Archive for the Science Fiction Category

Jonathan Brandis

Posted in Entertainment, Jonathan Brandis, Science Fiction on 11/15/2009 by milkywayfarer

Jonathan Brandis, We Hardly Knew Ye

(I dedicate this series of articles to my recently departed and much-loved, much-missed niece, Suzanne Waterhouse, gone much too soon.)

Blond. Blue-Eyed. Teen Idol. All three phrases describe the late and much-lamented Jonathan Brandis accurately – but they do not, and never did, summarize him. Best known as the whiz-kid star of Seaquest, he also gained notice as the star of Neverending Story Part 2, Ladybugs (with the late Rodney Dangerfield), and Sidekicks (with Chuck Norris).

During his astounding success on Seaquest, Jon received hundreds of fan mail letters per day. I first discovered Jon on Seaquest, as both my husband and I have been lifetime sci-fi fans. Jon also caught my eye because he bore a resemblance to my blond, blue-eyed husband when he was young. When Seaquest was canceled after only three years, Jon went on to college and starred in a few made-for-TV movies.

During his stint on Seaquest, Jon wrote one episode, Siamese Dreams. He expressed an interest in directing also. He possessed talent in acting, writing and directing, as well as being a genuinely nice guy. All of his fans commented on the fact that Jon always stopped to talk with them when asked for autographs and never seemed irritated by the intrusion. When fans included their phone numbers in their fan letters, he often called them up and chatted!

I managed to keep up with Jon through the “InterWebs” until about 2001, when he seemed to fade away. I saw he had a role in Hart’s War and watched the movie for the sole purpose of seeing Jon’s portrayal. However, his role wound up on the cutting-room floor; he was reduced to a couple of passing glimpses that I nearly missed. Much disappointed, I still occasionally checked up on him on the Web with little result.

In August of 2003 my husband and I vacationed in LA, San Diego and Ensenada. I joked to my husband that I’d be on the lookout for Jonathan Brandis! After our trip I discovered Jon had a listed phone number. I could have called him while we were there but I didn’t even realize it!

The only child of Greg and Mary Brandis, Jon began his career at the age of 3 as a child model in commercials. He lived nearly his entire life in the spotlight – until he was well past childhood and got passed over for roles. Well after our trip (about 3 years later), I thought of Jon again and googled him. The first page that appeared carried the title In Memory of Jonathan Brandis! He had committed suicide only three months after my vacation to LA!! Thunderstruck, I read every article I could find on him. I learned of his career’s downslope slide, his subsequent disappointment and depression, and his despair-driven death by hanging himself in his apartment building. I learned how surprised and devastated his parents were to lose their only child.

I also discovered many phenomenal fan sites dedicated to Jon’s memory and many virtuoso video dedications. My next few articles will cover my favorites of these sites. Below is a site hosted by “Mr. Garcia” or “Gar,” as he is called by his friends. Gar had been Jon’s teacher and friend. Devastated by Jon’s suicide, Gar created several touching videos of Jon, accompanied by lovely music. Though it was bittersweet, I watched all Mr. Garcia’s videos and wrote him to thank him for them. Recently, my 41-yr-old niece died suddenly; her death rocked my family as Jon’s death rocked his parents, friends and fans. Reminded once again of how fragile and fleeting life is, I dedicate this series of articles to Jonathan Brandis and to my niece Suzanne Waterhouse. May you both rest in peace!



Wil Wheaton

Posted in Entertainment, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Wil Wheaton with tags , , , , on 04/03/2009 by milkywayfarer

Where’s Wheaton?

Copyright 2009
Susan Chandler Kelley

Remember Wil Wheaton – teen star Wesley Crusher of Star Trek Next Generation? Yes, he’s still around and doing fine! He began blogging before blogging was cool. He maintains a Typepad blog with a large and loyal following: WWdN In Exile

Wheaton has also written three books: Dancing Barefoot, Best Days of Our Lives (now in audiobook) and Just A Geek (now in audiobook). An avid gamer, he writes about gaming often but also blogs about his myriad interests: family, being a stepdad, books, writing, hockey, comic books, conventions, and yes, acting.

