Movie spaceship of the day: USCSS Nostromo

Title Movie spaceship of the day: USCSS Nostromo
Author Brandon Cackowski-Schnell
Posted in Features
When October 8, 2013

The USCSS Nostromo was a starfreighter, not a starfighter or even a cruiser. It was nothing but a space tugboat, used to push loads of cargo between the stars..

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One of the things I love about this pick is that you don't really get much an idea about what the Nostromo looks like. You're constantly inside it, or seeing a landing strut in low visibility, or looking out a small portal. Even the establishing shots don't give you much of an image other than some huge platforms hauled through space. Is that the Nostromo, or just the storage in tow? I can easily sketch the outline of the Enterprise or Sulaco or the booby ship from Battle Beyond the Stars. But the Nostromo? From watching Alien, I would have no idea what it would look like on a Spaceship Silhouette Recognition Chart. By keeping us inside, Alien connects the audience with the crew.

Sigh. Remember when Ridley Scott made awesome movies?


Because I am a bad person, I am rereading the Honor Harrington books. I describe them to my wife thusly: "the Space English and the Space Mormons have teamed up to take on the Space French. Eventually they Space French sign on with the other two in a fight against the Space UN."

What makes the Nostromo a great ship- and the Harrington books kinda sad- is that the Nostromo makes you _feel_ the terror. Time is taken at the beginning of the movie to show you the spaces, show the people doing normal people things, and... then everything goes to hell.

In the Honor stories, everything is about cool competence and the occasional halfhearted acknowledgment that things could go badly.

The difference is that the Nostromo shows horror, and the various honorships say horror.

Man, you are so dead on. When I was looking for pictures for this post I was repeatedly surprised as to what the Nostromo actually looked like.