Top 5 starships: Star Wars, comics, and UFOs
In honor of the release of Star Trek, Playtime is running science-fiction themed articles during the Month of May. And what could be more apropos than talkin’ about some of the most badass spaceships to be put on-screen? Regular Playtime contributors and posters were asked to submit lists of their Top 5 Starships. In Part 1 of 2 of Playtime’s Top 5 Starships, we have culled three of the most interesting submissions, covering everything from Star Wars to the legendary saucers of real-life visitations.
Lists appear courtesy of their authors, The Roommate, Brian Jewell, and Matthew Kessen.
Star Wars, submitted by “The Roommate”
5. Lambda-class shuttle. “It can’t accelerate worth a wheep and it turns slower than a comet, but if you get in its sights, it can blow you to itty-bitty pieces. It would be embarrassing to have to inform your family you got shot apart by a shuttle, so stay alert.” ―Villian Dance
4. TIE Fighter. “Sienar Systems’ basic TIE Fighter—a commodity which, after hydrogen and stupidity, was the most plentiful in the galaxy.” ―Corran Horn
3. TIE Interceptor. “Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he’s suicidal and bloodthirsty. When you see a squad of those maniacs flying your way, you’d better hope your hyperdrive is operational.” ―Kyle Katarn
2. Imperial II-class Star Destroyer. “Sir, the odds of surviving a direct assault on an Imperial Star Destroyer are precisely—” ―C-3PO
1. Darth Vader’s Super Star Destroyer Executor. “Assignment to the Executor is the fast track to promotion—as well as an early grave.” ―Saying on board the Executor
5. Nebulon B Escort Frigate. ”Just once, I’d like to destroy a starship that we didn’t pay for!” ―Imperial Admiral Hurkk at the Battle of Oovo IV
4. Mon Calamari Star Cruiser. ”Make no mistake, the Mon Calamari saved the galaxy. Their cruisers protected our fleet at the Battle of Endor, allowing the starfighters to penetrate the second Death Star’s core. Without Admiral Ackbar and his people, we would all be the Emperor’s slaves.” ―Mon Mothma
3. RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor. ”Any pilot who volunteers to fly an A-wing better be brave or crazy. Probably helps to be a little of both.” ―General Han Solo
2. BTL Y-Wing Starfighter. ”We’re using Y-wings because of their greater firepower. But they move like a sleepy Hutt, so watch it.” ―Luke Skywalker
1. Incom T-65 X-Wing Starfighter. ”The Incom T-65 X-wing is the fighter that killed the Death Star. An almost perfect balance of speed, maneuverability, and defensive shielding make it the fighter of choice for Rogue Squadron.” ―General Carlist Rieekan
5. Dash Rendar’s Corellian YT-2400 Outrider. “I owe the Outrider the best. She’s brought me home when any other ship would have scattered me across space.” ―Dash Rendar
4. Mirax Terrik’s Baudo class Star Yacht Pulsar Skate.
3. Prince Xizor’s StarViper class attack platform Virago. “I think that’s just about the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen.” ―Dash Rendar
2. Boba Fett’s Firespray class patrol craft Slave I. “My ship was built for speed, not luxury accommodations.” ―Boba Fett
1. Han Solo’s Corellian YT-1300 Millenium Falcon. “You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought!” ―Leia Organa
The Top Five Spaceships in Comics, submitted by Brian Jewell
The Mobius Chair (New Gods)
In his quest for knowledge, the demigod Metron zooms through time and space, from Earth to New Genesis to The Source, while seated in his comfy Mobius Chair. Sure it’s made of Element X and can transcend the cosmos, but the Mobius Chair is one cup-holder shy of being the ultimate Barcalounger — and that’s kind of silly but totally cool.
The lost shiftship (Planetary)
The huge, nameless ship discovered by the Planetary crew can travel through space and between dimensions — but what’s really cool is its interior design. While most spaceships are coldly utilitarian, the shiftship is a wonderland of colour, light and intricate detail — an Art Nouveau rebel in an universe ruled by the Bauhaus Empire.
Friday (Power Pack)
A sassy alien “smartship” with artificial intelligence, Friday mentors a team of young superheroes and talks like Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. Which prompts two questions: Am I tripping? And when can I move in?
Brainiac (as seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths)
Superman’s cyborg foe, Brainiac, had a ship that was not only striking looking, but very practical. As we’ve learned from Star Trek, a spaceship is a target for all kinds of outer space riffraff: pirates, refugees, imperialists, weird spores, and horny energy beings — none of whom probably want to mess around with the freaky tentacled skull.
Starjammer (var. X-Men titles)
This is really a nod to Sh’iar spaceships in general. The Sh’iar are like the Apple of outer space – they know how to combine form and function into a must-have objet. Their funky ships might look like insects, wings, Christmas tree ornaments, or Barbarella’s sex toys. Steve Jobs, pay attention: the future is bulbous.
