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Living Ship

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Who's a good spaceship? It's you!

"I'm lost in some distant part of the universe on a ship — a living ship — full of strange alien life forms..."
John Crichton, Farscape

You know what's cooler than a Cool Ship? A cool organic ship. A ship that lives and grows and heals any space battle damage as you go.

These ships can run the gamut from being completely non-intelligent (generally comparable to plants) to having animal instincts (the crew often serves more as handlers than as pilots, in this case) or being completely intelligent and self-aware.

The exact nature of the ships ranges from being mere cyborgs to fully Organic Technology. How organic they actually look varies greatly. These types of ships tend to be grown more often than made in a shipyard. Sometimes, the ship will also be a Space Whale.

The great thing about both the organic and semi-organic living ships is that they're a very easy way to make your series seem ultra-science-fictiony by encasing organic bodies in sleek metal shells. If you want to go for something more alien, then you can take the Organic Technology route and have corridors that look like great big arteries.

The idea of a living ship also opens up plenty of story opportunities, simultaneously funny and serious. Imagine a show where the biological ship catches a cold, runs a fever, and keeps sneezing its occupants into space.

Not to be confused with Setting as a Character, in which the ship is only treated as alive by the cast, or Mechanical Lifeforms, which are living machines. If the ship is a machine except for a "brain", it's a Wetware CPU. Can overlap with Sapient Ship, though a living ship isn't necessarily sapient, and a sapient ship isn't necessarily biologically alive. If it's a Living Cool Airship, then it's probably also a Living Gasbag.

Super-Trope to Tree Vessel.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the manga AKIRA: Tetsuo merges with an American aircraft carrier, it becomes an extension of his body, twisting and contorting. Veins and pipes mix as he turns the ship against it's naval taskforce.
  • Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has the cast boarding a seemingly-abandoned freighter which suddenly comes to life and starts trying to kill them. Suspecting the involvement of a Stand, they eventually discover that the entire ship itself is a Stand, powerful enough to be visible even to non-Stand Users (when Stands are normally Invisible to Normals,) and which starts rotting and decaying after its Stand User is defeated
  • Knights of Sidonia: The Gauna are capable of amalgamating to form living ship-like structures called Mass Union Clusters.
  • The Kunihiko Ikuhara and Mamoru Nagano collaboration Light Novel Schell Bullet features the enormous sentient star liners.
  • The Vajra from Macross Frontier are a fleet of these with a hive mind.
  • In Nobunagun the Evolutionary Invasion Objects create one of these out of the sunken husk of the warship Musashi, which is subsequently codenamed the "Musashi Wonder."
  • The spaceships in Outlanders are gigantic bio-engineered organisms.
  • The Flying Dutchman from Soul Eater is able to turn buildings and vehicles into living things, starting with the Ghost Ship Nidhogg (capable of devouring almost an entire village in a single bite) and then moving on to an entire factory.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: The Juraian spacecraft are powered by living, semi-sentient trees. The parent of them all is not only fully sentient, but a goddess — and the alter ego of one of the main characters. Also, Ryo-Ohki and Fuku, who are the cute mascot characters that transforms into a Living Ship.
  • Vandread: the Nirvana (or more accurately its power source, the Paksis) is alive, but communicates more through feelings rather than words.
    • At one point, the Nirvana does have to "go poop", as one of the characters puts it.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority's home base, The Carrier, counts, even down to being a Deadpan Snarker.
  • Legends of Zita the Spacegirl has Shippy, a small organic ship that Madrigal gives to Zita. Looking like a cross between a bug and a flower, Shippy can receive Zita's commands telepathically. Initially it can't fly on its own and has to be fitted with external engines, but in a later scene when Zita's in trouble outside and calling to it, it literally shrugs off its non-organic components and flies to the rescue.
  • The "Cetacyborgs" (Space Whale types) in The Metabarons.
  • Bioship, the resurrected version of Biotron from Micronauts (Marvel Comics).
  • PS238 has a cyborg version: the Argonite ship that Tyler and Ron were using, the Valiant Lance, got attacked by some sort of space squid. Long story short, the two wound up fused together, gained sapience and now goes by "Vance." He currently works for Cecil.
  • Shakara: The Psico Hierarchy travel around in living ships shaped like floating brains.
  • Superboy (1994): Kossak's massive space ship is revealed to have organic fleshy parts between the metal walls and floors as Kon-El sneaks around the ship trying to rescue his friends and avoid capture.
  • X-Men: The Brood used lobotomized Space Whales for transport, and the surviving ones at liberty were both sapient and not happy at all about the situation.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Epoch: Act completely autonomously and seem to be so advanced that they can change shape, resurrect the dead, and change between matter and energy forms with ease. It is theorized that they may have started life on Earth, controlling its cycles of extinction and recovery.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thanos's forces have the Leviathans, armored serpentine creatures that also act as space-capable transports for ground troops. As with the Chitauri infantry they carry, they seem to be mechanical to some extent as they die when the mothership is destroyed. Most of them don't carry weapons, and even the few observed examples that do are restricted to a handful of infantry-scale plasma guns mounted on their chests. They're 65 meters long and about the size of a modern navy frigate (scaling up a 30 meter, 150 ton blue whale, they'd be 1,840 tons without their armor and maybe ~2,400 tons with it, assuming their plate armor is proportionally as heavy as plate armor on a human). They show up in multiple films such as The Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, and Spiderman Homecoming.
  • Men in Black 3: The Boglodite fleet that starts its invasion in 2012 right before Agent J can time jump and fix the timeline to avoid it appear to be chromed Living Gasbags with fleshy, pulsating, tentacled underbellies.
  • Nope: Turns out the flying saucer isn't a ship that abducts people, but actually a living being that eats them. In fact, the saucer is just a compacted form; its true form is much more eldritch and alien.
  • It's subtly implied in the novelization of Pacific Rim that the Jaegers may be becoming this due to the drift technology.
    Raleigh heard stories of crews being surprised in the maintenance bays by Jaegers twitching and shifting even though their Conn-Pods were deactivated and empty. It was part of Ranger folklore that sometimes when you dreamed about your Jaeger, the Jaeger felt the dream and moved with you.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Some scenes suggest this of the Flying Dutchman... with the twist that it seems to absorb its occupants! Part of the ship, part of the crew, indeed.
  • In War of the Worlds (2005), the Tripods appear to have an organic component to them, although it isn't clear exactly how far this extends beyond the "mouth" that one uses in an attempt to take Ray. If they need to feed frequently on something as large as a person, though, then the amount of living matter inside of one is probably significant.

