In science-fiction, do we use the word navy to refer to the space fleet? I am wondering if people would refer to it as "navy" or rather "space navy", which sounds a little bit weird if you ask me? What's the consensus among science-fiction authors?

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    This question might be more appropriate on the Science Fiction Stack Exchange or the Writing Stack Exchange.
    – Jasper
    Jun 19, 2019 at 1:51
  • Star Trek calls it "Starfleet". Star Wars calls the bad guys the "Imperial Fleet". Battlestar Galactica refers to their ships as the "Colonial Fleet". Calling it the "Navy" might be characteristic of older SF authors, but I think more current writers seem to prefer variations on "fleet", or some particular proper noun. Still, there's nothing wrong with calling it the "Space Navy". It's just personal preference. There is no consensus, as such.
    – Andrew
    Jun 19, 2019 at 5:40
  • In writen SF in what might be caled the "military SF" sub-genre, "navy" is at least quite common, but indeed there is no one term that is invariable. At least three of the authors I list are currently writing in the listed series -- at least two are NYT bestsellers. Jun 19, 2019 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


This is a matter which each author must decide individually, but I can think of a number of authors, both recent and from many years ago, who did use the term "navy" or "space navy" in describing an armed force in space ships. Examples that come to mind include:

  • Robert Heinlein, in Starship Troopers
  • Keith Laumer in the "Interstellar Patrol" series
  • Malcolm Jameson, in the "Bullard" series.
  • Lloyd Biggle, in Monument
  • Eric Frank Russel in The Great Explosion and "And Then There Were None"
  • Jerry Pournelle, in the "Co-Dominium" series, including The Mote in God's Eye
  • Lois Bujold in the "Vorkosigan" series
  • David Weber, in the "Honor Harrington" series
  • David Drake, in the RCN (Republic of Cinnabar Navy) series and the "Hammer's Slammers" series

Some authors have used other terms, such as "spaceforce" in Elizabeth Moon's "Vatta's War" series, and "Patrol" in Heinlein's Space Cadet and E E Smith's Galactic Patrol (and other books of the Lensman series). "Fleet" has also been used. But I think that "navy" is by far the most common usage.

Movies and TV shows seem more inclined to use some variant on "fleet", although calling the commanders by some variant of "admiral" in several cases.

All the above are from written SF, and include works ranging from the 1940s to series now in progress. Several are very popular authors.

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    I would very much like to know what the downvoter, or anyone else, thinks is not helpful about this answer, or how it could be improved. Jun 19, 2019 at 16:44
  • I've been receiving stealth downvotes for a very long time for no reason.
    – Sayaman
    Jun 19, 2019 at 22:10

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