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Imaginary Worlds

Panoply

Imaginary Worlds is a bi-weekly podcast about science fiction and other fantasy genres -- how we create them and why we suspend our disbelief. These are the backstories to our stories.

Imaginary Worlds is a bi-weekly podcast about science fiction and other fantasy genres -- how we create them and why we suspend our disbelief. These are the backstories to our stories.
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Location:

United States

Networks:

Panoply

Description:

Imaginary Worlds is a bi-weekly podcast about science fiction and other fantasy genres -- how we create them and why we suspend our disbelief. These are the backstories to our stories.

Language:

English


Episodes

The Haunted Mansion

10/18/2017
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The Haunted Mansion is one of the most beloved rides at the Disney theme parks, yet its development was anything but smooth. Walt Disney himself could never decide if the ride should be funny or scary, so he assigned "Imagineers" to develop both aspects. But the team fell into competing groups that argued for over a decade. Author Jeff Baham of the site Doom Buggies and David Mumpower of the site Theme Park Tourist explain how this tortured creative process lead to a masterpiece in theme...

Duration: 00:25:57


Rappers with Arm Cannons

10/4/2017
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In the second of my two-part episode on musical worlds, I talk with Mega Ran and Sammus -- hip hop artists that create concept albums based on the classic video games Mega Man and Metroid. They talk about the challenge of creating an imaginary world in music from someone else's source material, and why they identify with the struggles of 8-bit characters that fight their way through the world with arm cannons. Also, please fill out Panoply's annual survey -- it helps the company know how...

Duration: 00:24:04


Worldbuilding With Music

9/20/2017
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In the first of a two part episode on imaginary worlds in music, I talk with members of Vertigo Drift, an indie band that created a cyberpunk concept album with an expanded universe of material provided by visual artists, writers and filmmakers. While the group is influenced by concept albums of the past like The Who's Tommy or Plastic Beach by Gorillaz -- their true inspiration comes from sci-fi fantasy worlds, especially tabletop role-playing games. I visited Trevor Walker, Mark Ayesh...

Duration: 00:18:48


Technobabble

9/6/2017
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This week, I team up with Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist podcast to help me figure out why one set of poorly understood pseudo-scientific terms can sink a scene, while another set of pseudo-scientific phrases can sell a sci-fi concept. We'll hear from physicist Katie Mack -- who hates technobabble -- and Jennifer Ouellette who plays matchmaker between scientists and Hollywood directors that want to sell their mumbo jumbo with real science. And "Timescape" author Gregory Benford tells...

Duration: 00:28:12


Future Screens Are Mostly Blue

8/23/2017
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In 2013, Roman Mars and producer Sam Greenspan produced a great episode of the podcast 99% Invisible about control panels in science fiction. It's one of my favorite episodes, and I'm going to play it this week. They talk with designers and sci-fi aficionados Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff about the real-world lessons that designers can, should, and already take from science fiction. And they come up with an intriguing theory as to why some of the most risible sci-fi user interfaces may...

Duration: 00:24:45


Scott Snyder

8/9/2017
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If the previous episode was all about villains, this one looks at the other side of that equation. In 2014 I interviewed the writer Scott Snyder whose run on Batman comics is considered one of the best in long history of the Dark Knight. It was a difficult interview to pare down, and a lot of good material ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. So this week, I'm playing a fuller version of that conversation, which has always been one of my favorites. I was interested in Scott's...

Duration: 00:28:32


Evil Plans

7/26/2017
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They've tried to take over the world. They've tried to take away our free will. They've gone after ancient artifacts with vaguely defined magical properties. But they almost always fail. The evil plan has become a meta-joke to the point where even the villains themselves can't help but comment on all the tropes. And yet we keep watching movies and TV shows to see more evil plans hatched.. Honest Trailers head writer Spencer Gilbert and Vulture.com writer Abraham Riesman talk about why...

Duration: 00:28:58


The Book of Dune

7/12/2017
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Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune and its sequels tackled a lot of big themes. The books are about ecology. They're about journeys of self-realization through mind-altering substances. But religion is at the core of the series, since the main character Paul Atreides transforms from a teenage aristocrat into a messianic revolutionary leader of a nomadic desert tribe. And the real world religion that Frank Herbert borrows from the most is Islam. Khalid Baheyeldin, Salman Sayyid, and Sami Shah...

Duration: 00:28:40


World War EVE

6/28/2017
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EVE Online is a massive multi-player online role playing game, which means it's a game where there are no rules -- just a galaxy where you build space ships, form alliances and go to war. The Icelandic company CCP that created the game even attracted players with the motto: "Build Your Dreams. Wreck Theirs." And the war stories of EVE players are remarkable, like the Bloodbath of B-R5RB, where over $350,000 worth of digital spaceships were destroyed in a single day. So why do half a...

Duration: 00:29:01


Imagining the Internet

6/14/2017
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We were promised flying cars but we got Twitter instead. That's the common complaint against science fiction writers and the visions of the future they presented us in the 20th century. But sci-fi authors did imagine something like the Internet and social media before they existed. And we might be able to learn something from the writers who tried to imagine our daily lives. Cory Doctorow, Ada Palmer, Jo Walton and Arizona State University professor Ed Finn look at the cyberpunks and their...

