Five of the Greatest Science Fiction Ships of All Time

Ever looked up at the stars and wished you could cross the galaxy? Well, why just fly through space when maybe some day you could fly in style with one of these babies.

Ask any science fiction fan what their favorite starship is and they will all have one. Spaceships are a huge part of the mythos of science fiction, and in many cases are just as memorable, important, or as cool as the characters. So this article is dedicated to the starships that have captured our imagination and taken us on voyages far, far away.

Enterprise.

From: Star Trek.

(Image source)

Well, we might as well start with one the classics! Many ships in the star trek universe have been called enterprise, but they all had one thing in common. They explore strange new world. They seek out new life and new civilizations, and they are engraved into mainstream culture more than any other ship, with the possible exception of the millennium falcon or the Death Star.

The enterprise is probably so popular because it represents many things we hope about in our future, exploration, peace and an explorer attitude to search and improve ourselves. Well, if you’re a hippie anyway. The enterprise has always been the flagship of the federation fleet from the first NX-001, to the Enterprise-E. She’s always been sent into the most dangerous of situations and she’s always managed to claw her way back. From being half assimilated by the Borg, to being attacked by Remans, to being blasted by the son’a, to receiving pot shots from klingons- she’s always clawed through with dignity and poise, keeping her crew, and the federation safe from harm. We salute you ma’am!

The TARDIS

From: Doctor Who.

(Image open source)

The iconic blue police box with its physics bending “larger on the inside than outside” nature, ability to travel in time and space, nigh on indestructibility and “quirky” nature is one of the big icons of British science fiction.

The TARDIS is the doctor’s ship (for lack of a better word), and means Time And Relative Dimension In Space. The Tardis is an example of a ship that really has a mind of its own. Thanks to the fact that the doctor’s Tardis is old, faulty, and obsolete the ship itself is often the course of his adventures. In theory it is supposed to blend in with its surroundings wherever it lands, but its chameleon circuit is defective (Leaving it stuck as a 1960’s police box) and the short range guidance system is a little off (short range relative to the entire universe and all of time).

One thing is for sure, without the Tardis, Dr Who would not have been the fantastic science fiction series that it was and still is.

The X-wing and the Tie Fighte

From: Star Wars

(Image source 1, Image source 2)

Ask anyone to name a science fiction ship that isn’t the enterprise and many people will come out with the X-wing or the Tie Fighter (more people will name the death star, but I personally don’t count that as a ship).

The standard Twin Ion Engine (TIE) Fighter is well known for being possibly the worst ship in any science fiction universe. It has no shields, it has no armor, its weapons are pants, it can’t operate far from its base and the pilot’s can’t hit the broadside of a barn either. But it’s one that everyone remembers because the ship everyone else was rooting for (the X-wing) was its nemesis. The TIE is the McCain to Obama’s X-wing.

The X-wing itself is well known thanks to the massive popularity of the star wars movies. In terms of renown, it’s way, way up there. With its famous variable s-foil wings, memorable space battles and association with the rebel alliance, the X-wing is an icon of mainstream science fiction. Compared to the TIE fighter, it’s also a real piece of work, packing four laser cannons, an onboard hyper drive for interstellar travel, room for an astrotech droid to carry about quick fix repairs and a sleeker profile to boot. The force will always be with this one.

Liberator

From: Blake’s 7

(Image source)

Blake’s 7 was an old British Science fiction show that ran from 1978 to 1981. The story followed Roj Blake and his crew as they tried to bring down the totalitarian dictatorship of the Terran Federation. Their most powerful tool in this quest was an alien space ship called DSV 2, or as it later renamed itself, Liberator.

Liberator herself was quite a ship. She was armed to the teeth with neutron blasters (that took out almost anything the federation had in one hit), Plasma bolts and seeker missiles. She had teleporter systems that were thought to be all but impossible, Herculanium alloy armor which could stand up against the combined fire of several federation ships, a telepathic and (probably) sentient A.I/computer system called Zen which literally had a mind of its own, an internal defense system and later on a “detection shield” which rendered it undetectable except for close range and visual scans. It’s also so fast that it uses a completely different scale to the federation to measure speed.