Wil Wheaton also writes about how he transformed from young actor- who wove Wesley Crusher into a likable wunderkind- into confident adult- now married with a family, who blogs about his sundry passions and how he achieved his transmogrification from young star to adult family man and a “working, struggling actor.”

He may no longer be a teen celebrity centerfold and teenybopper crush, but he quite believably portrayed a comic book artist turned rich soulless collector in an episode of Numb3rs. I do not believe he could have pulled off such an against-the-grain portrayal in his salad days of STNG. Also, he and the rest of the STNG crew recently performed vocally on an episode of Family Guy that premiered 3/29/09.

I stumbled upon Wil Wheaton’s blog back in 2005 quite by accident. I had just learned of the 2003 suicide of Jonathan Brandis (best-kept media secret since the pre-Watergate Nixon era) nearly two years after the fact. (A future blog will cover the late and much lamented JB.) While Websurfing for more information on Brandis, I came across a blog post by Wheaton. A blog reader asked what he thought of Brandis’ suicide at the age of 27, since Wheaton was a child/teen star of 80s-90s as well.

He writes how he might have gone the way of Brandis and so many other child/teen actors who can no longer snare prized parts after passing 20 – had he slipped into a different mind-set. However, Wheaton transitioned from hot young actor to successful adult whose acting career does not rule his life to the exclusion of all else.

Wheaton understood the acting industry very well even as a young man. While speaking to a group of drama students about to graduate he explained: “You have to love [acting] more than you hate how unfair the industry is, more than the constant rejection – and it is constant – hurts. You must have a passion within you that makes it worthwhile to struggle for years while pretty boys and pretty girls take your parts away from you again and again and again.”

He realized he no longer had that passion and was not willing to sacrifice life, love and family to the vagaries of the Hollywood industry. “I have only had three auditions in the last three months. A year ago that would have killed me, but I’m really not bothered by it now.”

Wheaton turned his passion for acting to writing and has since realized “I could be an actor and a writer, but my resolve to put my family ahead of everything, instead of putting Make It As An Actor No Matter What ahead of everything[,] remains.” Well said, Wil Wheaton!

MilkyWayfarer's Blog: Roaming Cyber Realms

Walter Koenig’s Star

Posted in Arts, Entertainment, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Walter Koenig with tags , , , , , on 03/16/2009 by milkywayfarer

Give Walter Koenig a Gold Star!

By Susan Chandler Kelley
Copyright 2009;
do not reprint without permission

In June 2009, the Hollywood Walk of Fame Committee will vote on new Walk of Fame Star recipients. Walter Koenig is the only one of the original major Star Trek characters yet to receive a star on the Walk of Fame. After his nearly 50 years in the acting profession, in so many areas of this profession, the time is surely right to award Walter Koenig his well deserved star!

I have completed a letter to the Committee to request that his star be awarded. I ask that those of you who have enjoyed Mr. Koenig’s work in so many areas of the acting profession – acting, writing, producing and teaching – write letters to the Committee as well. Remember, however, to be polite and respectful. Do not forget that our letters will reflect on Walter Koenig himself. Their address is:
Walk of Fame Committee
c/o Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
7018 Hollywood Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028
I wrote a previous article on Walter Koenig – available at – that discusses his career. He is a rare actor who has created more than one memorable role, and portrayed many reverse-polarity characters.

In Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Walter Koenig portrayed Tiger, the psychopathic gang leader in “Memo from Purgatory,” written by Harlan Ellison.

Walter Koenig later gave life to youthful Pavel Andreievich Chekov in Star Trek in 39 episodes, 1967-69. During the Cold War and the Space Race, he offered a non-threatening, likeable Russian patriot, acknowledging Russia’s contribution to space exploration. He reprised Chekov in Star Trek’s first seven feature films, earning a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor twice: for Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home. He recently channeled Chekov yet again in two Star Trek Web shows: To Serve All My Days and Of Gods and Men.

Walter Koenig also breathed fire into ruthless PSI-cop Alfred Bester on Babylon 5 in 12 episodes as a recurring guest star. B5’s production company nominated him for an Emmy at the end of the third season for “Ship of Tears.” Bester was voted ‘man we most love to hate’ in a Web poll of 2,000+ science fiction fans.

