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Space Whale

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"We're whalers on the moon
We carry a harpoon...
But there ain't no whales, so we tell tall tales,
And sing our whaling tune!"

Space Is an Ocean. This is a well-known phenomenon. For some reason, though, the ocean of space is pretty much devoid of fish.

But not of whales.

Somehow, at some point (probably in the 1970s), the ideas of space and whales became permanently interwoven in the collective unconscious. Why? No one really knows, but here is some wild speculation:

  • In 1971, scientists aroused interest in whalesong, which is sufficiently eerie and psychedelic. It's an otherworldly sound that combines well with visuals of galaxies and false-color nebulae.
  • Space and whales also made great blacklight posters.
  • They're already really big, so why not scale up?
  • Pictures from the deep ocean also look kind of like space. Or at least something you could describe as "alien".
  • Space Is an Ocean, after all. It'd be a damn shame not to have gigantic creatures making endless voyages through the void, wouldn't it?
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  • Whales become even more interesting when they are Recycled In Space.
  • An excuse to do a Moby Schtick without looking archaic or unsympathetic to actual whales.
  • Rule of Cool.
  • Copious amounts of LSD and cannabis.
  • And in 1979, this made its debut on the radio. It later became a stage play, an LP record, a TV show, several computer games and a movie. All of which featured a whale in an untenable ecological niche.

But nevermind the whys and wherefores, space and whales are just two great tastes that taste great together. Bonus points are awarded if the whale in question is also a Living Ship, or an Eldritch Abomination.

A planet-bound variant of the Space Whale is the Air Whale, which is often a Living Gasbag and found in settings where The Sky Is an Ocean. Whales are basically shaped like blimps with fins anyway, so it makes visual sense (if you hate gravity, and really, who doesn't?).


See also Sapient Cetaceans, Flying Seafood Special.

Not to be confused with the Space Whale Aesop, which is something quite different.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tower of God: The giant White Steel Eels. The Second Floor Guardian which is even bigger. And we expect to see many more.
  • Ah! My Goddess has Schroedinger's Whales, which traverse the entire space-time continuum. They are an exceedingly rare treat to see, considering the chance of one existing can only happen in a near-infinite space; naturally, they have a very hard time finding other Schroedinger's Whales with which to breed.
  • Macross 7: Macross Dynamite 7 features space whales in a bizarre cross of Moby-Dick and The Power of Rock.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, the space explorer George Glenn discovers a fossilized Space Whale — with wings, yet — in orbit around Jupiter, dubbed "Evidence 01" of alien life in that universe. Live ones (or possibly ghosts) show up from time to time in various side stories.
    • In ∀ Gundam, a number of (Earth) whales thrive in human built waterways on the moon. Turn A's connections with other Gundam universes leads one to question whether SEED's Space Whales are related.
  • Infinite Ryvius has Leviathans in the deepest depths of its "Sea of Gedult".
  • Idol Project featured the "Tropical Dimension", basically a resort/ocean planet. And yes, it had space whales.
  • Plastic Little features a crew and ship whose business is capturing exotic creatures in the 'sea of clouds' of the planet Ietta, apparently a gas giant of some kind, and selling them to collectors and zoos. In the sequence in which you get to see the exotic creatures, one of those shown is most definitely an Air Whale.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!'s Magical Land has Air Whales en lieu of the usual Zeppelins from Another World. They swarm the sky of the biggest cities in excessive numbers; smaller versions are used for personal transportation; and armadas of gigantic ones are used for war.
  • Blue Drop: The spaceships, while mechanical, are clearly inspired by this trope. The main character's sentient ship (the Blue) looks like a sperm whale, complete with fins and a random whalesong whenever she moves.
  • One episode in the third season of Sailor Moon features a painting done by Michiru that is of a whale in space. This is particularly fitting for her, since she's Sailor Neptune and has ocean/water powers.
  • Kurohime one-ups this trope with a Time Whale.
  • In Seiketsu no Hagurama the flying whales are actually steam-punk looking ships designed by a literal blue-blooded Gadgeteer Genius prince who, contrary to his intentions to use his machines for peaceful purposes, were being used to eradicate the remaining red-blooded people by his father.

  • In The '90s, a popular art-style for folders and binders was a dolphin or whale swimming through symmetrically-arranged coral and star clusters and sparkly purple nebulae? They were marginally darker and less diabetes-flavored than the Lisa Frank rainbow-and-unicorn kind.
  • Rodney Matthews' painting Stop the Slaughter shows whalers in space.

