Wed
Jul 16 2014 3:00pm

There and Back Again: Our Favorite Forms of Fictional Transport

Hogwarts Express SFF transport

The temperature is climbing here in Manhattan, which has all of us at Tor.com dreaming of getting away for a while. And since we’re on the subject, how cool would it be if you could take the TARDIS to your favorite vacation spot? Soar over the crowds on Miami Beach on the back of your very own dragon, or skip the lines at the Eiffel Tower by apparating yourself straight to the top? If you answered “pretty darn cool” then you, my friend, are correct.

We recently asked the Twitterverse how you’d like to arrive at your favorite summer vacation spot, and we’ve compiled a list of the twelve best forms of fictional transportation based on your answers!

T.A.R.D.I.SDoctor Who

Now that classes have ended, how are you going to fill your summer calendar? You could start by watching the birth of our sun, then have a spot of tea with an Ood on their home planet, flirt shamelessly with Jack Harkness, pop over to London to save the world in the nick of time, and then cap it off with a nice, quiet afternoon of shopping on the Planet of Hats. Whatever it is, wherever it is, whenever it is—The TARDIS can take you there. And it has bunk beds!

ImpalaSupernatural

Not just any classic muscle car will do. No, it has to be the 1967 Chevy Impala with the army man in the armrest and the Legos stuck in the vents and the initials of the Winchester brothers carved under its carriage—all the little things that make it theirs. And ours. It’s been the most important object in the world and a home to Sam and Dean across thousands of miles of long, hard road, and we’d trust it to take us just about anywhere.

SerenityFirefly

We might not be as fierce as Kaylee in defending this flying piece of go se, but we’re pretty close. Serenity may only be 269 feet from bow to stern and may be practically unarmed and sure, she was old even when Mal first laid eyes on her, but she’s still home. It’s like Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly, said: “We choose which meaning we give to these objects. A gun can be a stick, a ship can be a soul, and a TV show can be important, even if no one watches it.”

Hogwarts Express—Potterverse

If the storm of letters pouring into the Dursley’s home or Hagrid showing up in the middle of the sea didn’t convince Harry (or the reader) that the wizarding world was real, then running between Platforms 9 and 10 and seeing the Hogwarts Express all shining and crimson certainly convinced us all. With its roomy compartments and trolley filled with treats, a ride on the Express is almost more exciting then its destination! And if Hogwarts will ways be there to welcome us home, then we can always count on the Hogwarts Express to get us there safely.

Dragon

Let’s see, there’s Saphira and Toothless and Draco and Falcor and Drogon and Rhaegal and Viserion and Aithusa and Kilgharrah and... So which dragon do you choose? Any of them, really. All of them. RIDE ALL THE DRAGONS! *Ahem* What we mean to say is that no matter which one you choose, you can’t go wrong with an age-old mythical beast that breathes fire, flies, and has scales made from concentrated kickass. You just can’t.

The Normandy—Mass Effect

You might have thought you’d seen the last of the Normandy after that encounter with the Collector ship, but that was until Cerberus created the SR-2. The new ship is a little bulkier than its predecessor, but it comes with some new perks, too—like leather chairs and a brand new kitchen for its crew, and it’s still as stealthy as ever. With the Normandy’s Javelin Disruptor Torpedos and Thanix Cannon at your disposal, you’ll be ready to explore even the most hostile corners of the galaxy.

The EnterpriseStar Trek: The Original Series

Home more than 400 Federation members, including our beloved bridge crew, the USS Enterprise has survived almost everything a ship can. It’s been taken over by hyperaccelerated aliens and a super-computer gone awry (and we don’t mean Mirror!Spock or his striking facial hair), battled Romulans and strange energy webs alike, and defeated the Doomsday Machine. With all that behind it, one little summer vacation should be no problem, so set those engines to Warp 8 and boldly go wherever your heart desires.

Apparation or Portkey Potterverse

Even smelly old boots are cooler in the wizarding world than they are for the rest of us Muggles. At least if that boot happens to be a Portkey and especially if the destination is the Quidditch World Cup (let’s go Bulgaria!). But if you don’t have any questionable footwear available, you could always apparate instead. It may feel like being “forced through a very tight rubber tube,” but it certainly looks like fun, and it has to be safer than Floo Powder (isn’t everything, though?).

The DeLoreanBack to the Future

Stainless steel paneling, a V6 engine, the ability to travel through time, and those awesome doors that swing up and down. All that’s standing between you and the adventure of a lifetime is a bit of Plutonium and whatever’s in that trash can over there. Economical and stylish, the DeLorean is arguably the coolest way to meet your future children while avoiding a potentially devastating time paradox. Just do us a favor and bring us back some hoverboards, okay?

