Why the Bridge is at one end of a ship and the drives at the opposite end is a mystery to me. There really is nothing to see from the bridge of a starship - you are navigating towards a speck that is probably invisible to the human eye and plotting a course by computer. Even modern container ships place the bridge over the engines rather than at the bow.
Yes, indeed. The science fiction I grew up with was that of the Perry Rhodan series,
with technology assumptions designed by an engineer. The ships of the series were
spheres, with the bridge at the center of the ship (the safest location), the engines
below that, and the actual (reaction) drives in a "swimming belt" around the equator
of the ship. This design seemed so logical and "natural" to me that I considered the
first Traveller starships I did see as outright ridiculous designs, for example the "glass
house bow" of the standard far trader.http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,933295,00.jpg