Walter Koenig first appeared on television in 1960 on A Day in Court. In the nearly 50 years since, he has appeared on TV 107 times in 46 different roles. He penned an unusal play, “You’re Never Alone When You’re A Schizophrenic,” and starred in it. He trod the boards in many other plays including “The Boys of Autumn.” He has recently written, produced and performed in many independent movies including But What About My Feelings?, The Bone Eaters, Mad Cowgirl, and Inalienable. He has also taught acting classes.

Amazingly, Walter Koenig still finds time for charitable and human rights work: He visited Burmese refugee camps in Thailand July 2007 and has worked to bring awareness to their plight with public appearances and conferences. He supports The Children of the Night, a Los Angeles based charity which helps children living on the streets. He has supported the Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota and the St. Labre Indian School in Montana for many years. He has helped raise funds for Habitat For Humanity. He has supported animal groups including the Nature Conservatory, Humane Society, World Wildlife Fund, Defenders Of Wildlife and SPCA Los Angeles. He has sponsored writing and art contests to help further the arts. He volunteered his time and acting talents for the second episode of the independently produced Web series, Star Trek Phase 2.

For more information on Walter Koenig’s career and the campaign to request his star on the Walk of Fame, visit and peruse Patty Wright’s informative Official Walter Koenig Website.
MilkyWayfarer's Blog: Roaming Cyber Realms

H. R. Giger

Posted in Arts, Entertainment, Science Fiction with tags , , on 02/13/2009 by milkywayfarer

Dark-Eyed Demon Dreamer

(Originally published in Eye on the Web)

By Susan Chandler Kelley

Copyright 1999-2009;
do not reprint without permission

Born in Switzerland on February 5, 1940, H. R. (Hans Ruedi) Giger attended art schools 1953-1965. He delves into the dream world to depict the ‘dark side,’ that Jungian jungle of human nature’s nightmare netherworld. His repellent reptilian biomech creatures slither into our psyches (or psychoses). These shadow plays of our darkest fears burrow into the subconscious more inextricably than the macabre, metallic sinews of his creations.

“He is our latter-day Hieronymus Bosch, the Dutch fabulist come again, demonic and erotic,” says sci-fi author Harlan Ellison. These ‘brothers grim,’ Swiss Giger and Dutchman Bosch, share similar dangerous, demonic visions. Giger’s gruesome creatures provide a cutting cultural counterpoint to his contemporary, fellow fantasist Michael Whelan. Whelan’s angelic figures languor in light drenched fairy scenes; Giger’s nightmare demons dwell in darkest depths.

Giger first made acquaintance with the surreal at age five. His father, a chemist, received a human skull, which first fired his son’s imagination. Young Giger found it fascinating to possess the skull of someone who had once been alive. Skulls and skeletal figures still predominate Giger’s work.

He draws on all experience for inspiration, but as a follower of Jung, he often draws on the dream state for ideas. Originator of the Biomechanical Style, Giger’s creatures sport steely sinews and meld organic, humanoid shapes with mechanical apparatus.

Most people know Giger best as the designer of the horrific creature of the 1977 Academy Award winning science fiction movie, Alien. The nightmarish creature of Alien was actually inspired by one of Giger’s original creations, included in a 1978 publication of a collection of his works, “Giger’s Necronomicon.” The writings of early 20th century author H.P. Lovecraft, another weaver of weird nightmare creatures, gave Giger the title for this publication.

Probably best known for his fantasy paintings and Aliens creatures, Giger has also created other notable art, particularly album covers, such as ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ for Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Yet he manages many media, including furniture design, not to mention designing the ‘Giger bars’ in Tokyo and Switzerland. Giger ranks as a true multi-media artist. In addition to his paintings, sketches, Alien film designs and album covers, he has also designed sculpture, a Swatch watch project called Watch Abart and a movie, ‘The Mystery of San Gottardo’.