  • Beloved in Walter Jon Williams's Angel Station is a member of a race of living ships, who use genetically-engineered servants to maintain them and do various tasks like load cargo, the most prominent of which is General Volitional Twelve, who is sent to study humans and act as her envoy. At the end of the novel, Beloved's trade (high quality drugs for computers) with the newly-discovered human siblings Ubu Roy and Beautiful Maria results in prosperity for both sides, although it is hinted that Beloved's "people's" exposure to humans will eventually lead to their demise.
    • Beloved is fully-organic, with parts grown instead of built. This still requires acquiring the proper genetic codes from other ships of her species. It is shown, however, that their navigational organs are horribly imprecise at jump calculations. When Ubu Roy offers simple mining computers for this purpose, they are significantly better at this.
      • Of course, these "simple" mining computers are light-years ahead of current computer technology, as they're able to process data at FTL speeds thanks to something called macro-molecules.
  • The Boojumverse story Boojum by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette has Space Pirates using a boojum (a gas giant swimmer which has evolved into a spacefaring creature) to hunt down and eat metal-hulled spaceships.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Aliens II: Veeplex's ship in The Very Long Distance Wrong Number. He gives the protagonists a baby drive-beast as thanks for helping him.
  • In Geoff Ryman's The Child Garden the spaceships, like a lot of other things, are organic, and are connected mentally to the astronauts.
  • The Willflower from Colony becomes one of these thanks to engineereal evolution. Of course, this causes no end of problems for the crew until the end of the book when Eddie gets to meet the ship.
  • The Culture: Look to Windward: Behemothaurs, giant flying creatures which double as airships for the creatures living on their backs.
  • Discworld: Great A'Tuin himself (or possibly herself), the giant turtle with the Discworld on its back, where all the books are set. It even has a self defense system, based on actual turtles, where it spins around to avoid meteorites.
    • It's not a spaceship, but in The Last Continent, the God of Evolution creates a plant that grows galleons as fruit in order to get the wizards off his island. It has a leaf sail, a trumpet-like flower that detects land in the crows nest, and the seeds are surfboards.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • In Sky Pirates!, the eponymous pirates acquire a Cool Ship that is a living organism.
    • Eventually the Eighth Doctor Adventures managed to produce the humanoid TARDISes, Type-103 or 104 in comparison to the Doctor's Type-40. Those were, indeed, capable of interacting with others normally with nobody the wiser. Eventually, a companion of the Eighth Doctor was transformed into this type of ship, and was used in this capability.
    • Faction Paradox is here to remind you: Living Ship + Sapient Ship + Time Travel + Psycho Prototype = Oh, Crap!
    • In Engines of War, the Doctor describes a TARDIS graveyard as a home for old friends and points out to Cinder you can't run away with one without its permission.
  • In the French novel Etoiles Mourantes by Ayerdhal and Jean-Claude Dunyach, city-animals are giant space-dwelling aliens capable of Faster-Than-Light Travel. As their name implies, they are able to host other species, including humans, inside them.
  • In The Expanse, Laconian Magnetar-class battlecruisers have self-healing hull plating, a shape described as a vertebra from a giant the size of a planet, and are said to be grown rather than built at the Laconian shipyards.
  • The Fall Of The Galaxy, the fleet of the Bargon Empire almost entirely consists of small biomechanical raider ships instead of the Standard Sci-Fi Fleet, which is used by the other major human powers (the Galaxy and the Seven Systems' Union). These ships have proven to be extremely effective at operating both on their own and in small groups to conduct raids into enemy territory and wreak havoc with supply lines and even destroy major targets before jumping to safety. Despite the fact that the ships are crewed, the demands of fast-paced ship-to-ship combat require split-second decisions that are best made by the biomechanical brains of the ships themselves. Normal raider ships with electronic brains have proven themselves vastly inferior to the melding of rapid computer calculations and biological unpredictability.
  • Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings has living submarines, based upon existing whale species.
  • Genesis Quest and its sequel Second Genesis: had ships made from giant spacegoing trees which caught comets in their roots for water and nutrients, and used reflective outer leaves as solar sails.
  • The Godwhale: the Roqual Maru is an organic plankton-harvester ship that was built on/in/around (take your pick) a blue whale.
  • Hyperion Cantos: the Templar create living "Treeships", gargantuan trees fitted with star drives. The treeships are made inhabitable by force fields created by weird space creatures that may or may not be sentient themselves.
  • Gerard Klein's short story "Jonah" features ubionasts, organic ships weighing half a billion tons. The protagonist's job is to pacify them when they go rogue.
  • The Last Angel centers on Red One, which is non-organic but has developed 'life' in the form of humanoid combat robots and insectoid repair drones. She describes herself as the ship and views damage sustained as 'injuries'.
    • The mysterious Naiads turn out to be an entire species of living ships composed of a seamless blend of mechanical and organic technology.
  • The League of Peoples 'Verse: the Divian races use living ships called Zaretts. One named Starbiter features prominently in Ascending.
