IN all my years of living science fiction, I have lost count of the number of times I have jumped to lightspeed, launched from a catapult bay, charged up the main gun or scored a kill in the money lane – at least in my head.
In reality, space ships are functional and boring, but in sci-fi, they are super-frickin-cool, so to that end I have picked my top five, based on the ones that blew me away the most.
It wasn’t easy, and honourable mentions must go to to the Liberator, Serenity, the Borg Cube, Buck Rogers’ interceptor, War Rocket Ajax and – most shocking of all – the Tardis. Even the Doctor’s sweet ride didn’t make it (aesthetics played a part in my choice – it is a police box, plus virtually everything I do has a Who link, so I decided to change up)
5. The Gunstar
I bet most people don’t even remember the Gunstar, from The Last Starfighter. Famous for being the first film with computer generated effects, TLS saw a teenager finish his favourite arcade game, only to find it was a training programme delivered to Earth by mistake, which found potential starfighter pilots to battle Xur and the Kodan armada for real.
Brilliant wish-fulfillment premise aside, not only did it look cool, but it had the Death Blossom special move – where it would fire all weapons in every direction at once – which always made me wonder why it was kept as a last chance, all hope lost move, instead of just doing it to begin with.
4. Heart of Gold
Chosen as much for the man who ‘piloted’ it as its abilities, the Heart of Gold is on the list for its improbability drive.
The principle is that as its drive reaches infinite improbability, the ship passes simultaneously through every conceivable and inconceivable point in every conceivable and inconceivable universe (in other words, when one activates the Infinite Improbability Drive, the ship is literally everywhere at once).
It is then possible to decide at which point you actually want to be when improbability levels decrease, or something.
All that means nothing to Zaphod Beeblebrox – who robbed the ship and is almost as cool as the captain of two of the other ships on the list.
3. Colonial Viper
I loved the new BSG for its depth, its intricate plotting, its morally questionable characters, but most of all for the genius decision to leave alone the Colonial Vipers from the original TV series.
Yes, they may have only used the same clips of the ships in flight (pressing turbo, normal flight, lasers firing, launching) due to 1970s budgetry constraints, but they looked cool and were – to my eight-year-old mind at the time – incredibly straightforward to fly.
No working out complex navigational equations, just grab the joystick and press go = cylon killing mean machine.
2. USS Enterprise
This made the list for many reasons including warp speed, photon torpedoes, and in later incarnations, the holodeck.
However the main reason is that this ship died – several times over. And when Kirk made the decision to whack the original Enterprise in the third Star Trek film, it was like a friend had passed away. This was the Enterprise for god’s sake – that had faced down foes from across the galaxy and TV networks without backing down.
As Kirk said to Bones, ‘what have I done?’ The answer – apparently – was piss Gene Roddenberry off royally for shooting his baby, but it makes for one of the most dramatic and surprising moments in the original films.
1. Millennium Falcon
Could there be another? The Falcon was always going to be number one and always will be for me, because it is just so fantastically brilliant. I know that’s not the most forensic answer, but logic fails me when it comes to the Falcon.
It had laser turrets, hidden laser turrets, smuggling compartments, erm … a chess table.
It could do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs and make point five past lightspeed. (I still only have a shaky grasp on what those actually mean, but they sound great)
And it was flown by Han Solo – Mr Cool of the Star Wars universe – instantly adding a whole other layer of cool. In fact, this is the Fonzie of spaceships and I would happily trade a kidney for the chance to have a go in it ( a level of dedication obviously shared by the people in this video and another modelmaker).
So there you go. Agree? Disagree? Let me know.