publication date: Friday, February 12, 2021 (part of Winter 2021)

category: Literature

clue: One of the most acclaimed science-fiction shows of the 1990s cast an actor from one of the most popular science-fiction shows of the 1960s to play a character named for one of the best-regarded science-fiction writers of the 1950s.

explanation: Bester inspired the name of Alfred Bester (played by Star Trek's Walter Koenig) on Babylon 5. more…

difficulty: hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Steve West, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Samir Mehta, and Denise Sawicki

Sci-Fi Namesakes: Science fiction is a genre of ideas, and the best ideas are the ones connected to reality. This two-week theme presents 14 real-life people who inspired the names of characters in sci-fi TV shows, including shows with fantastical elements not normally considered sci-fi. Dr. Who, I presume?

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Mikhail Bakunin

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Syd Barrett

Pink Floyd's original frontman shocked legions of fans when he was fired for the band for schizophrenic illness, a topic that might make for an interesting show set in the world of the X-Men. Go »

Harry S. Truman

Being the president of the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s was a far more important elected office to hold than, say, being sheriff of a very strange valley town in Washington state roiled by a teenager's murder. Go »

Albert Einstein

This physicist so profoundly advanced our understanding of the universe that it's possible to imagine aliens someday visiting our nation. Go »

Robert Singer

Television science fiction shows as divergent as Timecop, Smallville, V, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman have this man in common, so eventually the writers of another of his shows about supernatural phenomena decided to honor him by naming a character after him. Go »

John Locke

This English philosopher is known for developing the theory of empiricism and connecting consciousness to the notion of self, not for getting lost on a mysterious tropical island with his wheelchair after a plane crash. Go »