  • Leviathan: is basically the lovechild of an airship and a blue whale. The British Empire makes lots of these half-machine, half-organisms.
  • Lilith's Brood: the gene-trading, three-gendered aliens have spaceships that are more or less plants that can be communicated with. Their seeds are planted on planets where they gradually take over the entire surface before launching off as independent spaceships.
  • The Liveship Traders trilogy has many living ships with sapient, talking, humanoid figureheads.
  • The Lords of Creation: In the Courts of the Crimson Kings: the martians are masters of organic technology. Their landships and airships are both grown from living tissue, though they are not sentient. The landships have backup "engines" that are essentially a kind of land-based squid.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy: there are both spaceships (Voidhawks and Blackhawks) and habitats (space stations that can be tens of kilometres long) that are alive and sentient, based on "bitek", a kind of organic technology.
  • Old Kingdom: Paperwing aircraft are animated with Charter magic and have some degree of sapience, though they don't bother communicating with humans. Nick gets a surprise when he compliments a paperwing's flight and it does a happy little flourish in response.
  • The Polity novels: Jain tech is an organic thing and can grow living ships.
  • In Refugees, the Benefactors' spaceship is apparently an intelligent living organism; it kills humans when they attempt to hijack it.
  • Saga of the Exiles: The Tanu and Firvulag arrived from another galaxy via a starship that was a huge living organism which used its own psychic powers to travel via hyperspace.
  • In Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather, the main characters live on a giant slug-like ship called Our Lady of Impossible Constellations.
  • The short story "The Specialist" by Robert Sheckley is about several aliens species who make up a living ship, but this one has lost a certain part...
  • One Star Trek short story about young Ben Sisko and a previous Dax, involves a species that uses living ships. A ship is controlled by the crew, biologically linked together, although most of the crew are separate beings. The story resolves around another species that has a 3rd gender that links the first two genders together, to be able to mate, and a member of that species and gender ends up taking the place of a member of the ship's crew, due to her mental linking powers and other political reasons.
  • Star Wars Legends: The Yuuzhan Vong, introduced in a five-year book saga, New Jedi Order. This race organically grows everything, from clothes to communication devices to sewage disposal systems to weapons. Organic spaceships were inevitable. There's also Zonama Sekot, a Genius Loci planet that combines organic matter and technology to create living ships. It's known as the Rogue Planet because it also did this to itself. The similarities are not coincidental.
  • The titular Tin Woodman from the novel is a living ship that requires a humanoid as pilot (resulting in an And I Must Scream situation as they eventually end up a minor component to the ship). Was adapted for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Tin Man".
  • In Tuf Voyaging, the biological warship Tuf 'inherits' as the last surviving member of a freelance salvage team is specifically NOT sentient, though it could have been made so; there is mention of other Earth warships with AI installed mutinying and/or fighting each other.
  • In the Uplift novel Heaven's Reach, many Jijoan colonists are taken to explore distant galaxies aboard a hydrogen-based Living Ship.
  • West of Eden: the Yilané have a civilization built entirely on genetics and selective breeding, and use gigantic genetically modified icythyosaurs for trans-Atlantic shipping.
  • Wild Cards: the Takisians use and breed sentient (or semi-sentient) ships. Dr. Tachyon's ship — which he named "Baby" — regenerates its "ghost drive gland" over a period of years or decades, after he burned it out trying to go real fast.
  • Xeelee Sequence: a race of spacegoing, whale-like starships called the Spline, who intentionally modified themselves to be able to survive in space.
    • Arguably the Xeelee themselves, though they are a very... exotic kind of life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • Both the Vorlons and the Shadows use ships which are alive to some extent. Shadow ships are symbiotic and require a specifically prepared and hardwired pilot to merge with them. Vorlon ships are at least semi-sentient — they can sing, they're customized to be loyal to their captain, and they grieve over his death and would fall into rage if he was attacked. Both kinds of ships can regenerate and the Vorlon ship is shown to protrude appendages from its surface.
    • Several other ships seemed to have biological properties: the Soul Hunter ships, and the Berserker Probe both looked very similar to Vorlon ships. There were also some subversions: the Minbari built their ships to look organic but didn't actually have biotech spacecraft until the alliance with the Vorlons produced the hybrid mechanical-biological Whitestars. Minbari always had advanced crystal tech, but that's a different set of tropes. The Streib (who were only featured in one episode, where they brutally abducted Captain Sheridan,) were also stated by JMS to lack biotech spacecraft and like the Minbari superficially mimic its appearance with their mechanical technology.
