back to article Stob treks back across the decades to review the greatest TV sci-fi in the light of recent experience

Exterior: model shot. The Enterprise is seen parked above the equator of a planet. As usual, it is at a peculiar, inward-shifting angle relative to its background. It gives the impression that, far from being captured by gravitational pull, it can only sustain its orbit by continually bearing hard to the left, as though the …

  1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Brilliant. Verity's after BOFH's throne, I see.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      The BOFH only has one throne .... and I doubt if Verity wishes to claim that!

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Especially after the onion bhajis (Icon - Not a good mix, the following day).

        1. PM from Hell

          Onion Bhaji's and Lager

          Enough said

    2. jake Silver badge

      STOB's been head & shoulders above BOFH since before it left Usenet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Of course, that's because the BOFH is sitting in his executive-class swivel chair and doesn't stand up for anyone entering the room

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Even by Stob standards (which are high, in my opinion), I found this one particularly entertaining. "The Lotus Notes of the 23rd century" indeed.

      Somewhere I still have the CD-ROM DDJ sent me of her columns from that august periodical. When I find it again (probably it's in storage waiting for the Mountain Fastness Mk II to be built) I shall enjoy perusing them, even if I have to buy a USB-attached external CD/DVD drive to do so. Well worth it.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Dr. Dobbs Journal is the only early computer rag that I have kept a complete collection of in dead tree form.

    4. Blackjack Silver badge

      And she will get there with a lot less murder.

  2. bofh1961

    Always worth waiting for

    More imaginative and less sociopathic than BOFH.

    1. KarMann

      Re: Always worth waiting for

      You say that like it's a good thing.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: Always worth waiting for

        Murder does get boring.

        I mean when was the last time you made a user tap dance as one of the steps to fix their computer? On recently waxed floor?

        After all if no one used the medical insurance then the higher ups were going to replace it with something worse...

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Always worth waiting for

          When a story gets derivative of itself, it's time to fire the writer(s).

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Always worth waiting for

        That's because it is a good thing.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    That sums up modern pandemics, it's how you communicate and report them not how you treat them.

  4. b0llchit Silver badge

    Why can't we have more sci-fi in the real world? Living in the future has two options: 1) we live in harmony, or 2) we are all in agony and soon die a horrible death.

    As the HHGTTG already stated, either option is good. Especially when option 2 is acute, we'll soon be free of said agony because of the soon no longer being alive part. Now, take that beer and wait for either.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Why’s this rock humming?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Perhaps it's happy about being a rock?

      2. Toni the terrible

        Rock Music

      3. jake Silver badge

        It doesn't know the words.

  5. Roger Greenwood

    You know all will be right with the world... long as we have VS and Tim Hunkin

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: You know all will be right with the world...

      Especially if you could have Rex Garrod collaborating with Hunkin.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You know all will be right with the world...

        wot??? I didn't realise that Rex Garrod had passed away - or that he did Robot Wars

        I really enjoyed "The secret life.... " series, even sent off for the information pack. Still have it at home somewhere.

        I remember him demonstrating a plasma orb globe that he had made from a HV tripler from a broken TV that he found by the road.

        Will look forward to re-watching the videos

  6. Anonymous Custard Silver badge


    But if it had been hobbits, Mr Spock would be well acquainted...


    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Hobbits

      No, NO, NOOO!!! Don't click the link - you have been warned!!!

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Hobbits


        It's OK, I have reported it as offensive content and cruelty to children.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: Hobbits

          It's OK, I have reported it as offensive content and cruelty to children.

          Only children? Must try harder next time...

      2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: Hobbits

        Well at least Leonard only committed one album of such atrocities, unlike the captain.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hobbits

          To be fair to him, he did admit that he couldn't sing. I don't know if he mentioned that little bit of info before or after they offered him the money......