Interesting sites devoted to H. R. Giger:

Official WebSite of H.R. Giger:

Official WebSite of H.R. Giger – Fan page:

Shadowland – Info/Images:

Little Giger Page:

H. R. Giger Museum:

Giger Chat Room:

System 75 Giger Gallery:

Pictures of Giger artwork:

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Chekov aka Koenig

Posted in Entertainment, fun site, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Walter Koenig with tags , , , , on 01/10/2009 by milkywayfarer

Walter Koenig / Pavel Chekov

By Susan Chandler Kelley
Copyright 2009; do not reprint without permission

On this blog, I’ll discuss many unusual, quirky and interesting sites I’ve come across in my Web travels. Today the topic is Walter Koenig. His Website is maintained by a wonderful lady named Patty Wright (who also helps produce the Star Trek Phase II online episodes). It is the only authorized Website for Mr. Koenig and is available at:

It is 9pm on a Friday night in 1967. A 10-year-old girl tunes in her favorite TV show, Star Trek, and notices a new character. This 20-something, attractive, mop-topped brunette guy speaks with an adorable (if sometimes inconsistent) Russian accent. The young girl melts. Fast-forward to Winter 1976. The now 19-year-old girl is in college and meets a 20-something, attractive, mop-topped brunette guy who speaks with an adorable accent. The young woman melts.

Not until a few months ago, when I  discovered Patty’s site and caught up with Walter Koenig via this site, did I realize what an incredible resemblance my first serious love object bore to Chekov. Her site contains many pics of Mr. Koenig and probably his best-known role, cheeky Chekov. These pics brought home my ‘transference’ of childhood infatuation for Chekov to his ‘lookalike’ that I met in college. ‘Tis a pleasant stroll down Memory Lane  and a  mother-lode of info on the multi-talented Mr. Koenig.

Patty’s Koenig site contains extensive info on Mr. Koenig, the actor. It also includes links to its sister site, devoted to all things Chekov (including some fun fanfiction). Mr. Koenig is best known for two polar opposite TV roles: Star Trek’s youthful Russian navigator,  Pavel Chekov (mentioned above), and Babylon 5’s ruthless Psi-Cop villain, Alfred Bester.

When I happened upon this site, I knew only these two roles. I had no idea how far Mr. Koenig’s talents ranged. He has performed in stage work as well as dozens of TV shows from ‘Day in Court’ to ‘The Starlost’.  (He played one particularly memorable role in ‘Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ as Tiger, a psychopathic gang leader in ‘Memo from Purgatory’, written by Harlan Ellison.)  Mr. Koenig not only performed in all the franchised Star Trek movies, but also has recently starred in 2 Star Trek Webisodes (accessible from Patty’s Koenig site):  “To Serve All My Days” and “Of Gods and Men”.

Mr. Koenig possesses many writing credits, many more than mentioned here. He penned a satirical SF novel, Buck Alice and the Actor Robot and an unusal play You’re Never Alone When You’re A Schizophrenic.  He published a very honest, informative autobiography, Warped Factors, that was so engrossing I sped thru it in 3 hours. It was by turns ROFL funny and heart-tuggingly touching. He has  recently written, produced and performed in movies including The Bone Eaters, Mad Cowgirl, and Inalienable. (All three of these movies are accessible from Patty’s Koenig site.) Amazingly, he still finds time to write, teach, and  work with charities and a human rights campaign, Free Burma.

Even more amazingly, Mr. Koenig is the only one of the original major Star Trek characters who has not received a star on the Walk of Fame. Patty’s site includes a section with info on the campaign to get Mr. Koenig his star and on how to petition the Walk of Fame committee to this end. I am writing another petition to the Walk of Fame committee and hope you will also.

Patty’s thorough,  fully fleshed, fun site includes sections for his bio, credits, petition for his Walk of Fame star, appearances, photo gallery, fan gallery, current news, the Burma campaign, and the sister site devoted to Pavel Chekov.

Additionally, there’s an excellent review of Mr. Koenig’s autobiography, Warped Factors, at:

Also, there’s a list of many other Koenig/Chekov/Bester (mostly fanfiction)  Websites at:

[Please remember to write the Hollywood Walk of Fame Committee to ask them to award Walter Koenig a star on the Walk of Fame. See WOFS blog for more info: Walter Koenig’s Star ]

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