>The Godwhale

>One of the things I thought I’d do here is dredge up a few old memories before they fade forever. I’m not planning to re-read books, or re-view movies, just spill out what’s stuck in my head about them. Which will no doubt be utterly subjective and, just possibly, entirely inaccurate. I’ll kick off with The Godwhale by TJ Bass. I doubt it’s still in print but what I remember most vividly is a hemi-human (I think he got chopped in half by an airlock door?) who got grafted on to a pair of mechanical legs, and a giant robot whale called Rorqual Maru. Someone wound up mind-melding with the whale – possibly even becoming it. Also there was an undersea civilisation of evolved humans with gills called Benthics. Few people I’ve met have heard of the book, and I really can’t say if it was any good, but when I read it at the age of eleven or so it filled my head up with some pretty startling images. I think it’s fair to say that, much, much later, some of them got echoed in a novel of mine called Stone and Sea.

9 thoughts on “>The Godwhale

  1. >I've read it, and still own it. A very strange book to read as a teenage boy. Yes, that book with stuffed to the gills with far-future oddities of post-standard-mankind via evolutionary forces, genetic manipulation within the hyperpopulated in the trillions of drones within self-enclosed arcologies.

  2. >Interesting how many folk have fond memories of this book. I know it got under my skin. My paperback edition's long gone, sadly – I must seek out a new copy. A software project based on it sounds fascinating.

  3. >I just found this blog entry by googling, as memories of reading this book (around age 14 or 15, so around 1980+) popped randomly into my head. It is one of those books that profoundly wove itself into my imagination at the time, another was Dick's Galactic Pot Healer.I can barely remember anything about it except the guy getting chopped in half, and the undersea people, now, but at the time I loved the book. But I suspect that if I re-read it now, I'd be disappointed- revisiting things often is disappointing. Over so many years, one has become a different person, and the effect is thus not the same. I fear I do not bear much similarity to the 15 year old who read the book.It's nice to see that other people remember it fondly though. I wonder if it'd make a good movie- or whether it's dated too muchly.

    1. I believe someone was think of making it a movie years ago, but then Star Wars came out and that was that. NOTHING could compare, so the project was shelved.

  4. >Larry Dever got chopped in half by a cargo container door, as he was trying to pilfer some fruit.The Benthics didn't have gills; they had evolved to where they could hold their breath for a long time, but they lived in underwater homes filled with air.I love this fraking book…. and still have it… and am SO ticked that I can't find it electronically for my e-reader.

  5. Neither of my father’s books exist in electronic formats. He typed those books on a typewriter and no digital copies exist. Used copies are floating around for various prices though. He hasn’t even been approached to have them rereleased or digitalized, as far as I know.

    He will be very happy to hear that people remember his book fondly. His fans expected a third book, but he never wrote it. I think having 6 children running around the house may have interrupted his writing life.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Bonsai, and thanks for the insight into your father’s work. There’s a huge number of out-of-print gems that deserve to see the light of day again – The Godwhale is certainly one of them.

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