As part of Syfy 25 – where we’re looking back at everything amazing that’s happened in the world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror over the last 25 years – we asked a bunch of famous people what sort of geeky stuff they like.
Here’s what author and journalist Bonnie Burton told us.
The one thing I geek out over the most is:
I geek out over Doctor Who. I grew up with Tom Baker as my favorite Time Lord who wore an extra-long scarf, always loved to explore new planets, and offered candy to the most ruthless of villains without a second thought.
The first thing I remember geeking out over is:
The first thing I geeked out over was Star Wars. I was a farm kid who longed for adventure like Luke Skywalker. As with Princess Leia, I never took any guff from the guys. I longed to have a Wookiee best friend, but had to settle for the family cat.
The science fiction/fantasy creator I most respect is:
I most respect George Lucas for following his dream as a filmmaker (even when the major studios were against him) to create the kind of story that made us all long to live in a galaxy far, far away. He understands worldbuilding like no other, and managed to keep us entertained with his space saga for decades.
My geeky guilty pleasure is:
I will always love watching the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Even though both die-hard Star Wars fans and George Lucas himself hate the rarely seen TV special, I watch it every year as a geeky guilty pleasure. Wookiees wearing Snuggies! Harvey Korman cooking in drag! Jefferson Starship as a hologram jam band! Bea Arthur singing in the Cantina! The Boba Fett cartoon! What’s not to love?!
The current state of science fiction in three words:
Not enough whimsy.
The biggest genre game-changer of the last 25 years (story, scene, innovation, etc.) was:
The Matrix was the kind of sci-fi film that changed how all other action films were made after its release in 1999. The Wachowskis gave us the kind of surreal sci-fi film that used slow motion and spinning camera techniques that truly transformed the story into a video-game-like hybrid. Plus it proved that Keanu Reeves could be a sci-fi hero one “whoa” and Kung Fu kick at a time.
The best quote from anyone in the genre, real or fictional, is:
"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
The best genre movie of the last 25 years is:
Galaxy Quest is one of the best sci-fi movies in the last 25 years. Turning every sci-fi trope on its side, we saw the chaos that ensues when washed-up actors who played iconic Star Trek-like TV characters were then tasked to become those very characters to save the world. The movie has a perfect mix of sci-fi and humor to make it a classic.
The best genre series of the last 25 years is:
Firefly embodies everything great about sci-fi on TV even though it only aired for a short time. Joss Whedon’s beloved characters were the kind of people I would want to follow into any danger situation with. Firefly is full of love, humor, adventure, and plenty of great moments from Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan Fillion.
The best genre book of the last 25 years is:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is the kind of book that hits every geeky sweet spot in existence. This futuristic Willy Wonka meets Tron type story isn’t just about a hero’s journey to win a VR game world by completing in the ultimate Easter egg hunt, but it also pays homage to the kind of video games, movies, comics, TV shows, and RPGs that most pop culture junkies already adore. The book is jam-packed with ‘80s nostalgia and trivia, while still sustaining a story full of adventure and romance.
The best comic book or graphic novel of the last 25 years is:
The Sandman comic book series by Neil Gaiman has everything you want in a comic -- tragic/lovable/relatable characters, mind-expanding mythos, a hero’s downfall, and a dysfunctional family of gods. The best part: Death is a Goth girl with a pet goldfish.
The best video game of the last 25 years is:
Who says all great video games have to be about dragons, aliens, or monsters? Red Dead Redemption proves that surviving the lone range as a complicated cowboy can be the ultimate adventure. As a hired gun, it’s your job to bring members of your former gang to justice, with a loaded rifle and your trusty horse. Honor and morality rank high in this game that would make for an especially gritty Sam Peckinpah western.
The best genre theme song or soundtrack of the last 25 years is:
The movie soundtrack to Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi film Inception still makes me shiver. Hans Zimmer scored the film with the goal to unleash his imagination through instrumental music. The songs included on the soundtrack are both sad and beautiful, just like the film.
A movie that desperately needs a remake is:
The Last Starfighter could really use a remake. There was a time when all of us kids growing up during the ‘80s thought our video game skills might be called upon to help save the world from an alien invasion, and it’s all this movie’s fault. So why not give it a futuristic reboot in a VR world with actual scary aliens?
On the flipside, a movie that should never ever be remade is:
Don’t you dare touch The NeverEnding Story! The visual effects may be awful, but I never want to see a CGI version of the flying dog-dragon Falkor. He’s the best part of that movie, and I don’t want him to be given any kind of high-tech computer makeover. Even the theme song by Kajagoogoo lead singer Limahl is timelessly catchy!
The genre character I most admire and why:
I admire R2-D2! That astromech had to put up with so many flawed humans and their messy relationships. R2-D2 deserves a medal just for having to live with the whiniest best friend in the galaxy, C-3PO.
The genre character I most despise and why:
Dawn Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer will always be my most-hated character. It’s bad enough that she’s an annoying little sister to our heroine Buffy, but she constantly gets into trouble just by being a selfish brat. She’s the Scrappy Doo of the Buffyverse.
The genre character I love that no one else seems to pay attention to is:
Rory Williams from Doctor Who is one of my all-time favorite sidekick characters. Some folks just think of him as Amy Pond’s goofy hubby. But he’s so much more than that. Not only did Rory wait around a few thousand years for Amy, he died half a dozen times during his adventures with the Doctor. Plus he told Hitler to shut up and shoved him into a closet. Bravo!
