So we aren’t talking about cars specifically in this post, though we previously covered 15 Classic Science Fiction Cars. Here at Automopedia, we recognize all modes of transit, both real and non-fiction. What better way to move beyond current financial woes in America’s automotive industry then by checking out futuristic space ships.
Take a look at some of our favorite high flying, phaser shooting, light speed traveling vessels.
USS Enterprise – Star Trek
One of the most well known ships in the history of science fiction, Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, has encountered hundreds of alien species, traveled back in time to save whales, defeated Klingons, Romulans, Chicago Mobsters, and has been blown up 4 times (ST: III, The Ashes of Eden, Enterprise C, ST: Generations, did we miss any?) – only to be resurrected over again. Her captains have been heroic, strong willed, and good at bedding green women.
Millennium Falcon – Star Wars
The other most recognized ship in scifi lore, this Star Wars freighter turned fighter (and home to Lando Calrissian / Han Solo) is responsible for destroying a Death Star or two, as well as saving a princess who likes making out with her brother. It also made the Kessel Run in 12-parsecs. Once we figure out what 12-parsecs equals we’ll be very impressed.
Swordfish II – Cowboy Bebop
Spike Spiegel’s personal asteroid racer from Cowboy Bebop may not look pretty, but it sure can hustle when a bunch of ISSP fighters are on its tail. Swordfish II is armed with laser machine guns, multiple missile launchers, and a plasma cannon. Spike is more than comfortable spending time dodging space debris, but really gets ticked off when kids, dogs, or women try to climb in his cockpit.
Serenity – Firefly
Aside from Star Wars, science fiction’s other cargo ship (and home to a crew of rag tags) is Serenity, from Joss Whedon’s Firefly series (and the film entitled Serenity). This ship has a lot in common with Millennium Falcon: it is armed with loads of destructive weaponry, as well as nooks and crannies to store treasures. Or better yet, hot telepathic chicks who can save the universe.
The TARDIS – Doctor Who
Doctor Who’s trustworthy Police Box, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) has taken BBC’s favorite (sorry, favourite) vagabond from the dawn of time to the end of our universe. TARDIS is capable of folding time and space, which may explain why it’s dimensions are a bit skewed. Outside, the vessel appears to be a phone booth. Inside, The Doctor has his own private loft with guest quarters. Its appearance is due to a faulty “chameleon circuit” – a device which transforms TARDIS so it can blend into whatever setting it’s at.
Discovery One – 2001: A Space Odyssey
When your nuclear powered science explorer is controlled by a confused, emotional, homicidal artificial intelligences, it’s hard to get anything done. Arthur C. Clarke’s spaceship from 2001: A Space Odyssey was sent on a doomed mission to observe the mysterious black Monolith in orbit around Jupiter (Saturn in the original novel). After computer system HAL 9000 malfunctions, it kills all aboard but crew leader Dave Bowman. The ship is sent adrift, only to be destroyed 9 years later along with Jupiter (see: 2010).
The Righteous Indignation – Captain Bucky O’Hare
“Bucky! Captain Bucky O’Hare! He goes where no ordinary rabbit will dare…” These are the words that began Saturday morning’s Capt. Bucky O’Hare & The Toad Wars. Bucky and his crew battled the evil Toad Empire in a Star Wars inspired animated series with help from his ship, the amazingly named Righteous Indignation. This ship also makes an appearance in the original NES video game adaptation.
Galactica – Battlestar Galactica
In the war against Cylons, Battleships of the Colonial Fleet are its best chance for human survival. In Battlestar Galactica, Commander Adama and his crew are off in search for New Caprica, a planet which will (hopefully) become their home. Unfortunately, bioroids created by humans have decided they’re pretty tired of being used by flesh and bone beings. Frankly, they’re mad as hell. Galactica is about 50 years old, and was in the process of being decommissioned when Cylon attacks began. The ship now holds a crew of hundreds – including somewhere around 150 fighters (Vipers, Raptors, Blackbirds, Stealthstars).
The V Mothership – V the Series
When the aliens of V came to our planet (in the Mid 80’s apparently) all seemed peaceful. They looked like us, talked like us, and were generally nice creatures. That was until Marc Singer ripped one of their face masks off to reveal nasty, green reptile-ish people, with plans to enslave humanity. These ships look oddly similar to those from Independence Day – a movie starring Will Smith that was great in 1994, but let’s face it, the special effects from ID4 and V do not hold up presently. (Note: since the publishing of this article, a new V series has become a TV hit.)
“It’s cold outside, there’s no kind of atmosphere…” are the words fans of Red Dwarf hear at the beginning of each scifi sitcom episode, along with a panning shot of Red Dwarf herself, floating millions of light years from Earth. This huge craft – commanded by Arnold Rimmer (or “Rimma” as he’s known) contains a galley, sleeping quarters, a garden, huge storage holds, a cryogenic sleeping room, karaoke bar, hologram suite, a secret prison on level 13, and is controlled by a lovely computer named Holly.
TCS Tiger’s Claw – Wing Commander
Throughout Wing Commander’s adaptation on TV (there was a cartoon, and it rocked!), film, and video game, the Bengel class carrier TCS (The Confederation Ship) Tiger’s Claw has been home to characters Maniac, Hotshot, Angel, Maverick, along with the rest of Confed’s fighter pilots. The ship (video game version above, feature film variant below) has gone through many face lifts and refits, but one fact remains true – Tiger’s Claw will always be there at the end of each mission.
When an experimental ship disappears into a black hole and returns, a crew of scientists must board her in order to try and figure out what happened. The creepiness of Event Horizon isn’t only its 2001-style ship combined with a suspenseful horror movie, but adding Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill to one feature film – scary!
Goa’uld Ha’Tak – Stargate
Ha’tak-Class Motherships are the primary capital ships of the Goa’uld, both in film and television versions of Stargate. Only a team comprised of Snake Plissken and MacGyver can bring them down! Ha’tak translates to “pyramid ship” – the top levels of this craft are based on ancient Egyptian structures. Ha’taks are the primary vessels of a Goa’uld System Lord, often the flagship of a particular Lord.
Nebuchadnezzar – The Matrix
The Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus’ ship from The Matrix Trilogy, is comprised of a small crew without much hope – until Ted Theodore Logan from Bill & Ted comes along to save the world from evil machine overlords. This ship can travel at various speeds underground, floating on an electrical output that keeps it in mid air. Its top weapon is an EMP electrical charge, which can knock out all electric devices for several meters.
S. S. Heart of Gold – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy may be the greatest combo of British dry wit (thank you, Douglas Adams) and science fiction to ever grace the printed page. At the heart of this story is the SS Heart of Gold – a state of the art vessel complete with Eddie – its aboard computer with a game show host attitude. Don’t forget Marvin, the manic depressed robot. What’s so special about this ship? It’s Infinite Improbability Drive, which can transport it to any destination, and appear as any number of random objects. This ride is so wild, you’ll need one of Zaphod Beeblebrox’s Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster drinks to survive.
– Eric M. Hoover