    • In the Expanded Universe trilogy The Passing of the Techno-Mages, the techno-mage ships are also said to be partially alive when "associated" (i.e. connected) with their pilots. This is due to a part of the techno-mage's chrysalis they used to train being integrated into the ship. The chrysalises and the implants are products of Shadow technology.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • The Cylons, despite their mechanical natures, use biotechnology in virtually all of their spacecraft; fightercraft-sized Raiders are autonomous biomechanical constructs (likened in dialog to trained attack dogs), while the larger basestars are at least partly organic and are controlled by a humanoid cyborg.
    • On one occasion, Starbuck experimentally cuts a hole into a crashed Raider's hull... only to find an almost completely fleshy interior. She manages to commandeer it by cutting out the Raider's dead brain and squeezing certain nerve chords to give commands to the mechanical parts.
      "Frak me... you're alive?!"
    • By the end of the series, Galactica itself becomes one of these. When Boomer blows out a huge section of the hull due to an ill-timed jump, the rogue Cylons volunteer some of their biotechnological material to patch the empty spaces. At the same time, a brain-damaged Anders is set up as the ship's Hybrid.
  • Towards the end of Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman, FiveRed accidentally discovers that Vulgyre, the Zone's spaceship/Supervillain Lair, was actually alive! Turns out, he was in fact the true leader of Zone (the supposed leader, Empress Meadow, was an illusion) and has been a Godhood Seeker to become a Galactic Super Beast. Zone pretty much falls apart after that revelation (one member in particular having a Villainous Breakdown), while Vulgyre succeeds in his plan, becoming a Botanical Abomination, but is weakened by the Sidon flowers, and ultimately the Fivemen defeat him for good.
  • Doctor Who: The TARDIS appears to be technological, but at least some of it is "grown". And it certainly has sentience, though it cannot speak and only occasionally directly affects a story of its own volition.
    • Until "The Doctor's Wife", where the soul of the TARDIS gets put into a woman, and we get to hear her describe her adventures with the Doctor from her own point of view. Basically, the Doctor wanted to escape Gallifrey and see the universe so he stole an unlocked TARDIS. The TARDIS wanted to escape Gallifrey and see the universe so she unlocked her door and stole a Time Lord.
      • It's also implied that multiple previous "malfunctions" had actually been the TARDIS taking the Doctor where he needed to go and not where he wanted to go.
  • The Taelon mothership from Earth: Final Conflict is a living being which lives on the same energy as the Taelons themselves.
  • Farscape: the Leviathans are living biological ships who communicate through their permanently-bonded Pilots and were created by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens known only as the Builders to work for peace in the universe. One, Moya, is the main setting of the series, but various others appear in the show, most significantly Moya's son Talyn, who was created as a battleship through the interference of a fascist culture who once enslaved Moya and is unfortunately Ax-Crazy as a result.
  • Lexx: the titular ship is mostly (and often gruesomely) biological. It can speak directly to its crew, and its hobbies include blowing up planets. Strangely enough, it even reproduces at the end of the series, spawning a smaller light-white version of itself when it dies...of old age. Since Little Lexx has no mechanical parts added to the hull or machinery of any kind like the original's cryo-pods and moth breeder bay, it's likely that the non-organic elements were added to the original as it was growing. Little Lexx even has a glowing angler horn.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): "The Heist" involves a living ship, composed of numerous organisms, which crash-landed in New Mexico three years earlier. The only part of the ship which survived the crash was the cooling system.
  • The titular ship/submarine from SeaQuest DSV was partially organic. One episode even dealt with a biological infection of its hull/skin.
  • Sliders: The Manta ships used by the invading Kromaggs are said to be living machines.
  • In Space Cases, the Christa is alive. This denies the cast a hyperspace shortcut back home in one episode. The gate controller refuses to allow them entry since Christa wouldn't be able to survive the trip through the gate.
  • Stargate Atlantis: The ships used by the Wraith are organic and are suspected to be grown rather than manufactured. This is confirmed in a later season when Dr. Keller is infected with a virus and begins to grow into a Wraith hive ship. Despite their organic nature, they seem to possess little to no intelligence.
    • The series finale reveals that the greatest limitation to the growth of a Wraith ship is the amount of available power. When an Ancient ZPM module is plugged into a Wraith hiveship (already one of the largest ships in the universe), it grows to enormous proportions, thickens its hull to rival Ori shields (weapons that cut through Ori shields like butter barely dent the abnormally thick super-Hive armor) and grows larger-caliber energy weapons, turning it into the most powerful ship in the known universe.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the very first episode "Encounter at Farpoint", the crew discover that Farpoint Station is a living space-jellyfish-type organism.
    • In the episode "Tin Man", the titular ship is a living organism that is suicidal over the death of its crew and the rest of its kind.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Species 8472 use living ships so powerful that the Borg themselves form an alliance with Voyager to defeat them in "Scorpion". Voyager itself has biological components. The most often mentioned are "bioneural gel packs" which act as computer processors; in "Learning Curve", the ship is nearly destroyed because some bacteria from cheese making got into the system.

