Sci-Fi Celebrities Reveal How They Got Their Start in Cute Syfy Clips

Continuing its monthlong 25th anniversary celebration, the Syfy TV network has produced three exclusive animated clips in which renowned science-fiction stars explain how they got involved with the genre.

In the first clip, Neil Gaiman — the science-fiction writer who brought us "Stardust" and "American Gods" — tells the story of how bottled milk and bendy straws first sparked his interest in science fiction. 

Gaiman recounts how kids would pretend their milk bottles were Daleks from "Doctor Who," using the bent straws to represent the aliens' telescopic scanners that protrude from their heads. "This is the coolest thing anybody has ever done," Gaiman says in the video.

In the second clip, actor, author and director Jonathan Frakes (Cmdr. Riker on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), recalls the time he was hired to dress up as Captain America and took a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska, where he would attend store openings with Spider-Man (or, rather, his friend Charlie Davis in a Spider-Man suit).

And last but certainly not least, the third animated clip features the comic book author Sana Amanat, a director and editor for Marvel Comics. Amanat talks about being a minority and a woman and feeling like an outsider in a male-dominated field — and how that inspired her to create Marvel's first Muslim female superhero, Ms. Marvel.

"Why don't we create … a character for the young Sanas of the world, who didn't have a character to look up to?" Amanat says in the clip. "It's a great message to remind people that you have the power within you to become anything that you possibly want."

For more fun and inspirational stories from science-fiction superstars, check out Syfy's new podcast, "SYFY25: Origin Stories," with Adam Savage, a former co-host of the Discovery TV show "MythBusters." The 15-part podcast was released Sept. 8, also as a part of Syfy's anniversary celebration. You can listen to the podcast on

Email Hanneke Weitering at or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.