Top Ten Great SF Spaceships

There is a list going around of the top ten Film and TV space ships. I am not all that interested in what non-readers consider important so I decided to put together another list of Science Fiction spaceships – the written kind of SF. I am just getting started and I need suggestions.

This is what I have so far (in no particular order):

Scranton, the City. A Life for the Stars, James Blish. The rust belt city in Pennsylvania is surrounded with a spindizzy field transmitter, the city takes off and has great adventures.

The Skylark of Space – E. E. Doc Smith?s original space ship. The science is incredibly dated, but the adventures are fun.

Rocket Ship Galileo – R.A. Heinlein, I had to include R.A.H. but it was hard picking one of his ships. This one is the most fun.

Heart of Gold, from HHGTHG Douglas Adams. This one made the film list.

“Columbiad” from A Trip to the Moon, Jules Verne

I am blanking. Anyone have any more?????

I will go to my library in the morning and look at the titles. Does the ship in Bradbury’s Machineries of Joy have a name? What was the ship’s name in Nightflyers?


  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Well, I mentioned on SF signal the Command ship from Battlestar Galactica.

    Monday, November 20, 2006 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  2. Keith wrote:

    I want literary – written – Space Ships. Ther could be a separate list for TV ships with the original Enterprise #1.

    There is a list of Film ships:

    10. The Thunder Road (Explorers) – Pluses: Invisible. Powered by as little as a nine volt battery. Inertia-free. Impervious to damage; can tunnel through the earth even without effort. Minuses: Named after a Bruce Springsteen song. Kids only.

    9. Gunstar (The Last Starfighter) – Score high enough on a video game and you might be recruited to fly a Gunstar and defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada — for real! Weapons are standard, but it has a little bonus: The “Death Blossom,” which automatically targets every ship in range and destroys it. Why they didn’t just build that kind of thing into the regular weapons system remains a mystery.

    8. Mothership (Independence Day) – Despite its absurd susceptibility to human-made computer viruses, this bad boy has one of the most impressive weapons arsenals in the history of film. It’s also enormous: a quarter the size of the moon. Inside it carries 30 or so smaller ships, each larger than Manhattan, loaded with awesome building-destroying laser beams, and impervious to all conventional weapons except for Randy Quaid.

    7. Klingon Bird of Prey (Star Trek series) – Birds of Prey never seem to fare very well against Federation starships, but their winged shape makes them one of the more killer designs in the pantheon of filmed spacecraft. Too bad about the bare-bones interiors, though. Throw in some comfy leather chairs and you’ve got the Ferrari of spaceships. Bonus points for the kickin’ cloaking device. (Whoops: Sorry, the whales were on one of these guys, not the Enterprise… thanks emailers.)

    6. Discovery One (2001: A Space Odyssey) – This massive, pencil-like ship is designed for long-range exploration, features three EVA pods for single-user exploration, a centrifuge where artificial gravity is created, and an, er, slightly buggy computer system, the HAL 9000. Despite the tech trouble, HAL’s unblinking red eye is hypnotically awesome.

    5. Apollo 13 (Apollo 13) – The only reality-based spaceship on this list, and unquestionably the most heroic. It only flew the one time, it broke en route to the moon, and barely made it back to earth in one piece… and then they had Kathleen Quinlan waiting for ’em. Ugh.

    4. Heart of Gold (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – Never mind the oddball design (inspired by a teacup), the Heart of Gold’s Infinite Improbability Drive lets it pull off a pretty cool stunt: Traveling through every point in the universe at the exact same time. Don’t think about it too hard, and instead enjoy the ship’s personable computer and robot staff.

    3. Nostromo (Alien) – The Nostromo is little more than a space tugboat, pulling a giant ore refinery through space. Though it has no weapons, when given the (famously complex) command to self-destruct, it really goes off with a bang. An underrated ship, it could land on planets and scope out foreign lifeforms… which turned out to be not such a great idea after all.

    2. U.S.S. Enterprise (various versions) (Star Trek series) – It originated on TV, but the Enterprise really started showing off in the movie series. Early ships were distinguished by photon torpedoes, phasers, and a predilection for self-destruction, but it’s the only ship here that can legitimately go back and forth through time. Holodeck? Sweet. And those transporters are pretty killer, too. Later revisions to the ship allowed it to split into two separate pieces. Now that’s trekkin’!

    1. Millennium Falcon (Star Wars series) – It’s probably no surprise that the Falcon is number one on this list, but really, who would have thought that a scrappy smuggler’s freighter would end up being so critical in saving the galaxy? Outfitted with laser turrets, a speedy hyperdrive, and with ample room for up to eight passengers, the Millennium Falcon deserves the top spot easily. You find another ship that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, you gimme a call.

    Monday, November 20, 2006 at 9:39 am | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Actually Battlestar Galactica was a movie before it came to TV. The movie was their pilot episode. See my entry on a similar post in SF signal discussions. Some people agree with me there. Yet no one mentions the generation ship in “Silent running” either or “Lost in space” ship (movie)

    Oh well..

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 12:51 am | Permalink