If I could live in any fictional universe or reality, it would be:
I’d live in Blade Runner Los Angeles circa 2019 -- hey, that’s almost here! The Los Angeles depicted in Blade Runner might seem like a bleak, noir city of neon and lost souls, but the movie features some swank digs, like Deckard’s cozy apartment with a piano and J.F. Sebastian’s spacious home in an abandoned hotel full of his homemade robot friends. Los Angeles 2019 also has a busy food market with plenty of tasty noodle stands, too.
A scene from a movie that scared the ever-living sh*t out of me was:
Any scene with the evil Skeksis from The Dark Crystal gave me nightmares well into adulthood. Those reptilian-bird characters creeped me out. They ate live creatures at the dinner table! They murdered Gelflings! I’m still freaked out by them.
The most underrated sci-fi/fantasy movie of all time:
Terry Gilliam’s visionary film Brazil may be one of the most underrated sci-fi stories of all time. The dark comedy is set in a weird dystopian future full of secret police, unsatisfied office workers, and people obsessed with plastic surgery — so basically now.
The most overrated sci-fi/fantasy movie of all time is:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is overrated. We don’t see any aliens until the very end of the movie. The majority of the film is a worried mother looking for her creepy abducted toddler and Richard Dreyfuss slowly losing his mind by being obsessed with UFOs and making mashed potato mountains. The film feels more like a dark comedy rather than a mysterious tale about a mothership.
The fictional character with the best style is:
The Cat from British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf will always be the most stylish character in the universe. His flamboyant wardrobe would impress the likes of Prince and David Bowie. Described as “James Brown with fangs,” Cat’s most memorable outfit is an all-pink zoot suit. Throughout the TV series, Cat’s costumes included 1940s-era suits, ruffled pirate shirts, and even a yellow and black zebra-print coat.
The best Batman was:
The best Batman was Adam West. We have enough darkness in the world; I prefer my Batman to be cheerful and armed with a good pun. He’s the kind of superhero who can flirt with Catwoman but also fight off a shark with a spray can. He’s the kind of Batman who will run around Gotham with a lit bomb while wisecracking the whole time. Plus he does a mean Batusi dance!
The LOTR character I’d like to be is:
I’d love to be the elegant and powerful elf Arwen. She follows her heart even when it may shorten her lifespan. She is beautiful and brave and everything worthy of a true heroine.
The LOTR character I’d actually be is:
In my heart, I know I’m truly Samwise Gamgee. I am loyal to my friends, and even more loyal to my rumbling stomach that demands many snacks on long journeys.
If I could time-travel I would:
If I could time-travel I would go forward instead of back in time. I would be too nervous that I’d mess up history by trying to stop a war or by trying to assassinate Hitler. Imagine how good Hitler is at killing time travelers by now? I’d rather know what’s in store for me — spoilers be damned! Or better yet, I’d rather know future winning lottery numbers.
The most unforgivable insult in all of nerddom is:
Being called a fake geek is the most unforgivable insult in all of nerddom. We all have different learning stages in our nerd knowledge. There is no Voight-Kampff test to determine if we are legit geeks.
If I could have one superpower, it would be:
Teleportation would be an ideal superpower. You can leave boring parties, awkward conversations, and dangerous situations instantly. Plus you’d never have to bother with those long TSA lines at the airport ever again.
Which superpower comes with the biggest drawbacks: flight, invisibility, or telekinesis?
Invisibility has the biggest drawbacks. It’s hard enough to avoid being hit by a car when crossing a busy intersection, just imagine if you forgot you were invisible!
If I were a hero my sidekick would be:
My sidekick of choice is Chewbacca. You may have to let him win every game of Dejarik, but he’ll always have your back. Plus he’s really very handy to have around when your spaceship is on the fritz!
The Hogwarts sorting hat would put me in:
The Hogwarts sorting hat would most likely put me in the Three Broomsticks pub instead of a house at Hogwarts. I’m the kind of student who’d rather drink butter beer than study.
My patronus would be:
My patronus is a squirrel eating nachos. Don’t judge me.
On a voyage through space, my captain would be:
The Doctor from Doctor Who will always be my captain. He (or she) seems to always be in control, even when they’re not. Plus the Doctor knows all languages and has something witty to say in most of them.
If I could pick one genre vehicle, my ride would be:
The TARDIS will always be my vehicle of choice. The Doctor Who method of travel might not always get you exactly where you want to be, but the TARDIS will protect you from angry Daleks, Cybermen, and other irate aliens. Plus think of all the storage!
People in fantasy tales are always British because:
There’s something both magical and menacing about a British accent. That’s why so many characters — both good and bad — are British in fantasy tales. Threats always sound scarier in the King’s English.
In a fight between Dumbledore and Gandalf, who would win?
Dumbledore and Gandalf would never fight each other. If anything, they would challenge each other to a drink-off.
In a fight between Picard and Kirk, who would win?
Capt. Kirk would win in a fist fight against Capt. Picard, but if this is a game of wits my money will always be on Picard.
In a fight between Wonder Woman and Superman, who would win?
Wonder Woman will win in a fight against Superman. He might be an alien with superpowers, but she descends from the gods and has been trained to be the ultimate warrior. Plus she’s got a lot more moxie than Clark Kent ever will.
In a fight between Hulk and Thor, who would win?
The Hulk will win EVERY fight. He’s big, green, and angry. Have you seen him?!
In six words or less, what words of wisdom do you have for fellow fans?
Never apologize for loving robots.