      3. Sudosu

        Re: Hobbits

        The funny part, anyone who has heard it does not even need to click the link....allow me to demonstrate;

        Biiiilbo, Bilbo Baggins...

        and now its in your head for the rest of the day :)

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          Re: Hobbits

          Oooooh Nooooo It Isn't.*

          I didn't click the link (Knowing full well the destination) & fortunately for me I can't remember the tune.

          *Why yes I did used to appear in panto's at Christmas.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Hobbits

      Dear God! What was he thinking to take that gig>

  7. disgruntled yank


    That's all.

    1. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: Outstanding

      The author definitely deserves a glass of the finest synthehol for their work! (Or even the real stuff, if they are friends enough with the bartender to know to ask!)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Outstanding

        A glass of something… green.

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    A bookcase behind him is loaded with suspiciously many learned-looking books

    No, no, no, this is the Governor.... He must be situated in front of a forest of outsized Marcos 2 flags. The minions are required to use the bookcases.

    Incidentally, it's a great flag, just a white exclamation mark on a blue square with rounded corners. It represents the planetary motto "We know what you did every minute of your lives".

  9. x 7

    Is the governer

    Mini Marcos or Imelda Marcos?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Is the governer

      The Mini Marcos was a fun little car, my youngest brother had one with a stage two Cooper engine.

      He turned it into fibre glass fluff after a tree stepped in front of him while doing about 60MPH.

      That was his excuse!

  10. steelpillow Silver badge

    Tim Hunkin

    Any fan of Tim Hunkin is OK by me. Nice one Verity.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > UHURA: If you are beaming down, shouldn't you put on some trousers?

    Well that's just pants!

    1. John 62

      Maybe Kirk was wearing a skant

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Seems like a very good and remarkably simple facility 4ElReg2Pioneer and Driver.*

    El Reg is a Perfect Vessel in and with which future episodes shared freely to boot at root are betatested for rapid progressive engagement for AI Realisation and Mass Media Presentation.

    Wanna Play Lead Way Out in Front, well past and long gone by all opposition and/or competition, El Reg ? Open Up a COSMIC Club which invites All to be in it and when incorrigibly continuingly worthy with further success to colossal excess, better as a True Friend than Fearful Foe and Misguided Enemy ..... the Phantom Devils and Ethereal Daemons that Guard Grant Access and Entry to Perfumed Gardens and Heavenly Palaces.

    Without those there would be Madness and Mayhem, Conflict and CHAOS abounding and astounding all as it confounds systems with novel disruptive transmissions/classified special forces operations.

    * :-) You'll need to be well switched on to the Perfumed Gardens of Heavenly Palaces to Forever Enjoy the Secret Additional Benefits that Server and Service Premium Prime Primordial Primeval Drive for there, which you might to consider is a valid Existential Energy Introducing Leading Components and Vital Accessories onto and into ACTive Fields of Play in Live Operational Virtual Environments ...... Spaces in which to fully Exercise Options and Future Derivative Positions to Ensure a Guaranteed Impregnability is Regularly Demonstrably Assured ..... which is surely akin to it being Almightily Insured?

    That's one such field of ACTive Play in a Live Operational Virtual Environment. There are sure to be all manner of others searching for the magic key algorithms to outstanding success and unfathomable riches which has landed them here for further vital instruction to aid metaphysical comprehension for future sublime application realisations.

    End up there and you aint going back to anything anywhere elsewhere. And boldly going forward is Virgin Soil Territory and Imaginative Virtual Terrain to Populate and Sustain with Exceptional Energy. That's where we're presently at. Where be you similarly rested and feeling comfortably at ease ‽

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems like a.... ...Driver.*

      YES... YES? YES!

      OF COURSE!!!


    2. Emir Al Weeq

      Re: Seems like a very good and remarkably simple facility 4ElReg2Pioneer and Driver.*


      I thought of you as soon as I read The Governor's words. It all makes sense now: you are Q and I claim my £5.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    On the surface...

    Kirk: Everyone! Get to, work! Stop staring at, your flip-phones.

