Imaginary Worlds

Eric Molinsky

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. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture
Science FictionScience Fiction


You Are Lone Wolf: A Father/Son Quest
Apr 24 2024
You Are Lone Wolf: A Father/Son Quest
When Joe Dever died in 2016, he hadn’t written the last several books in his Lone Wolf series. The Lone Wolf books take place in a deeply rich fantasy universe, and they’re written as a combination of choose-your-own-adventure stories and role playing games like D&D. Joe’s final wish was that his son Ben would finish the series for him. However, Ben was unfamiliar with his father’s books, and the legions of Lone Wolf fans he would have to please. I talked with Ben Devere (who spells his last name differently) about the creative, practical, and personal struggles he went through as a writer, and how he was able to get to know his late father by immersing himself in his father’s fantasy world. Jonathan Stark, co-host of the official Lone Wolf podcast Journeys Through Magnamund, explains why Lone Wolf means so much to fans like him, and how he ended up fulfilling his own dreams of writing a Lone Wolf book. Today's episode is sponsored by Henson Shaving, Magic Spoon and Miracle Made. Visit and use the code IMAGINARY to get two years' worth of blades free with your razor – just make sure to add them to your cart. Get your next delicious bowl of high-protein cereal at and use the code IMAGINARY to save five dollars off. Go to and use the code IMAGINARY to claim your free 3 piece towel set and save over 40% off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
African Sci-Fi Looks to a Future Climate
Apr 10 2024
African Sci-Fi Looks to a Future Climate
When the writer Nnedi Okorafor coined the term Africanfuturism, she wanted to distinguish sci-fi written about Africa from Afrofuturism, which is focuses on the experiences of Black people in the diaspora. Africanfuturism mixes the traditional with the futuristic in a way that resembles modern life in Africa, and many of these stories grapple with climate change. Although the writer Chinelo Onwualu says cli-fi isn’t a subgenre for African writers. It’s often baked into a lot of Africanfuturism because the continent is already at the forefront of climate emergencies. And the writers Suyi Davies Okungbowa and Wole Talabi explain that Africanfuturist cli-fi isn’t as dystopian as Western cli-fi. These visions of the future may feel daunting but there is often a sense of hope and the solutions are more community focused. The actress Nneka Okoye reads from their stories, and other works by African writers. This episode is sponsored by Babbel, Surf Shark and Magic Spoon Get up to 60% off at Get Surfshark VPN at Go to and use the code IMAGINARY to save five dollars off Reading list from this episode: Works of Nnedi Okorafor Wole Talabi’s anthology Convergence Problems Suyi Davies Okungbowa's novella Lost Ark Dreaming Chinelo Onwualu’s short story Letters to My Mother Dilman Dila’s story The Leafy Man from the book A Killing in the Sun Mame Bougouma’s story Lekki Lekki from Africanfuturism: An Anthology Omenana Magazine Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
When All Is Said in Dune
Mar 27 2024
When All Is Said in Dune
Back in 2018, I interviewed language creator David J. Peterson about how he invented Dothraki for Game of Thrones and other fictional languages in fantasy worlds. David and his wife Jessie just finished a huge project – developing the Fremen language for Dune: Part Two. I talk with the couple about their creative process and the challenge of imagining simple English phrases in the Chakobsa language that Frank Herbert imagined in his Dune novels. We also hear my 2018 episode, “Do You Speak Conlang?” where I also talked with Marc Okrand, inventor of the Klingon language, and Robyn Stewart, a language consultant for Star Trek: Discovery. Plus, Jen Usellis -- a.k.a. Klingon Pop Warrior -- will give you a serious case of earworms (not the kind from Wrath of Khan.) For more episodes about Dune, check out my 2017 episode The Book of Dune, where I talked with Muslim fans of the series about the way Frank Herbert incorporated aspects of Islam into the books. And in 2021, I did an episode called The Ecology of Dune where I looked at the environmental messages in the books and whether Frank Herbert’s environmental sensibilities still hold up today. This episode is sponsored by Surfshark and Magic Spoon. Get Surfshark VPN at and enter the promo code IMAGINARY for three extra months for free. Get a custom bundle of Magic Spoon cereal at Enter the promo code IMAGINARY at checkout to save five dollars off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit