Wed
Jul 6 2011 5:20pm
Space Whales are Kind of a Big Deal

Recently the Tor.com office got into a discussion about the prevalence of space whales in science fiction. They’re so immediately weird, but because they are, they function as a terrifically simple indicator that you’re somewhere you’ve never been.

Just last season there was a space whale on Doctor Who, not to mention these space whales from the Star Wars middle reader book The Glove of Darth Vader. We took to the internet to find more examples, but it turned out that space whales are so resonant that someone had already beaten us to this idea: F*ck Yeah Space Whales. This entire website is dedicated to illustrations of space whales. Here’s a few samples.

Whale Ship by JCBaezillustration via Deviant Art

Whale Ship by JCBaezillustration

 

Fantasea by wullfenartist via Deviant Art

Fantasea by wullfenartist

 

Whale of Hope by *EdenKnight via Deviant Art

Whale of Hope by *EdenKnight

What’s your favorite space whale? The humpbacks from Star Trek IV? The star whale from Doctor Who? The Gnosis from Xenosaga? Or maybe even Sin from Final Fantasy X? Any of these beautiful space whales?


Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com. Stubby would like a picture of Stubby racing a space whale.

25 comments
mister_ethan
1. mister_ethan
Favorite space whale has always been the one in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Falling.
Sky Thibedeau
3. SkylarkThibedeau
I remember on the Old EA MMORPG Earth and Beyond there was a system that was full of space whales and one of the missions was to kill one for some vile person in the local space station. I never could complete that mission as Momma Space whale always had a calf nearby.
mister_ethan
4. Jeff R.
The space whale that turned Jo Nah into the Legion of Super-Heroes' Ultra-Boy would be mine...
mister_ethan
5. Story Cottage
How about the Acanti from the Uncanny X-men?
Ryan Britt
6. ryancbritt
They like you very much, but they are not the hell your space whales.
Bill Spangler
7. Bspangler
Warning: self-promotion ahead-- I wrote a comic book script featuring a space whale called Alouthema for a Tom Corbett, Space Cadet comic in 1990.
E M
8. herewiss13
@6: Congratulations, you win an intarwebz! :-)
Joris Meijer
9. jtmeijer
The space-seals in Pratchett's the dark side of the sun always will have a spot. Moira and her offspring also count. And I am sure tvtropes has a lemma on this subject as well.
Joris Meijer
10. jtmeijer
Aargh, of course the space-whale theme was revisited by Pratchett in his "Last Hero" in a really nice way.
Paul Eisenberg
11. HelmHammerhand
Even stodgy Art Clark had space whales, I believe, though I forget what novel. On second thought, they were merely Jovian whales, swimming around the atmosphere of Jupiter.
mister_ethan
13. N. Mamatas
What ever could have sparked an office discussion about space whales?
mister_ethan
14. Gerry__Quinn
Space whales are boring - what about a planet full of flying whales? Step up Cordwainer Smith: 'On the Storm Planet'.
Joshua Starr
15. JStarr
Happy to say I was already a fan of fyeahspacewhales. Can't think of any fully described literary/television space whales I particularly like, though. It's more that enjoy how they can be artistically depicted, as in the art featured on that tumblr, whether 70s hallucinogenic or... actually they're all pretty much 70s hallucinogenic.
Blue Tyson
16. BlueTyson
The Super Moby Dick of Space, thanks to Edmond Hamilton. :)
mister_ethan
17. BMunro
I believe that in "Childhood's End" when wozzisname visits the Overlord's home planet, he visits a Space Museum which displays something like the eye or tooth of a Space Whale - the whole thing would be far too big to fit in the Museum.

Plenty more examples over at TV tropes...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceWhale
Tara Mitchell
18. Jaxicat
I remember seeing the animated movie Pinocchio in Outer Space when I was very young. Mostly what I remember of it is Astro the space whale.
Tim Graham
19. TimGraham
I recall some kind of space whale type creature in an episode of Star Trek Next Generation. It had a baby, too. Very touching episode - though it was about 15 years ago when I watched it
mister_ethan
20. avidreader514
The space whales in Iain M. Banks' Look to Windward were marvelous.
mister_ethan
21. James Davis Nicoll
Glen Cook's Starfish should be mentioned.

I can't recall if the larger fusorians from Williamson and Pohl's Starchild trilogy were whale-sized or not.
mister_ethan
22. myself
There are some edible translucent whales in Stephen Baxter's Raft.
S Barlow
23. Lizzibabe
Space Whales in Alan Dean Foster's Cachalot

Well...fsov. I mean, htey did swim in air. It'd really be a small step to swim in space.
mister_ethan
24. AtomicDryad
Orion's arm has space whale overkill, of course. http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/4d35b1199cb8f
mister_ethan
25. Sierrawr
this artist took a very diffrent approach to the whole space whale thing creating a strange creature (a space butterfly?) on which a some alien civilaization has built barnical like structures

http://hangedmanstudio.blogspot.com/2008/02/final-frontier.html

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