Star Trek

Star Trek’s Mirror Universe: through a glass darkly? (video)

Larks, the Mirror Universe of Star Trek, where the beloved characters from the Prime Universe can let their hair down, or rather, slick it back menacingly, and indulge in a spot of the old ultraviolence. It’s the delightful playground where the Federation’s lofty ideals go to die, replaced by the Terran Empire’s slogan of “Conquer or Be Conquered”.

James T. Kirk and his crew famously stumbled upon this sinister alter-ego realm in 2267, thanks to a bit of transporter malarky during an ion storm. However, it turns out the crew of the USS Discovery had been mixing it up with their evil twins a good decade earlier, but who’s counting in a universe where stabbing your superior is just another career advancement strategy?

This morally inverted universe operates under the comforting premise that everyone you know and love is now likely to murder you for a promotion. It’s like the Monday of universes; it looks familiar, feels terrible, and things just keep getting worse. In this bizarro world, altruism is out, and backstabbing (literally) is in. Every relationship is just a coup waiting to happen. The Terran Empire, where humans have seemingly watched way too much Roman Empire documentaries, runs the show with a fascist flair that would make a dictator blush. Their first contact with the Vulcans wasn’t so much “live long and prosper” as it was “give us your tech or eat this phaser”. This set the tone for centuries of galactic bullying, which really explains the lack of interstellar friends.

Despite their hard exterior, the Terrans were as photophobic as a hungover college student, a trait that became apparent when they squinted under the prime universe’s annoyingly bright lights. They also had this quirky biological feature suggesting they’re inherently duplicitous — because, in the Mirror Universe, why create depth in character when a genetic excuse will do?

By 3189, this dark and delightful universe had drifted so far from the Prime Universe that no one had managed to visit for a good 500 years. Probably for the best, given that universal health and safety standards in the Terran Empire were less “ensure wellbeing” and more “ensure obedience”.

In summary, Star Trek’s Mirror Universe is the perfect space-opera dystopia. It’s where the Prime Universe’s Federation officers can go on their worst behavior, and moral philosophy gets turned on its head. Remember, in the Mirror Universe, it’s not a party unless someone’s attempted a coup or two. Ah, to be young and mutinous!


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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