  • The Mechanisms travel in The Aurora, a biomechanical ship given sapience by the same process that turned the rest of the band into cyborgs. Nastya, the ship's engineer, is in a romantic and sexual relationship with the ship.

  • In Legendaries Lost, the Wailord Leviathan serves as water transportation for the Quan's Hope group. He even has 5 times the usual HP for his species to make it less likely that he'll get killed by a lucky hit.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eclipse Phase gives us Meat Hab — a biological space habitat ran by an uploaded transhuman. It's largely benign, but has an odd sense of humor when it comes to the cult leader residing in it.
    • GURPS: Spaceships includes this in divergent technology paths. If you have a powerful mage there are rules of zombifying your Living Ship.
    • GURPS Supers supplement Wild Cards. The 'Ishb'kaukab are a race of whale-sized, telepathic, sentient creatures that live in deep space. They have been tamed and genetically engineered by the Takisians into self-repairing spaceships.
    • GURPS Bio-Tech also has rules for these.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones Transcendent Technologies Inc is known for making, aside from implants that defy physics, biological spaceships. They don't need as many crewmen as other Corps' ships (aside from ASR's robot ships) and can heal damage, but when damaged they have a chance of going crazy and doing stuff like rebelling, eating some of the crew, teleporting to a random part of the Sol system, or just sulking.
  • Mage: The Ascension: The Progenitor faction of the Technocracy built a living spaceship called the Vivo. Many of them find it hilarious to refer to going somewhere in vivo. If you get this joke, you've spent too long in a lab.
  • The Phase World setting for Rifts has the Necrons, whose hate for non-organic technology has caused them to develop bio-ships capable of spreading that hate across the Three Galaxies.
  • Many systems for tactical space fleet gaming, especially those with ship design rules and the option to do without the canon setting presented in the rules, usually have at least one bio-tech race. Silent Death features the Bugs, which grow to fit into manufactured frames and become cyborgs; while Full Thrust have the Phalon, who build their ships from parts and units made of lab-grown tissues, and the Sa'Vasku, whose craft, and indeed anything they use, are usually fully-fledged living organisms in their own right.
  • Spelljammer: The space elves' ships are grown, not built. The titular Spelljammer itself would also qualify.
  • Star Fleet Battles. The Branthodon use controlled, cybernetically enhanced space dragons as ships.
  • Traveller 2300: The Pentapods have living starships which they engineered for — and from — their own species thousands of years ago.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Tyranids are a completely biological race. Everything is some kind of animal, including huge living space ships.
    • The Eldar starships may also qualify. They're made out of wraithbone (a psychoplastic material solidified from pure Warp energy) instead of actual biological matter like the Tyranids, but wraithbone can heal from injuries and seems to be alive in some sense. The ships also possess a smaller scale version of the infinity circuit of the Eldar Craftworlds, giving them a limited consciousness (but no true sentience), and allowing the steersmen to control them as extensions of their own bodies. In some cases the ships may even be "crewed" by souls of dead Eldar placed into the infinity circuit.
    • The page pic is the Terminus Est, an ancient battleship which has served as the flagship of the Death Guard Chaos Space Marines since the time of the Great Crusade, when the Legion was still loyal to the Emperor, and which has now taken on a daemonic life of its own, as corrupted with disease and pestilence as the Death Guard itself.
    • The Necrons' technology is made out of the same living metal as they are and have A.I.s with varying degrees of sentience just as the Necrons themselves. Same as wraithbone this living metal can heal itself and is often grown into shape as much as it is forged. This means their ships are slightly more recognizable as alive than Eldar ships.
    • Dark Heresy: The Eye of the Abyss was created when a Daemon lord's eye, all that was left of it after being destroyed by its enemies, merged with the hulk of a ship lost to the Warp. The two things fused to become a new being, a horrific cyclopean ship of merged flesh and steel that prows the Warp and realspace of the Hazeroth Abyss like a hungry predator.