    Audio Plays 
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who audio "The Song of Megaptera", based on the unmade episode "The Song of the Space Whale" not only has a space whale, but space whalers. Pushing the metaphor further, star whales can "dive" into the vortex, and the whaling ship has "temporal depth charges" to force it back to the surface of space-time.

    Comic Books 
  • Abraxas and the Earthman by Rick Veitch (originally serialized in Epic Illustrated, later released as a graphic novel) is all about this trope: There are space whales (which look exactly like Earth's whales, and "swim" through space with their fins and tails), and space whalers. The whalers are from a civilization based on Organic Technology; they fly in ships which look like small asteroids covered with trees — the leaves serve as "sails" with which they can reach lightspeed. And everyone can breathe in space (no explanation is even attempted for that). The Great Red Whale Abraxas = Moby Dick, of course, and Captain Rotwang = Captain Ahab.
  • The DCU:
    • Green Lantern:
      • The cosmic personification of willpower, Ion, looks very much like a big green whale.
      • In one Animal Man mini (which takes place in 2024) Earth's current Green Lantern is a blue whale — whose powers, as with all other Lanterns, include unaided spaceflight.
    • Legion of Super-Heroes:
      • Ultra Boy originally got his powers from being swallowed by a space whale named, of course, Jo Nah. Superboy calls him on the coincidence the first time they meet.
      • In the original continuity, Lightning Lad lost his arm to the "Super-Moby Dick of Space".
    • Lobo:
      • Lobo once joined a crew of space whalers whose ship was swallowed whole by an immense albino space whale. Lobo even met a Jonah analogue inside, shortly before eating him.
      • There are also "space dolphins", which as of 52 have their own religion. In 52, Lobo gets a talking space dolphin Morality Pet sidekick. Hilarity Ensues.
    • In Action Comics #338, the main character runs into two different species of space-faring whales called "Space-Beasts".
  • The Metabarons: In one comic, the bad guys use a kind of organic spaceship that strongly resembles a whale. Background material implies that it was developed from actual whales through genetic engineering. They're also called cetacyborgs, which is kind of a dead giveaway.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In X-Men storyline The Brood Saga, the eponymous villain race traveled in lobotomized space whales known as the Acanti.
      • You haven't lived until you've seen a whale doing a high-speed close-orbit approach of a planet to free its ancestor's soul from a citadel of evil.
      • During that storyline, Storm actually merged with one of the Acanti, as an alternative to either committing suicide or transforming into one of The Brood after being implanted with a Brood egg. Fortunately, the X-Men and Starjammers were able to free the Acanti from slavery, and the whales' thankful shaman (yes, a giant whale sorcerer) magically purged the Brood eggs from the mutants' bodies.
  • When Storm, the Last Fighter (no relation) got taken to the planet of Pandarve, he met an old whaler in a flying wooden boat (!) chasing flying whales for the pearl-like growths in their heads which have magical properties.
  • Doug TenNapel seems fond of this one.
    • Creature Tech features Giant Space Eels with humanoid alien riders. A mad scientist tries to use one of these eels to destroy California.
    • In Earthboy Jacobus, the titular hero arrives on Earth in the mouth of a Space Whale.
  • The French comic series Kookaburra has space Lamantines. They act a lot like whales though, and are hunted by whalers.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: In "Space Usagi" there are space turtles. When they die, their shells are used as spacecraft hull. Not whales, but still impressive.
  • A French comic recycled Moby-Dick IN SPACE!, with the whales becoming mineral-rich asteroids, whalers becoming Asteroid Miners, harpoons becoming nuclear warheads, and the titular Moby Dick being a possibly sentient comet.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader: In issue #6, a pod of giant, space-faring, cybernetic fish-like beasts serves as a research facility for a Mad Scientist in Palpatine's employ.
  • Amulet has sky eels. Despite their rather terrifying appearance, they're quite docile.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Referenced in chapter 57 when a starship is described as looking like a whale floating in space.
  • Lost Tales of Fantasia: A pod of Star-Whales appears in the sky in one scene, being guided by Mary Poppins.
  • The Palaververse: Among the things half-seen in outer space by telescopes peering past the shell of stars at the edge of Theia's geocentric system are colossal beasts shaped like world-sized whales or turtles, "swimming through the void as if it was a sea".

