Science fiction is a really pretty broad category in terms of what it can cover. Stories can range from scientists frantically working on new breakthroughs to earth-shattering epics about planetary conflict. When it comes to the more space-focused side of things, there’s usually one element in common across all items. Starships pervade every aspect of science fiction set in outer space and some of these are truly outstanding.
Spaceships are part of science fiction Dating back to the early days of the genre, with some references as early as 1882. The most common definition of a starship is a vessel capable of traveling between planetary systems. Although scientists have yet to find a viable plan for a star ship, there are many projects underway that aim to make it happen. In science fiction, these ships typically use some kind of longitudinal drive that allows them to fold over time and space or travel faster than the speed of light. Instead, the real-life version of the starship will use long-range propulsion to travel between star systems over a period of 20 to 30 years.
Serenity stands out as one of the more famous star ships in the group, being the iconic ship from Joss Whedon’s firefly And after that Serenity. The design of the firefly class ship was inspired by birds and of course fireflies. The long bird-like neck and the more bulbous end are reminiscent of bugs. Whedon wanted to design a ship that could feel alive and real, not as if it could hold thousands of decks and crew quarters. According to canon, the ship is a firefly class because the long-range propulsion system glows at the back like a firefly before jumping. The name Serenity comes from an influential battle fought by the ship’s owner, Malcolm Reynolds.
Swordfish II is Spike Spiegel’s ships in Cowboy Bebop. This bright red ship is a converted racing MONO, the Machine Maneuver of Outer Space, which Spike uses to hunt for bounties throughout the show. This agile ship was built by Doohan and retrofitted with offensive capabilities before Spike took control. The reverse thrusters and powerful engines mean this speedboat can catch nearly anyone and stop for a penny. When it’s time to repair or take away, the Swordfish II’s VTOL capabilities allow it to land straight down and the wings fold for easy storage.
No list of the best starships would be complete without one of the television classics, The Starship Enterprise. This massive ship served as the headquarters and battleship for the crew of the Federation. Had multiple versions of The Enterprise, with the original depiction belonging to James T. Kirk in the 1960s series and other notable depictions appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation, led by Jean-Luc Picard. These ships serve as the primary backdrop for their respective crews and contain nearly every technology they might need to survive their voyages.
These ships, while a bit unique, stand out to be quite unique and overall pretty cool. House of Heptapods nicknamed Abbott and Costello, these ships appeared in Denis Villeneuve’s Come. These 450-meter-tall vehicles only appear one day, causing panic among many governments. Not much else is known about the inner workings of these ships, but they are capable of flying without a visible propulsion system and can reproduce their surroundings. There is an enclosed area of ships whose environment is similar to that of Heptapod’s home world. However, the ability to use gravity also suggests that these ships are far more advanced than most will see in their lifetime.
This is a newer addition to the cast but is undeniably a great fit. Razor Crest is the main ship used by Mandalorian in the program of the same name. Originally an ST-70 assault ship before the rise of the Galactic Empire, this ship served as a home for Din Djarin during his adventures. There are so many possibilities for a talented pilot, this ship sees a lot of abuse throughout the show. While not necessarily outstanding in terms of design, this ship’s ability for a bounty hunter makes it well worth it. The carbonite-freezing cargo hold along with the weapon storage and multiple hiding spots make this ship perfect for a smuggler, bounty hunter or both.
There have been many stars over the years who have assumed that science fiction existed as a genre. While this list is certainly not exhaustive considering the sheer number of stars to choose from, it does show how diverse and important stars are in the media. If there’s a space-based sci-fi story to tell, chances are there’s an interesting spaceship in the works.
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