Green Lanterns Ring—Green Lantern Comics

They don’t call it “the most powerful weapon in the universe” for nothing. This power ring can encase you in a protective, life-supporting force field, give you the ability to fly and to travel through inhospitable environments, and clothe you in a snazzy Green Lantern uniform (who doesn’t look great in that much spandex?). Weapon, accessory, outfit, and transportation all in one—all you need to bring is your sunscreen!

Colonial ViperBattlestar Galactica

If it’s good enough for Starbuck, then it’s good enough for me. The Colonial Vipers were a vital asset in defending Galactica from numerous threats. In the right hands, they can maneuver swiftly, inflict some serious damage with their kinetic energy weapons, take a hit and still bring you back in one piece. And judging from the smile on Starbuck’s face, it must be pretty fun, too. So go on—explore, pick a few fights, find a new planet—then grab your gun and bring the cat in.

Stargate—Stargate Universe

Who knew that the event horizon of a wormhole could be so pretty and shiny and blue? Its good looks conceal a very serious technology, as Stargates are capable of transporting you to thousands of planets across dozens of galaxies. So if you’d like to check out the weather on Europa or see the Pegasus Galaxy firsthand, a Stargate may be your best option. As long as you don’t mind being demolecularized, transmitted over thousands of light-years through subspace, and rematerialized on the other side. Count me in!

 

What did we miss? Add your favorite forms of fictional transport in the comments below!


This article was written and researched by Ashley Mullins.

52 comments
TheMadLibrarian
1. TheMadLibrarian
No love for an X-wing (or if you lean towards the Dark Side, a TIE Fighter)?
TheMadLibrarian
2. Porphyrogenitus
No Millenium Falcon? Color me shocked. The Blue Beetle (of Dresden Files fame) would have been a fun addition, too.
Andrew Berenson
3. AndrewHB
How about some love for villans. How about the Cylon raider (new Battlestar Gallactica)? You just have to put up with the smell.

A Klingon warship or the Ranger class warship on Babylon 5. You have to like a ship with a workable cloaking device (which eliminates the Weasley's car in ACOS).

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Zack Twigg
4. zackattack
Agreed with 1 and 2. The lack of anything from Star Wars seems like a glaring oversight. I've always wanted my own personal star destroyer.
Stefan Raets
5. Stefan
The Heart of Gold (with infinite improbability drive) from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

And - do wormholes count?
TheMadLibrarian
9. Hampus Eckerman
Nautilus would be really great.
Thomas Thatcher
12. StrongDreams
Apparating was cool even back when it was called jaunting. Portkeys are a mess, though, bureaucratically controlled, apt to dump you who knows where, and if anything can be a portkey, I want a portkey neutralizing bracelet--otherwise, the darker corners of the wizard world are likely full of portkey facilitated kidnappings for ransom.

Hogwarts express, not really cool, because everyone knows about it. It's only cool because its in such a popular series. For pure style, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang have the train beat by miles.

I think you have to include a Gunstar, because you can learn to fly it by playing video games.

And the Motorway in "Gridlock," because that's what every car trip with a toddler feels like.

And how about pedestrian beltways moving at 100mph in The Roads Must Roll.
TheMadLibrarian
13. Dr. Batman
Umm.......Batmobile? C'mon man.
Bekah W
14. odysseus
How did the Millennium Falcon not make this list?

I'm all about dragons though.
Chris Nelly
15. Aeryl
No Falcon? FOR REAL?

Man, Tor, I though I knew ya!
Deana Whitney
16. Braid_Tug
See, I would love to have a Floo Powder network connection to my mom's house - 3.5 hours away. Daycare would be much less of a worry.

I just don't trust my ablity to apparate when tired.

And there would finally be a real reason to have a fireplace in Texas.
Jeff Youngstrom
18. jeffy
Lucy's car from Despicable Me 2. Compact and versatile.
Sarah Tolf
19. TorSarah
@15 Aeryl
We're not ALL Star Wars experts around here (just don't tell anyone I said that!)
That said, I wouldn't mind a landspeeder to zip around in...
Colin Bell
20. SchuylerH
It's not just about the vehicle. As such, I would probably want to take a showboat down the Lower Vissel River, provided that the owner was sharp-witted and I had a bodyguard sufficiently stout of constitution... A Reynoldsian holoship might be interesting for interstellar travel (but definitely not a lighthugger).
TheMadLibrarian
21. Cybersnark
Nitpick; the Stargate pictured is actually the "digital" gate from Atlantis. As opposed to the "analogue" gates used in SG-1 and the "antique" gates seen in SGU.


