In Star Trek, the starships are all very elegant looking and quite beautiful. They just look really good. They are also advanced and have had a couple hundred years of history, so the designs tend to be more aesthetically pleasing.
I’m designing a starship for Journey to Ariadne. I’ve made a sketch which looks a bit clunky, but I’m not entirely satisfied with it. I don’t want it to look beautiful. It shouldn’t look beautiful. It should be built for function, not form. Take a look at past forms of transportation in their first incarnations.
Notice a theme? None of them are particularly attractive. They weren’t built to look good. They were built simply to work. It’s only in the years and decades after that design became important (cars are now made to look good, planes are made to be aerodynamic and fuel efficient, and the space shuttle ended the utilitarian spacecraft era). So it’s only logical that the first interstellar spacecraft will look more like a collection of modules connected by a framework and various instruments extending from the main body. This is what I need to consider when designing a starship. Think about function first, then refine it a bit.
I’m going to have one ugly spaceship. And it’ll be a massive one.