  • Tsukino Empire is a Space Opera stage play series about the last remnants of humanity fighting against an Alien Invasion by these, assisted by defectors from the aliens, who have decided to help humanity as shinjuu (Spirit Beast) Bond Creatures. As shinjuu, they take animal forms — the most powerful ones are the Four Gods — but they can revert to ship form as well, and their human companions pilot them like giant robots.

  • BIONICLE: The Red Star is a combination of metal and organic tissue. It's more like a space station than a ship, though.

    Video Games 
  • Achron: All Grekim technology is in fact a member of the Grekim race that has morphed into the required form. This includes their spacecraft.
  • AI War: Fleet Command: Several of the aliens you find don't build ships so much as they are them. The Zenith are the clearest cut example, starting out rocky and metallic but small and growing into kilometric dreadnoughts as the decades and centuries go by; they don't lose vessel-ness with death, and their corpses (called Golems) can easily be repaired and made into powerful "normal" starships. The Spire are less clear, as their species seems to vary quite a lot in size and shape; however, it's explicit that their technology is based on themselves and their own crystals, and that their vessels are essentially engineered members of their race.
  • Baldur's Gate III: The mind flayer nautiloid, true to its name, resembles some deep-sea Mix And Match Creature, with jagged shells, tentacles, and mucus membranes.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars: The mantis appear to grow, everything. Ships, platforms, space stations..
  • Creatures 3 and Docking Station: The Shee Ark and Capillata are grown in vats. Capillata even has some kind of brain/heart thing visible in the Hub section. They aren't shown to be able to communicate, but appear to be capable of running themselves.
  • In Darkstar One, titular ship is partially organic. It was built from organic alien artifacts, and said artifacts can be seen on parts of the ship, though it otherwise looks like your run of the mil human space ship.
  • In some of the more esoteric The Elder Scrolls lore, it is stated that, during the heyday of the Second Tamriellic Empire (under the Reman Dynasty) in the late 1st Era, the Empire engaged in a "space race" with the Aldmeri Dominion to explore Aetherius, the realm of magic, through the use of "voidships". The Aldmeri used Sunbirds, ships somehow literally made from the Sun. (Which, in the ES universe, is actually a portal to Aetherius through which magic flows into Mundus, the mortal realm.) The Empire, on the other hand, used "Mothships", enormous Ancestor Moths bred, hollowed out, and flown into the void on strength of willpower alone. (Ancestor Moths have a special supernatural connection which also allows them to be used to somewhat protect mortal readers from the power of the Elder Scrolls, which is why the Scrolls are kept and read by the Cult of the Ancestor Moth.) The results of these expeditions have largely been lost to history, but it did leave the Imperial Legions with the specials Imperal Mananaut corps.
  • In EV Nova, the Polaris grow their ships around artificial skeletons, though they have varying degrees of mechanical components as well. The smartest class of ship have roughly the same level of intelligence as a smart dog.
  • In Event Horizon, the Taraniak and Jugrans factions consist solely of these. They have innate regeneration, but can't use a repair bot.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Two of the airships are fal'Cie, and one is the Big Bad.
  • In Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords, the Arnor and the eponymous Dread Lords both appear to use insect-like biological ships. The Iconians as of the Twilight of the Arnor expansion can also use Organic Technology augmentation to toughen their ships, and any Good-aligned civ can get access to a small amount of Arnorian battle armor, but their ships are still almost entirely non-living.
  • Humanity in Genesis Rising uses genetically engineered ships called "organids", which are highly modular and advanced. They also use blood as fuel and construction materials. A group of rebellious enemies of humanity, the Defiance also have their own, thanks to them stealing and reverse-engineering organid technology.
    • The Lapis are a race of Rock Monsters are effectively one with their ships, which are made of asteroids. Their largest vessels, the Gigafortresses use the souls of sentient beings as power sources.
  • Half-Life 2:The combine have living flying gunships and living gunner tripods
  • The Beast of Homeworld: Cataclysm takes this trope and runs with it. Each infected vessel is its own "self", alive and aware. Add in a command ship, and all of the individual "selves" are assimilated into the whole, essentially becoming a living fleet.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Reapers are finally revealed to be this: entire civilizations distilled into biological goo (while supposedly retaining consciousness somehow) which forms the core part of a massive artificial body.
    • The Leviathan of Dis, described as a "biological ship" found by the salarians, and apparently stolen by the batarians, was revealed to be yet another Reaper. Not necessarily obvious considering the Reapers appear to be entirely mechanical on the outside AND the inside; only thorough investigation can reveal that they contain a significant amount of living matter.
  • Musashi Samurai Legend has the Anthedon, a large space sky whale carrying the city of Antheum on its back.
  • No Man's Sky
