There are many things that allow people to immediately define a story as Science Fiction; aliens, time travel, teleportation, futuristic gadgets such as laser guns/ swords, warp drives and humanoid robots. But there is only one staple of Science Fiction that is actually Science Fact: Space Travel in a Spaceship. Alright we might not be able to go very far in them and we haven’t yet figured out interstellar travel, but its a start. So I thought we might as well celebrate the greatest spaceships in science fiction, because, you never know, one day they might just become science fact as well (providing their copyright is up by then).
I want to hear your opinions on this, what are your favourite spaceships? If you designed one how would you spec it? Would you trade off being able to do warp 9 for better defensive shields or greater fire power?
Anyway, might as well have a look at some classics while we’re here. (Note: This is not a comprehensive list but just a few favourites).
It might not have been the first, but the Enterprise has got to be one of the most (if not the most) recognisable spacecraft in the history of sci-fi.
Forget Star Destroyers, Death Stars and Federation Blockades, the Falcon is the spaceship everyone wanted. Not bad for something inspired by a hamburger with an olive sticking out at the side.
From Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the Heart Of Gold was strangely proportioned and had a habit of turning first time guests into Penguins or removing their limbs, but it was powered by an Infinite Improbability Drive and staffed by a chronically depressed Paranoid Android called Marvin, so it can’t be all bad.
A nuclear powered interplanetary ship operated by an artificially intelligent computer with a centrifuge that simulated the effects of gravity so the crew didn’t float off whilst doing work and so simple it only required two people to operate it, the Discovery One was a great ship. Shame it looked like a swing-ball.
An asteroid mining ship with 3 million years on the clock, a crew of just 4 since a radiation leak whipped out the rest and navigated by a senile computer who changes sex after two seasons, before the ship is stolen by nanobots who force him to change back and then turn the ship into a sand planet. Still, the Red Dwarf crew had a lot of fun whilst it lasted (just don’t get me started on Back To Earth or season 10).
Technically more of a time machine than a spaceship, but I’m including it on the grounds that its from the longest running sci-fi show in history, it travels in space just as well as in time (it can even pull a planet back into orbit) and its name means Time And Relative Dimensions In SPACE.