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Avengers (2012): Chitauri ships are weaponized cyborg Space Whales.
  • Cloverfield: During the pre-release online hype, numerous Epileptic Trees abounded about what the monster would look like and where it had come from. One sketch of a multi-fluked whale with legs, which would've stood several times taller than the actual creature from the film, was widely circulated as "the real Cloverfield monster"; this spawned its own flood of debate over whether it was an unknown sea creature, a mutated sea creature, or a Space Whale.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy features a whale in space... although only for a short time.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home doesn't have whales floating through the void, but implies that they have a strong connection with space when the probe blasts weaponized frequency-shifted humpback whalesong into the depths of space. It's explained that the reason for the probe using whalesong is because the last time it visited the Earth, humans had not yet evolved and whales were the most intelligent organisms around. When the probe returned, it expected to be able to talk to the whales again. Eventual backstory in a novel reveals that the probe was designed by Sapient Cetaceans — dubbed "hyperdolphins" — on the other side of the galaxy, which might qualify as doubling the trope.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Empire Strikes Back: In a case of What Could Have Been, concept artist Ralph McQuarrie drew space whales to populate the skies of Bespin, an idea that was rejected as the effects would have been too costly. According to supplemental material, they are called thrantas, and they were originally from Alderaan but survived on Bespin after Alderaan was destroyed.
    • In Attack of the Clones, ocean-dwelling creatures that could launch themselves out of the water, known as "aiwhas", are seen on Kamino. Word of God says "aiwha" is a deliberate corruption of "air whale".
  • Irish director Ruari Robinson's pitch short for The Leviathan, a science fiction film about space whaling in the 22nd century, with space whale eggs being the key to creating fuel for faster-than-light travel.