    Kirk: Kirk to Scotty, uninstall everyone's apps.

    Scotty: File a ticket

    Kirk: Now!

    Scotty: These are critical components and there's a process. I could have this done next sprint if the Warp Coils OKRs are allowed to slip a wee bit.

    Kirk: Nevermind, Scotty. Offboard deceased Red Shirts 5486 and 75385. Bones, prepare a post-mortem.

    Scotty: File a ticket.

  14. NerryTutkins

    "always bearing hard left"

    This always bugs me on scifi shows. The ships in orbit always look like they are going around a planet that is only about 10 times bigger than they are. The beginning of Voyager makes it even worse with Voyager flying over the rings of a planet and following their curve around.

    Other things that bug me:

    Deep Space 9 Opening Credits

    * The tail of comets is away from the sun, not behind the direction of motion. However, as we pan through the tail and the comet is directly in front of us, there is no sun behind it as their should be.

    * Even if you want to think that the trail is somehow left behind the trail of motion (which makes no sense in a vacuum), there is no trail when the sequence starts. It only starts to be created as the credits progress, as if the rock was stationary and leaving no trail until the point the "camera" starts rolling.

    1. Krassi

      Re: "always bearing hard left"

      OTOH, everywhere on the surface of the typical Star Trek planet can be reached within about 20 minutes walk of your random beam - down point. So maybe consistent with the orbit view. More like "Little Prince" planet size than Jupiter.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: "always bearing hard left"

        The planets have to be small. How else would every inhabitant be able to learn English so quickly.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "always bearing hard left"

          That's one of the things which always struck me about a lot of classic rockets-and-planets SF, even as a child. In most of those narratives, a given planet has a single, homogeneous culture, or maybe a couple of them. It's like SF authors just substituted "planet" for "country" in their mental models – and their models of countries weren't close to accurate to begin with.

          Often the planets are depicted as having only a single ecological zone, too. "Yeah, this is a jungle planet. Just jungle everywhere. Nothing else." If you don't like the weather, go to a different planet.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "always bearing hard left"

            To be fair, SciFi isn't supposed to be a detailed survey of an existing society living on an existing planet. Rather, it's supposed to be entertainment. Escapism.

            For example, take Star Trek IV ... while I've encountered a few whales when sailing on San Francisco Bay, and I've certainly encountered a lot of very snotty weather ("If you learn to sail on San Francisco Bay, you can sail anywhere."[0]), I've never in my entire life seen that kind of huge ocean waves on the Bay. It just doesn't happen that way.

            To say nothing of "the Cetacean Institute" being filmed at Monterey Bay Aquarium, a well-known landmark that is nowhere near Marin County. Watching them cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get to Monterey from SF was somewhat jarring to us locals.

            We won't discuss using the non-nuclear USS Ranger as a stand-in for the nuclear powered USS Enterprise.


            Most suspended disbelief and enjoyed The Voyage Home anyway.

            [0] "If you learn Ubuntu, you'll understand Ubuntu. If you learn Slackware, you'll understand *nix."

    2. Martin

      Re: "always bearing hard left"

      ...there is no sun behind it as THERE should be...

      If you're going to be picky about science, you've got to expect someone else to be picky about grammar.

      Not that I disapprove of you being picky about science - on the contrary...

    3. Blitheringeejit


      >> The ships in orbit always look like they are going around a planet that is only about 10 times bigger than they are.

      The spaceship is small, and the planet is far away. Small, and far away ... ah forget it!

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    This is brilliant. Made my day so much better.


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hard Left

    I thought the Enterprise standard orbit of a inhabited planet had to fit one of two things.

    1. Within transporter range if Federation was known.

    2. At a radius not to appear too visible in the sky if observing the Prime Directive. Which could be geostationary over an uninhabited / least habited area? Overthinking, minimum

    Upvoted the perspective thingy, but yeah come on, artistic licence. Otherwise would all look like shots from the ISS with nought but planet filling the screen.

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