Star Trek Continuity Issues Part II: TNG

Part one is here.

Charge it to my account

One of the key features of the enlightened 24th century is that the Federation no longer uses money – this comes up as a key plot point on a few occasions in TNG and DS9. But in Encounter at Farpoint, we see Crusher purchasing some fabric from Farpoint Station, with instructions to the vendor to “charge it to my account”. This line was written before it was definitively established that Federation had no money, but can we make sense of it in-universe? Continue reading


Star Trek Continuity Issues Part I: TOS and movies

I started writing this article last year but it soon spiralled out of control, so I had to take a break from it. Given how long it became, I’m releasing it in several parts. Also, I’m not covering Discovery here.

Star Trek is a massive, sprawling franchise that has been with us for over fifty years. In that time, numerous writers, directors and producers have worked on the show, so it’s no wonder that the franchise has accumulated a fair amount of continuity errors and inconsistencies – some accidental, some deliberate.

However, what’s also true is that science-fiction tends to attract the kind of people who spend a lot of time obsessing over details and wanting everything to fit together into a coherent and logical narrative. In fact, as part of my research for this post, I ended up reading a 68-page forum thread on continuity errors in Star Trek, which went down such rabbit holes as the relative merits of Voyager and Enterprise; whether Chekov was on board the NCC-1701 during the episode Space Seed, and even the definition of canon itself. Having emerged from that thread with some inspiration, and some ideas of my own, I now present to you a range of Star Trek continuity errors that we, as fans, have to come up with some really creative explanations just to rationalise them away. Continue reading


Andrew Neiman is a jazz student who is determined to become a world-class drummer. To that end, he manages to get a place as an alternate in his instructor Terence Fletcher’s studio band. Fletcher is a harsh taskmaster who demands the best from his players, and who can turn downright abusive and violent when they don’t live up to his expectations. Will Neiman be broken by Fletcher’s harsh methods, or will they just strengthen his resolve?

The world of music can be an intense one, but in Whiplash, we see that idea pushed to its limits. This isn’t a film about a hero and the villain he must triumph over – it’s about a protagonist who is himself a bit of an arsehole, being pushed beyond his limits by a man he both hates and admires in equal measure. Continue reading

Unusual Veg Review: Purple Sweet Potato

I can’t remember when I became quite so obsessed with purple sweet potato. It probably started when I first tried these sweet potato Kit Kats, and, contrary to all expectations, found them so tasty that I even bought an entire box of them. Later on, I enjoyed a slice of purple sweet potato Swiss roll from the Japan Centre, and became intrigued by the idea of ube in doughnuts.

All that being said, purple sweet potatoes didn’t seem to be available here in the UK, so further investigation proved impossible for a while. Eventually, as with most random foodstuffs, they showed up on Ocado, and I bought a pack.

Purple versus orange: the showdown

I pitted purple sweet potato against the more common orange variety in a taste test showdown. Here are both varieties before cooking:

Raw sweet potatoes.

Both are a nice, bright colour – all it needs is for someone to invent a turquoise sweet potato to complete the set. The purple variety has some white streaks through it, and seems woodier in its raw state.

I steamed both types of potato for around twenty-five minutes, and then seasoned them with sea salt and lime juice. Here’s what they looked like straight after steaming:

Steamed sweet potatoes

Texture-wise, the purple sweet potato is denser and claggier than its orange cousin. This meant it soaked up the lime juice better, but also that it was just a chore to eat. The orange sweet potato is a lighter and more pleasant experience.

In terms of taste, orange sweet potato definitely lays a greater claim to the ‘sweet’ part of the name. It is sweeter, but pleasantly so, rather than being overpowering. The purple sweet potato has a more muted flavour, somewhere between orange sweet potato and regular potato.

I also used some of the purple sweet potato to make a chiffon cake. This was much more successful – the cake was light, fluffy and again with a muted sweetness. My tasting companion was not so enamoured of it, but I would definitely bake this again.

purple sweet potato chiffon cake

In conclusion, I don’t think I would bother using purple sweet potato in savoury cooking again – I didn’t enjoy it that much, and orange sweet potato is both nicer and cheaper. It might be interesting to try making crisps out of purple sweet potato, but that’s a project for a while in the future. I will definitely be using it in sweet baked goods again, however.

The People in the Trees

Dr Abraham Norton Perreira was once known as the man who discovered the secret of immortality on a remote Micronesia island. Now, he is in the news for a very different reason, having just been convicted of sexually abusing one of his adopted children. Nonetheless, Perreira’s closest friend and colleague has taken it upon himself to publish Perreira’s memoirs, telling the story of his life and career. Continue reading

Inside No. 9

It might be a house or a flat, a hotel room or a train car. No matter where it is, something’s not quite right in Number 9. The twist might be gruesome, or it might be poignant, but either way, nothing will be quite as it first appeared.

A horror anthology series created and written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, Inside No. 9 offers a veritable smorgasbord of stories, all tied together by a single gimmick – they take place in or around structures labelled with the number 9. Continue reading

Star Trek: The Mirror Universe

Parallel universes are a sci-fi mainstay, but ever since TOS, Star Trek has focused on one particular alternate reality – the so-called “mirror universe”. First seen in the original series episode Mirror, Mirror, the mirror universe later showed up in episodes of DS9, Enterprise and Discovery.

To give you an idea of how long some of these articles get queued up in my backlog, I have to admit that I’ve been meaning to write about the mirror universe since before the big reveal in Discovery season one. Yes, thanks to my Great Star Trek Rewatch, I was thinking about the mirror universe before it went mainstream. Continue reading