    • "Living Ships" are a unique class of playable starships. In contrast to other starships, living ships have a distinctly organic appearance, their technological components are actually various organs (a "Pulsating Heart" in lieu of a Pulse Engine, for instance), and said organs draw power from exotic metals and organic materials instead of fuel. Further reinforcing how different they are from regular starships, living ships' inventory slots are called "storage sacs", and their technology slots are called "organ chambers".
    • One of the rewards for the Leviathan expedition is the aforementioned Leviathan, a living frigate. Like the living ship, the Leviathan has a distinct organic appearance. In addition, interactions with the Leviathan during an expedition involve forming a mind-link with it.
    • It is worth mentioning that both Living Ships and the Leviathan are fully sapient - the Starbirth questline reveals that Living Ships communicate through song, and the Leviathan is intelligent enough to bind the traveler into a repeating timeloop.
  • Prey (2006): The Sphere, the ship that the game takes place in, is part technology, part living tissue, with something that used to be (probably) human as the "brain".
  • Stated by name in Schizm: Mysterious Journey, for a group of organic structures floating on the ocean in one area of Argilus. Most of them are used as villages, but Hannah Grant commandeers one of them as a means of transport across the planet. It has its own navigation controls, a telescope, and a signal lamp. At the end of the game, bringing the Wanderer to this ship allows it to play this trope straighter and launch itself into space, headed back to Earth.''
  • Septerra Core: Helgaks is a domesticated species of animals that have certain aptitude to flying. Technologically superior race of "the Chosen" has battle fleets of ships which are essentially grown out of helgaks.
  • SimCity 2000: The monster is an implied version of this trope - it has characteristics of a UFO, such as a laser gun on its underbelly, but it also seems to be sentient. Its appearance is mechanical, but the blinking red eye hints that it could be organic as well.
  • Space Pirates and Zombies plays this trope mostly straight — if Zombie Critters kill all the crew of any ship — be it enemy, ally, or your very own, the ship transforms into a purple-tinted dumb-but powerful monster ship which has partially organic hulls. Oh, and they regenerate hull HP. This trope is played even more straight with the Zombie Breeders — they are mostly organic, save for the random bits of spaceship in and on them. Because they generate Rez, they can replicate human ships without need of victims — this is why they can lay eggs which hatch into full-size breeders.
  • StarCraft: The purely organic Zerg have several units capable of traveling through space, including Overlords, which can carry land units with them. The Expanded Universe adds the Behemoths, originally a race of Space Whales that were assimilated in order for the Swarms to leave Zerus, their original homeworld. There's also the Leviathan, a massive hulking Zerg that dwarfs the Terran Battlecruiser and serves as Kerrigan's Battlestar.
  • The Presbyterate in Sunless Sea uses these, since the Blood of the Mountain drains into the zee where they live and dissolves the hulls of metal ships. You can get one yourself, in the form of the Cladery Heart, by completing a quest, but sadly it is not immune to the Blood of the Mountain.
  • In Super Mario Bros. Wonder, King Bowser steals a Wonder Flower, a special flower with the ability to distort reality. By harnessing its power, it merges him, his Koopa Clown Car, and the stolen castle of the local Flower Kingdom together to create a giant living airship with the ability to spread his new dark power everywhere.
  • UFO Aftermath: The alien ships are revealed at some point of the game to be living things.
  • Warframe: Sentients come in many shapes and sizes, but the greatest of them are massive intelligent warships. In theory they are machines, but they are so incredibly advanced that it is very difficult to draw the line between artificial and living beings. They speak of their wombs, as well as their parents and children. Hunhow was once a Sentient warship, now reduced to a greatsword but still very intelligent and dangerous. The Sentient that attacked the Plains of Eidolon was split into three Kaiju called Teralyst, Gauntlyst, and Hydrolyst, as well as countless tiny Vomalysts. Unlike Hunhow, the Eidolon is now mindless, its scattered pieces wandering the Plains trying in vain to recombine.
    • The Empyrean update allows Tenno with a Railjack and access to the Veil Proxima to board Murex ships which house and spawn Sentient life-forms. The "Scarlet Spear" event was a two-pronged assault on these Murex ships; Tenno on the ground attacked Condrix drop-pods to obtain Kill Codes, and Tenno in space boarded a Murex to upload those codes into the ship to drive it away.
    • The New War update ups the ante by bringing in a new kind of ship: Praghasa, Hunhow's mate and a massive Sentient Warship all her own. While she's been rendered brain-dead by the time of the story quest, her intended function of consuming anything to rebuild herself is still functional, and this extends to her ultimate use: to devour the Sun!
  • World of Warcraft has the Kal'uak, who use giant turtles as sea-going vessels.
    • In the expansion Mists of Pandaria, the starting zone is a giant sea-circling turtle, the Wandering Isle.
  • In the X-Universe, the Boron Kingdom Fish People use sleek, high-tech ships with iridescent green hulls, though it's not made clear how organic they are, and they certainly have no innate intelligence. Various Game Mods explicitly call them organic constructs.