Top Five UFOs, submitted by Matt Kessen
The difference between this list and the others given here is simple, but profound: These spacecraft are not fictional. Or actually, probably they are. But whereas claiming that the starship Enterprise is real will end you up in the part of the hospital where they’re legally allowed to keep you without consent, many rational people have seen and believed in the sorts of things that are on this list, and interpreted them as craft from outer space. We’re not saying they’re right. The case against them is compelling. But that doesn’t make their experiences not awesome.
And “awesome” is the watchword here. These are not necessarily UFOs that have been especially significant to the field of UFOlogy, nor those with any special claim to plausibility. They’re just the coolest ones. In my own estimation. And in no particular order.
On October 26th, 1967, in Dorset, England, a one Angus Brooks saw something he hadn’t seen before. It was a sort of short, translucent cylinder, which hove into view in the sky above at lightning speed. It had a long, needlelike structure, much longer than itself, pointing forward, and another three pointing back. As it went into a hover, two of the rear needles swung forward and to the side, forming an X-shape. It stayed that way, stationary, for 22 minutes; then, the two moving needles swung to join the one that had pointed forward, and the object hurtled away, backward, a single needle pointing the way once again. Cool!
A number of people saw a colossal triangle in the sky near Pelotas, Brazil on October 5th, 1996, but it was stunt flyer Haraldo Westendorf who got the best view of it, flying to within 130 feet of it in his Piper Apache. He described it as a brown, faceted cone, like a pyramid with extra sides – eight to ten sides total, not including the base and the rounded top. Each side had three roughly triangular lumps; he estimated its size as 225 feet in height and 325 feet around at its bottom. Suddenly, the rounded top disappeared, replaced by a hole. And from this hole emerged a simple, classic flying saucer, pointing upwards. This saucer then leveled itself flat and sped away. Westendorf decided to fly closer to the hole, but changed his plan when red light beams began to emerge from it. Moments later, the cone hurtled straight up into the sky. Flying saucers seem like versatile, high-performance craft; it’d be great to have one. How much better, then, to have a giant flying machine that spits them out?
It was October again – seemingly a good month for unusual UFOs. Specifically, it was October 18th, 1973. The crew of an Army Reserve Huey helicopter over Mansfield, Ohio spotted a red light coming towards them; they briefly contacted Mansfield Approach Control by radio before the radio went dead. The captain sent the ‘copter into a dive, but momentarily, the light was upon them. It was attached to the front end of a grey, metallic, cigar-shaped object, which now hung motionless above them. On its top was a slight dome, with windows; on its rear end was a white light, and a green spotlight. The green swept the area below it, including the helicopter, filling its cockpit with its remarkable glow. Then the UFO departed, its retreating white light soon disappearing over the horizon. It was noticed that the control stick was still down from the descent – and yet the helicopter was now climbing at 1000 feet per minute. For all of its mysterious behavior, beams of light, and high speed, this had been remarkably prosaic, for a UFO; not the usual blob of light or simple disc, but a metal object, with a front and a rear, and windows, and all. An almost human craft – from the future, perhaps? Most likely not.
The UFO seen by Father William Gill and several dozen other people in Papua New Guinea on June 26th, 1959, was mostly unremarkable in appearance; it had the shape of an inverted saucer, with four pointy legs hanging down. The fact that it remained in view for quite some time was remarkable, though, as was its return the following night, where it stuck around for hours – enough time, in fact, that its viewers actually lost interest. But most unusual of all was the railing visible on top of the craft, and the four humanoid figures visible behind it. Figures that, when Father Gill waved at them, waved back. How pleasant! How friendly! How casual! With all of these saucers zipping madly about, sucking up hapless motorists and doing terrible things to cattle, it’s so nice to see an alien spacecraft be a bit more relaxed.
Like Father Gill’s sighting, the ship that Betty Andreasson saw on January 25th, 1967, in South Ashburnham, Massachusetts, was not unusual in itself. It was the common ovoid sort, like two bowls glued together at their rims; in this case the upper bowl was deeper than the lower. Betty was brought aboard, as will happen, and here’s where this one gets exciting: She eventually saw enough of the inside of the ship that a full, two-level schematic of its interior could later be made. This ship – apparently led by a traditional Grey called Quazgaa – had all the basics: examination room, exam prep room, elevator, hallways, an office, the whole bit. It was even tricked out with a cylindrical room with eight glass chairs with glass covers, in which a human would sit to be covered in fluid. That’s the good stuff. Now, admittedly, Mrs. Andreasson recalled all this ten years later, and under hypnosis only – a dodgy technique of memory retrieval. But that’s no reason to stop us from admiring Quazgaa’s fine rig.
Edited by Matt Schneider and Tracy McCusker.