As for my pick, I still consider the Andromeda Ascendant to be pretty much the perfect starship; as intelligent as she is beautiful.
Adam S.
22. MDNY
Others have already pointed out the numerous glaring Star Wars omissions, I'll add speeders to that list... I have a couple that I think would be sweet, that haven't been listed, though my first choice would be the DeLorean by land and probably the Millenium Falcon for air/space travel..
The only thing that I can't think of not covered in the comments is:
Bill and Ted's Time Machine Phone Booth- Who doesn't want to meet "Beeth-Oven" and Sigmund Frood?
Shelly wb
23. shellywb
I have no idea why, but the first thing that came to mind for me was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The second was Gwaihir Windlord from LOTR.
Beccy Higman
24. Jazzlet
The Liberator from Blake's Seven. And that shows both my age and the country I grew up in.

Although the Andromeda Ascendant would come a close second.
Bruce Arthurs
25. Bruce-Arthurs
Hell Tanner's cross-country armored-&-weaponized vehicle from Zelazny's Damnation Alley.
Sean Tabor
26. wingracer
Cat bus. Must have more cat bus.

Or a sunken WWII Japanese battleship converted to a space going warship with the biggest gun ever short of the Death Star.

Or a talking Trans Am.

Or a weaponized and gadgetized (is that a word?) Aston Martin DB 5.

Or speaking of gadgets, how about helicopter blades coming out of my head?

SDF 1
YouDont NeedToKnow
27. necrosage2005
Since when is a very real Impala a form of fictional transpotation?
YouDont NeedToKnow
28. necrosage2005
I guess I just don't get the criteria. Would the Mystery Machine also have qualified then? How about the A-Team? I'd at the very least added K.I.T.T.
TheMadLibrarian
30. Russell H
The Celestial Omnibus, from E.M. Forster's story of the same name.
Robert Dickinson
31. ChocolateRob
How about a holiday with Recall, no travel hassel involved at all, just the memories of a great holiday.
TheMadLibrarian
33. wyoarmadillos
What no mention of some steam-punk airships?
Perhaps Captain Shakespeare's ship from Stardust or something from Emile and the Sky World? Surely Tor.com would have other famous ficitonal airships among their favorite modes of transit?
TheMadLibrarian
34. Lucid Space Dog
A Silver Machine
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
35. Lisamarie
I also vote for more Falcon!

Not to mention the transporters in Star Trek!
TheMadLibrarian
36. Alastair Park
Shadowfax.
TheMadLibrarian
37. RudyToo
I second the vote for the Star Trek transporters, which function perfectly every time--except when the plot needs them to fail.
TheMadLibrarian
39. Nightspren
I always like the Raptors. Missles, FTL, very roomy-what's not to like?
Also, pegasi. The manly kind.
TheMadLibrarian
40. Jerun22
Where are broomsticks from Potterverse?
Apparition is tricky for first timers and can cause eyebrows and limbs to vanish!
TheMadLibrarian
41. The Bookwyrm's Hoard
What about these? Wardrobe, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Companions, from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books (they look like white horses, but they're not.) Wormhole, from ST:DS9. Pegasi, from the Percy Jackson books. Tesseract, for heaven's sake! (A Wrinkle in Time.)

Oh, and you forgot to mention one of my favorite dragons: Temeraire.
TheMadLibrarian
42. Anna_Wing
The Lexx, obviously.
Lish McBride
43. Lishism
I second Starbug! Also, Falcor from Neverending Story. C'mon-who didn't want a luck dragon? Oh, and Llyan the giant horse-sized cat from the Prydain books. Always wanted one of those.
TheMadLibrarian
44. Stephen Price
I'd vote for the Gateways used for Travelling in the Wheel of Time.
TheMadLibrarian
45. Tehanu
A "gate" from Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky. Go from New York to the Grand Canyon in one step -- or from Earth to a faraway planet.

And what about the Dawn Treader?
TheMadLibrarian
46. mark burt
A Guild Heighliner (from Dune) is pretty out there for transport I would think.
TheMadLibrarian
47. (still) Steve Morrison
The Millennium Falcon will always be the best. What other form of fictional transport can make the Kessel run in under twelve parsecs, or, indeed, in any number of parsecs?
TheMadLibrarian
48. Gatchaman
I'll take the Phoenix from Gatchaman (aka Battle of the Planets) along with all its companion vehicles.
TheMadLibrarian
49. Totchos
Any Harry Potter means of transport - Thestral, Floo Powder, Knight Bus, giant sized flying motorcycle, Vanishing Cabinet.

Flying Winnebago

Ley Gate

Hall of Worlds

Burning Steel and Iron

The Slyph
Kerly Luige
51. Celebrinnen
HELL YES for Dean's Impala!
And I add my vote to gateways (would sure love those, big time), and the Falcon making the list.
TheMadLibrarian
52. Snarkoid
One of the Pern (Anne McCaffrey) Dragons - flying, telepathic and space/time hopping transport all in one bronze/gold/brown/blue/green/white dragon! What's not to like ?

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