Duration: 00:24:30


Do The Voice

5/31/2017
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There's been a recent resurgence of radio dramas or audio dramas over the past 5 years. I've done a few myself on Imaginary Worlds. So I was very flattered (and a little intimidated) when the highly regarded audio drama podcast The Truth asked me to write something for them. I worked with the group for months on a story about an animation voice actress whose cartoon alter ego has a mind of his own. We'll hear the final piece, and a conversation with The Truth's founder, Jonathan Mitchell.

Duration: 00:27:41


The Real Twin Peaks

5/17/2017
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Most people think of Twin Peaks as a place in their imaginations or on TV. But the show caused an identity crisis for the folks living in the towns where Twin Peaks was filmed. Kyle Twede, who owns Twede's Cafe which was a major location on the show, has to walk the line between being a real place and an imaginary one that caters to tourists. Dana Hubanks thinks David Lynch did capture something authentically dark about her hometown. And Cristie Coffing says whether the show captured the...

Duration: 00:25:26


Designing Bojack's World

5/3/2017
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Lisa Hanawalt had finally established herself as a freelance illustrator when her friend Raphael Bob-Wakesburg asked to borrow one of her drawings to pitch his animated series Bojack Horseman, which eventually ended up on Netflix. To Lisa's surprise, she eventually found herself in Los Angeles, overseeing a crew of dozens of artists as they tried to build a consistent world around her drawings of animal people -- which in some ways weren't that different from the stuff she used to draw as...

Duration: 00:23:18


Healing Through Horror

4/19/2017
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Steven Sheil grew up in the era of "video nasties" -- a pushback by conservatives in the UK to ban Hollywood slasher films before they could corrupt the youth. The effort backfired and made contraband films like The Evil Dead into hot commodities for impressionable youth like Steven. He grew up to become a horror filmmaker, but he never imagined the genre would help him therapeutically in dealing with personal loss. Across the pond, Aaron Orbey wrote in The New Yorker about having a...

Duration: 00:25:55


New York 2140

4/5/2017
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Imagine you're a New Yorker in the mid 22nd century. You have to deal with all sorts of headaches like traffic jams on the East River or brownstones collapsing into the canals. People think you're crazy to live in this Super Venice, but you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. That's the world Kim Stanley Robinson imagines in his latest novel New York 2140. It's a hopeful vision of a future where people are doing their best to live normal lives while climate change radically alters...

Duration: 00:23:32


Beyond the Iron Curtain

3/22/2017
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Comrades! The USSR pioneered the craft of science fiction long before the decadent West. This is not an opinion - this is a scientific fact. Noted intellectuals Anindita Banerjee, Sibelan Forrester, Asif Siddiqi, Gregory Afinogenov and the author's father Steven Molinsky discuss how the glorious Soviet people brought the Revolution to Mars, and used science fiction such as Aelita and Solaris to explore existential questions. Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live forever in outer space!

Duration: 00:27:20


The Spirit of Will Eisner

3/8/2017
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Imaginary Worlds goes live in this special presentation from the work x work on air festival. In celebration of Will Eisner's centennial, authors Paul Levitz and Bob Andelman, along with comics publisher Denis Kitchen and MAD Magazine's Al Jaffee discuss at how Eisner redefined comics as an art form, and became the "father of the graphic novel." Then comics historian and author Danny Fingeroth, editor Joan Hilty, and artist Dean Haspiel explore Eisner's legacy today in a live panel...

Duration: 00:35:41


28 Days of Black Cosplay

2/22/2017
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Cosplay has gotten huge in the age of social media, but when websites feature their ComicCon slides shows, they often don't reflect the true diversity of the fans. So black Cosplayers created their own hashtag #28DaysofBlackCosplay (although it was #29DaysofBlackCosplay on the leap year.) Harry and Gina Crossland of Pop Culture Uncovered talk about why they like putting an original spins on classic characters. Cosplayers Suqi and Brittnay N. Williams of the site Black Nerd Problems talk...

Duration: 00:23:02


Growing Up Avatar-American

2/8/2017
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Sam Kaden Lai takes the wheel of this episode of Imaginary Worlds to tell the story of how Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series on Nickelodeon, The Legend of Korra, redefined the Asian-American experience for him and his friends -- even though there is no America in either series. With Mammatha Challa, Emily Tetri, Viet Hung, Elaine Wang, and Nhu Nyugen.

Duration: 00:29:55


Winning the Larp

1/25/2017
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Larp stands for Live Action Role Play. That's about as simple as it gets when trying to understand what Larps are. They can be fantastical and magical, or they can be hyper-realistic dramas that grapple with topical issues. And Larps are getting more popular -- maybe even on the verge of becoming mainstream. Game masters and Larpwrights Lizzie Stark, Evan Torner, Caroline Murphy and Eirik Fatland explain why playing pretend is the right cathartic outlet for our times. And Larps may be...

Duration: 00:24:27

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