Aug 31, 2021Liked by John Birmingham

Would you write 'The Dreadnought', or 'The Temeraire'? Good warship names don't require an introduction. If you're reminding the reader that Defiant is a stealth destroyer the inclusion of 'the' helps to link the words to the previously mentioned formal identifier.

PS - I think a lot post-Imperial angst went into RN warship names after Suez. Compare RN vessels from the mid 1700s to the end of WWII with their replacements.

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Ships, like steam engines, are alive.

I had a look through a selection of books on things nautical in my booktorium. From flicking through, the purely naval-focused histories don't seem to use the definite article at all, though some italicised ships' names. A general history of the war in the Pacific in WWII mostly didn't, but sometimes did.

Interestingly, a nerdy technical book on HMS Dreadnought (1906) quoted some Admiralty documents, which did not use "the". But did italicise.

I would generally omit the definite article in talking from the writer POV, but not be too hung up on consistency it if sounds better to make exceptions. I would think crew on Defiant, and others familiar with the ways of the space lanes would just say "Defiant", whereas landlubbers (look it works for space too!) might be more likely to say "the Defiant". But here I am drifting close to advising on writing from an entirely inexpert perspective.

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Is Defiant the ship or the Intellect, or both? You could argue the Intellect is the character and the ship is the hunk of metal. Still subtle though.

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In Star Trek Deep Space Nine The USS Defiant (NX-74205) was always referred to as The Defiant but this may have been related to it being the first ship of that class constructed. In Star trek First Contact movie

Cmdr. William Riker: Tough little ship.

Lt. Commander Worf: Little?

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