  • Dreamcatcher: has a race of parasitic aliens whose biology is based on fungus — like those fungal parasites that eat ants from the inside out. This allows them to blow up their Living Ship like a puffball if attacked.
  • The short 40-page webcomic Mother Ship Blues centers around a group of aliens who live in a literal Space Whale. Separate sectors of this ship have varying degrees of technology, with the pilots living in the most advanced area of the ship.
  • Khut in Star Trip is a shapeshifter with powers advanced enough to become a living ship, including a habitable space for their human companion, Jas. They aren't capable of faster than light travel, though, relying on warp gates to move between star systems.

    Web Original 
  • These are called "bioships" in Orion's Arm. Ones designed for war are instead called "biowars". Some bioships are even capable of reproducing.
  • RWBY: Volume 7 ends with the grand entrance of Salem, after millennia of hiding in the shadows, leading a Grimm army to attack the Kingdom of Atlas from atop Monstra: A giant city-sized sperm whale-like Grimm that can fly thanks to several massive pairs of wings and tons of Gravity Dust mounted on its back. Monstra is complete with an array of landing pads just under said wings in gill-like formations, vast hallways, membrane-like doors, prison cells that double as torture chambers for those that oppose Salem but are too useful to kill, personal chambers for Salemís inner circle, and even a vast throne room with a view out Monstraís translucent head, for the Grimm queen to watch the chaos unfold before her. Best of all, Monstra naturally produces the liquid that Grimm are born from, like the Wyvern from Volume 3. However, Monstra generates so much of it that she can vomit it to form rivers, geysers, and lakes for Grimm to spawn from.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1245 is a whaling ship that disappeared in the late 1940s. Over time it has assimilated whale body parts from its catches into its structure. Its engine runs on whale bodily fluids; whale brains are networked together in its comm room, connected to the radio; steel pipes and intestines take the cut-up whale parts around the ship; and it is estimated that the majority of its structure is made up of whale body tissues.
    • SCP-4217 also fits this trope. It's the WW2-era German warship The Bismarck, fused with some sort of giant squid creature.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Organic Ship, Bioship