“Oh no, they’re all wearing beards!” …or travels in a parallel world

Beards are  evil. Especially goatees. That’s probably a fact you could take away from the original Star Trek series. That and Kirk breathed in a lot.

Because of Star Trek’s influence, facial hair has become a trope for SF, signalling the divide between worlds. Apophis and Teal’C appear with the evil twin goatee in Stargate-SG1. Cameron Mitchel, later in Stargate, points out that his suddenly appearing twin doesn’t have a beard, therefore he can’t come from the evil twin universe. Oops, he was wrong. Cam’s doppelganger obviously shaved before heading through the Gate…

Maybe it’s something about trust, in a culture that prizes a clean shaven face, the lack of beard is somehow more honest. Facial hair makes a man less pure and more edgy. I have nothing against beards, by the way.  Grissom in CSI and as always the facially hirsute Wolverine are my two favourite bearded men.

Why am I wondering about beards and parallel worlds? I’m in writing and research mode for a short story about a heroine who can cross the barriers that separates realities. And I got side tracked into beards. Bad me. I also had to butt heads with quantum mechanics too.

Here comes the science bit…

The many-worlds interpretation is a fairly elegant idea. Instead of a particle entering a state of superposition–taking all options open to it in this world–the universe splits, breaking up into as many realities as dictated by the options presented. The new realities would be identical to each other, save for the difference of the path chosen. For example, Schrodinger’s cat would end up alive in one world and dead in another. The observer would split too, only seeing one outcome. With this theory, all possible realities co-exist.

Though it’s never been explained how all of the above promotes the retention of the evil goatee.

I only have my Star Trek and Stargate examples. Can you think of anymore? Farscape must have tackled it!

*No beards were shaved in the writing of this post.


Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.

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SYNTHETIC DREAMS and BITTER HARVEST are available now from Carina Press.



  1. pennywatson · · Reply

    Riker in TNG had a goatee/beardy thing going on. Here’s an image link…

    ….and he’s not evil, but he looks like hell. Let me try to think of some more…..I LOVE this topic! LOVE!

    1. I found a reference to when William split and became Tom Riker. Something about him removing his sideburns to reveal a goatee? Tom deceived the Enterprise crew, but he wasn’t wholly evil… 😀

  2. After I can get past the “Dude! Spock looks great in a goatee!” I’ll have to think about what that means for parallel worlds.

    1. He has the dark hair/ginger beard thing going on though… (Fairly common here, and often disturbing 😉 )

  3. pennywatson · · Reply

    Worf was clean shaven at times, then had a pretty funky beard/goatee combo….

    At the beginning of the series he was less confident and clean shaven. Later he grew the bad-ass beard.

    But I’m not sure about the parallel realities.

    1. Yep, its the thing about being harder, edgier *with* a beard. When Sisko went bald and bearded up…whoa. 😀

  4. Sliders. They hit on the alternate beard/goatee thing too. A lot! Superman…when he was turned “evil” in a movie grew face stubble (but what in the hell would he use to shave I ask???).

    1. You know, I completely forgot about Sliders… That could be as the series seriously irked me and I stopped watching. lol

      Could Superman fly close to the sun and singe his facial hair into submission?

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