Main Space Is An Ocean Discussion

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07:48:04 AM Sep 5th 2017
90% of this "trope" is just basic human necessity, not a desire to portray space like the ocean.

Your list of qualities of this "trope" are basically the foundation of the argument that this is simply reality. Space IS an ocean for many intents and purposes. Most poignantly, unlike land, humans need a vessel to cross it to get to livable destinations.

We put windows and seats on a bridge in a forward facing topside position because we have to steer things that move and our heads are on top of our bodies and we look forward.. Nothing at all to do with oceans or space. Cars have navigation positions forward facing, on top and upfront too. If you have to steer something you want to see where you are steering. We have a "top" and a "forward" not because we think spacecraft should look like sea-faring vessels, but because THAT IS HOW WE EXIST. We face "forward" and move "forward" and we have a bias to this because it's how we function as a living organism. I'm sure if we were more like octopuses our spacecraft could be sphere shaped with wings shooting out in every direction and no "up" or "down". Again, nothing to do with oceans and space.

We need an "up" and "down" and "top" and "bottom" to function. Aircraft have up and down. Cars have up and down. Our biology makes it a necessity. We need orientation.

You can dream of limitlessness of space and then complain we only portray it as a sea with 2D limitations, but it's not the sea or space that has these limits, it's us.

This entire "trope" ignores basic human biology and then tries to ascribe the characteristics we present as space travel as being unnecessarily derivative of seafaring. Yet in many ways they are identical. In every way they are derived from a single source, human biological needs. Whether it is a direct correlation, or simply acknowledging we already have terminology.

Where's the trope for "Everything new is ancient Greek/Latin"? It's the same ineffective argument. We slap Greek/Latin words on new technology all the time. Where's that trope. Nevermind port/starboard, ship/boat, we have "automobile" (Greek - self, Latin - moving) "aeroplane" ( Greek - "air", Latin - "level"). I guess we thought cars were an extension of chariots amirite? Flying chariots. Sea Chariots. Space Chariots. Space is Greece. This is not logic. This whole trope is bunk.

09:26:13 PM Apr 18th 2012
I can't seem to able to edit this in (probably because I'm a freshly registered user), but I'd like to mention under "Real life" that this trope appears in language (And probably has been doing so since the beginning of actual space travel and before):

We're calling people who're going to space (and people who went there) "astronauts" - literally "star-sailors" in many western european languages and "kosmonauts" - "space-sailors" - in eastern european languages. Given the translations the german Wiktionary has to offer - minus the asian ones, where i can't track the etymology - only Danish seems to deviate with "rumpilot" - "space pilot" (

Also, in German, the only term for "spacecraft" (encompassing the whole class of vehicles made for space travel) is "Raumschiff" - "space-ship". Space craft of the Space Shuttle or Buran variety - large, reusable, manned, aircraft-style design and reentry mode - are called "Raumfähre" - "space-ferry". Even the term for space travel is "Raumfahrt" - "space-fare" as in "seafare" as opposed to "space flight" (While the term "Raumflug" exists, it is used rather seldomly, referring only to specific space flight events, but not to the whole concept of travelling in space).

12:22:16 PM Jul 29th 2010
edited by GrizzlyJer
I don't think the following section really has anything to do with space being an ocean. It looks to me like it has more to do with space being portrayed in an unrealistic way. Am I missing something? I don't want to get too delete-happy until I'm sure.

  • Spaceships often have artificial gravity, even if there is no realistic explanation why or how. Depending on the show, it can be mild or strong.

    • Two reasons. In universe, it's just easier to work and live if stuff isn't going floaty all the time. And as far as production goes, zero G is hard to simulate and harder to simulate well.

  • Asteroids ALWAYS have artificial gravity, and it is almost always "Full" gravity. But can some times be explained away by the author.
  • People can be born in space or on the moon with no detrimental birth defects due to low gravity.
12:37:23 PM Jul 29th 2010
edited by girlyboy
You're right. I think all these points AND "ships have decks parallel to direction of travel" AND "ships have a noticeable "up" and "down"" can be combined into, basically, one point that sums all this up.
  • "There's an "up" and "down" in space, and space-ships are laid out accordingly, with decks parallel to their direction of travel (usually using Artificial Gravity), and a clear "top" and "bottom." This is so they can look and function more like naval ships."
Or... something like that, but better worded.

Otherwise it does indeed sound like Space Does Not Work That Way, which is much broader.
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