Liberator’s biggest draw though was not the fact it was a badass, but Zen. The ship’s A.I had a mind and agenda of its own. It’s motives where often hard to fathom. It would go out of its way to help the crew survive from time to time, yet wouldn’t answer some of their simplest (yet most important) questions. It also prioritized the ship’s survival over the crew- even turning off life support to power the auto repair system. It’s quite something when you can’t trust your own ship not to kill you!

Serenity

From: Firefly

(Image source)

Serenity is a firefly class ship from Joss Whedon’s hit Show, Firefly. Captained by Malcolm Reynolds and his crew of misfits and n’er do “wells, she cruises around space taking her charges from one misadventure to the next.

What makes her such a great ship though isn”t an armament comparable to the entire US military, or a hugely powerful engine, or an advanced computer. She lacks any of these things. Her charm is the fact she is the Vespa of space ships. Simple, rough, ready and die hard. She’s like your first car, something cheap, simple and easily fixed with nothing but a screwdriver, a hammer and a roll of duct tape.

Despite her inadequacies, Serenity has seen her crew safely through everything from Alliance attacks to train robberies to reavers. She’s a tough little ship, as the salesman said to Mal: “She’ll fly forever if she’s got a good mechanic” (or words to that effect).

Serenity looks good too, the title “firefly class” works well considering the way her engines look from the outside, and Jubal Early commented on how the ship is designed in such a way as to create the illusion of space. Hmm…an optical illusion Tardis?

In closing

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this list. I do plan to create a follow up some time in the near future including some of the ships I decided not to include such as Moya, The battlestar Galactica and the Normandy (from mass effect). If you have any other suggestions for that list, please comment.

Meanwhile, if you like science fiction, check pieces out:

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14 Responses to “Five of the Greatest Science Fiction Ships of All Time”
  1. Bozsi Rose says:

    Nice article and good pics. But no Moya from Farscape? She is a living ship. :)

  2. hyx123 says:

    Interesting. I’m a science-fiction fan too.

  3. RJ Evans says:

    Yeah, baby, yeah! :-) )

  4. Jesse (Ruben Villanueva) says:

    cool list!
    kudos for Serenity & the Enterprise.

    submitted for your approval:
    The Deadalus-Stargate Atlantis
    The Pillar of Autumn-Halo

  5. RJ Evans says:

    The Red Dwarf?

  6. Gregg says:

    There is the ship in Walt Disney’s The Navigator; a living ship but much more human and expressive thn the living ship Moya from Farscape which I also like.

    When I was a kid, I was watching this Japanese space adventure TV series. A princess (I think) travels across space in a flying Galeon she calls Enola Gay. Weird but a Japanese series immortalizing a plane that bombed Hiroshima (or is it Nagasaki).

  7. Joni Keith says:

    I’d like to claim the Liberator as my fav since my son’s name is Blake. But living in the good ol’ US of A, never got to see the show. So I guess I’d have to say the Tardis is my favorite. Loved the article.

  8. Jordan says:

    Actually the Salesman that was talking to Mal in the Episode Out Of Gas is talking about a much larger ship. At the end of the Episode when you see the Salesman and Mal talking for the first time (see them being the opertive words) the Salesmen is showing mal a giant gray colored ship. Mal sees the Firefly parked out behind it, in a considerable less state of repair.

  9. Evis T says:

    Cack. I got something mixed up, it wasn’t the salesman I was referring to it was the ‘butchers’ who try to catch the ship using the net. The episode where Saffron makes her first appearance.

  10. lionhog2k says:

    What about the Millenium Falcon? I agree with the rest but you can’t leave out Han Solo’s suped-up junker.

  11. greyw says:

    What about that evil ship from Mass Effect? THAT was badass. What was it called? Sovereign. Baaaadaasss. Did i mention that it is like trillions upon trillions of years old?

  12. Night Story says:

    I liked this. I hope someday that the ships from my science fiction stories will receive such honors. Keep up the good work.

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