Thursday, September 26, 2013

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Chart

DeviantARTist Dirk Loechel has compiled a very impressive visual compendium of famous science fiction starships.  

It is quite a list: a whole lot of work to compile and great fun to zoom around it, making size and configuration comparisons between your favorite teevee and movie space jump buggies.

However being something of a pedant, I feel compelled to stick my nose in and correct one, critical error in Mr. Kirk Hamilton's review of Mr. Loechel's chart:

Every Sci-Fi Starship Ever, In One Mindblowing Comparison Chart
 No.  This is not "Every Sci-Fi Starship Ever":  this is a collection -- a huge and really cool collection -- of lots of famous teevee and movie science fiction starships.

Bu there is no Rama here, slingshotting around our Sun, heedless of the quarrelsome primates on it's third planet.(1)

No Dauntless-class inertialess superdreadnaughts. (2)

No Kyben warships.(3)

No interstellar craft crewed by Habermen to avoid the Great Pain of Space. (4)

No patched-together remnants of the all-but-forgotten glory days before the fall of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the Foundation. (5)

No orgasm-powered starships (6), or Guild Transports with blue-in-blue eyed mutant navigators. (7)

No lost generation-ships sailing on towards disaster, it's inhabitants having long since forgotten that they are on a ship at all. (8)

I could go on for hours, impervious as a General Products' #3 hull (9), but that's not my point.

What is my point?

Back when I worked at an art school in Chicago, several people on my staff who were some numbers of years my junior had an intense (OK, obsessive) interest in and detailed knowledge of science they understood it: which means as it existed in movies and on teevee and in online gaming since Star Wars.

And being science fiction's minister-without-portfolio to the Midwest and the arts, in fell to me to gently nudge these enthusiastic individuals in the direction of an entire undiscovered country of science fiction in book-form, some of which had been around since before some of their moms and dads were zygotes (breaking it to them that "Star Wars" was in no fucking way "science fiction" came later.) 

I was a shameless pusher.  I still am.  No other word for someone who slips the young and innocent a gateway drug like Bradbury, then tried to lure them on to harder stuff later on.

And honestly, that is my only goal in writing this:  a short PSA to the BitTorrent generation that out beyond Star Wars and Warhammer, shelf upon shelf of good stuff -- really, really good stuff -- is waiting patiently to blow your skull into orbit. 



Scott Ingram said...

I sure as heck don't see Tom Corbett's Polaris nor the Gatchaman's Phoenix, nor nor nor...

I also find Eve is way over-represented by Eve, and it's a MMORPG, not a work of fiction... well, okay, a videogame kind of is, I guess. At least Halo also has books associated with it.

Anyway, such a chart is almost impossible and ignores fiction written in other languages... Nice job tho.

Unsalted Sinner said...

As I'm not an authority on science fiction, I'm glad I can now point to a real authority when I repeat my oft-stated, much criticized opinion that Star Wars isn't science fiction. Take that, doubters!

Great chart, by the way. I've been wondering how big those star cruisers would have to be ever since the first one zoomed past over my head at the start of "A New Hope". I never get tired of that scene.

dianne said...

I loved the Gregory Benford books
(especially "Timescape") - it was a softer kind of science fiction - not like the kind with a made up language. I hate those.

Magnolia Epublishing said...

DG, I just remembered I forgot to thank you and Mrs. DG for reading my questions last week. I'm sure you would have aced it if I had stuck to the novels. Even I couldn't remember 'Sky Jockey' and I had read everything he ever wrote I could find more than once by the time I was 14!

Scott Ingram said...

I just checked the Kotaku site and I see the author created a version with the planet destroyer from Lexx and Firefly from the Joss Whedon show.

I'm liking this chart more and more.
(Hopefully thispost is tyop-free)

BruceJ said...

Nor is the the 'Bistromath' , 'Heart of Gold', or even 'The Ship Who Sang'

Lawrence said...

So the saucer from Independence Day is the big kahuna? Funny how you can take it down with the 50 pound warhead in an AMRAAM. They must be accustomed to fighting pre industrial cultures. Also missing are the Saratoga from Space Above And Beyond, and anything from Space 1999. You might object that nobody cares about these shows, and that the Moon and an Eagle present opposite problems of scale for the chart. I won't argue about Space 1999. Look it up on Youtube if you aren't old enough to remember. Drinking helps.
Driftglass did not chose the Vorga from his list of literary spaceships. I don't recall that it was described in much detail. But neither were the Haberman ships.

Cliff said...

I consider myself fortunate to grow up in a small town that had a library full of classic science fiction.

Also, in more recent SF, John C. Wright has a recent short story in which the "Ring of the Nibelungs" is grafted onto a kilometers-long generational ship.

His politics are abominable, I'm afraid, but I like his writing.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

So is Spaceball 1 anywhere in that monstrosity of a graphic, or am I gonna have to call bullsh*t here?

Enjoy the rest of your day.

---Kevin Holsinger

tmk said...

One word: Dahak.


Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but I just watched the movie 'Europa Report' and it was pretty good! Low budget but they tried real hard to get the science right (within limits, like Trident rockets are not man-rated, among a lot of compromises for dramatic effect (how do they move through ice?))

JerryB said...

The Foundation series is my all time favorite Sci/Fi. It's been years since I read them. Maybe it's time to dig them out and read them again. Ever read The Minervan Experiment?

driftglass said...

Magnolia Epublishing,
You are more than welcome.

Nope, never read it.

JerryB said...

In my youth I was a voracious reader of Sci/Fi. You realize pretty quickly that the space ships and aliens are just a vehicle for what the story was all about, what the stories, at least the good sci/fi, were always about. Us. Mankind and how we deal with the universe in which we live.

The really good sci/fi is practically poetic.

drbopperthp said...

One name to rule them all:


smartalek said...

drbopperthp, I humbly and respectfully disagree.
Even in a realm as complex and multidimensional as literature (even genre lit, where there can be at least some conventional standards), where the very concept of one single "best" is near ludicrous, there is but one name, and it is not Mr Ellison's.
Nobody is better than the Bester... ever.

drbopperthp said...

Got A.B. jammed right up next to H.E. in my dedicated sci fi (urrkk!) book case. No argies here smartie - just a matter of who ya like bester ;-D.