  • Humanx Commonwealth: In the future, mankind decides to save the last survivors of the cetacean species of Earth (whales, dolphins, orcas) and transplant them to a planet almost completely covered by oceans which has no native sentient species (or so they thought, because they didn't look deep enough in the oceans). The cetaceans prospered, on a world that belongs to them and on which humans and thranx are only allowed as traders and researchers. By the time of the novel Cachalot, all the cetaceans are sapient to some degree, with the toothed whales more so than the baleen whales (either due to evolution or genetic Uplifting done prior to the whale diaspora or shortly afterwards, it's not entirely clear). Some species of toothed whales have even grown more intelligent than humans and live for hundreds of years since they are no longer hunted. The book ends with the revelation that these whales have developed psionic powers like telekinesis and telepathy (since they have no hands and thus a civilizations based on song, not artifacts and tools), and with the help of these powers they can levitate their bodies from the water and travel into space.
  • Expedition not only gives us a planet with a wide variety of "Floaters", several of whom are basically Air-Whales, one of these is of human-like intelligence.
  • Timothy Zahn wrote a series of short stories in the mid 1980s which feature "Space Horses", small Space Whales that could be controlled by means of telepathy, and were the only known form of FTL-capable transportation. At least one story also featured space sharks, oversized predatory life that made a habit of eating not only the Space Horses, but also any starships that they happened to be towing.
  • Iain Banks:
    • The Algebraist has the Dwellers — although they mostly live on gas planets as Air Whales, it's implied that they created a massive intergalactic network of wormholes. It is certain that at one point they used them. Their culture is intimately examined in the book.
    • The Culture:
      • Consider Phlebas briefly mentions the chuy-hitsi warp animal, spacebourne creatures capable of interstellar travel.
      • A largely un-related but voluminous b-plot in the sequel Look to Windward introduces the "dirigible behemothaur", a very, very, very large Air Whale that lives with a planet-sized, artificially contained volume of air.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy featured a whale that was created randomly in the upper atmosphere of a planet, where it proceeded to fall to the ground. Questions of how it survived lack of oxygen and possibility of it burning up in the atmosphere are waived in favor of a bit of hilarious internal monologue.
    • The Hitchhiker's Guide also has space dolphins — the second most intelligent species on Earth escapes before the planet is destroyed.
  • In the 1970s Robert F. Young wrote a series of stories about a man who teams up with a space whale. (The stories also featured lots of complex typewriter-generated graphics, for reasons best known to the author.)
  • Star Trek:
    • The novel series The Captains Table has one entry, called appropriately enough Where Sea Meets Sky, with a species of large, spacefaring, and even warp-capable to some degree, whale-shaped beings; their planetbound immature form is tentacled Nightmare Fuel. It gets worse: the dietary range of both forms put together is "almost anything — people included", they're insanely hard to kill, and the space-going adults actually fire biologically-created energy beams. (Yes, they're a product of genetic engineering.)
    • Dark Mirror by Diane Duane has a dolphinoid ambassador aboard the Enterprise-D; he detects differences in the hyperstrings when the starship has crossed between universes. In fact it's his sense that something is different that gives them time to figure out what's going on.
  • Star Wars Legends: The first example of a space whale species was introduced in 1984 by one of the earliest Star Wars novels. Other examples followed, eventually making their ways into cartoons.
  • Larklight: While space is almost devoid of whales, it's however filled with fish. The protagonists' father is actually a biologist whose specialty is these fish. The Jupiter-native "wind-whales" that do appear are clearly show in the illustrations to be more like jellyfish.
  • Xeelee Sequence: The Spline are giant living armored spaceships that evolved from alien whales. They live off interstellar gas and other species use them as transports and warships. In one case, the entire Qax race, which consist of cell-like vortices in any fluid (ocean, air, gas giant, star, space-time...), is transported off its homeworld when the sun goes nova.
  • Seafort Saga: The allied governments of humanity are attacked by giant space goldfish we accidentally lured into our space by FTL travel; apparently it sounded just like someone calling out to them and they were exploring to find out who was out there. The protagonist kills them all at the end of the series by tricking them into the Sun.
  • A Deeper Sea, by Alexander Jablokov, involves a whale being turned into a spacefaring cyborg to fulfill a religious prophecy of the dolphins, with whom man has learned to communicate.
  • Dune hints at this, claiming that House Harkonnen got into the Emperor's favor by "manipulating space whale fur prices". The prequel novels retcon the Space Whale part by simply claiming they're regular whales (with fur) from the planet Lankiveil, making it a case of Space "X" instead.
  • The Integral Trees has the Moby, a whalish giant creature that lives within the breatheable Smoke Ring gas torus orbiting a dead neutron star. Notable in that, by the very nature of the Smoke Ring, it's both a Space Whale and an Air Whale at the same time.
  • The Shattered World doesn't have Space Whales, but it does have Space Whalers. They sail around the air-filled Void between fragments, harpoons at the ready, and hunt dragons for their bones and hides.
  • In Espada Da Galaxia, the metalians' method of space traveling consists of putting "command bridges" and Space Folders inside Space Whales, beings made of living metal whose power source is similar to that of a star. They not only have a behavior much similar to that of loner whales, they live as long as a star tends to, and have natural force fields!
  • In "The Man In The Maze" by Robert Silverberg, published in 1969, a race of space-travelling whale-like beings put in an appearance.
  • Michael Flynn's short story "On The High Frontier" has spacefaring creatures that resemble in part jellyfish, whales, and cattle, and are "herded" around the outer Solar System. Yes, it's a Space Western.
  • Diane Duane's Young Wizards series includes a sentient whale teleporting to the moon for a meeting in the eighth book. While the whale spends no time actually traveling through space, it probably still counts.
  • In The Dreaming Dark trilogy for the Eberron setting, the main characters are in a dimensionally-traveling orb-shaped vessel sitting in the ethereal plane, where they are rammed by something they can't see from the inside. The leader immediately panics about "orb-eating ethereal whales".
  • Known Space: "Starseeds" are immense, space-dwelling organisms that periodically migrate inward into the galaxy's inner region to reproduce, then heading back to its edges in a constant cycle. The Outsiders, a race that could easily dominate the Galaxy but is content to sell information, follow them for unknown reasons. Starseeds, and the associated starseed lures which can be applied to any star to draw starseeds, become key plot points in Ringworld.
  • In John Varley's Gaea Trilogy, the artificial planet/entity Gaea is home to air whales. They are genetically engineered organisms (the inside of Gaea is full of such), basically living dirigibles in both shape and function. (Since Gaea itself is in orbit around Saturn, they are also, technically, in space.)
  • Airborn: In the final book, Starclimber, once the characters reach Earth orbit they encounter great drifts of crystalline "space plankton", and shortly afterwards come across immense, bioluminescent entities resembling a cross between an eel and a baleen whale, which move by ejecting bursts of gas from various points on their body and which came to Earth to feed on the plankton and to mate. The characters also speculate about the existence of much larger creatures deeper in space.
  • In Alastair Reynolds' Poseidon's Children series, Arethusa is a whale who used to be a human woman and who goes on to live in space in a hollowed-out moon orbiting Saturn in the second book.
  • Catherynne M. Valente's Radiance has callowhales: massive and mysterious, of indeterminate plant or animal origin, in indefinite hibernation, and native to the oceans of Venus, their milk is harvested at great risk to sustain the dietary requirements of interstellar habitation. Callowhales are eventually revealed to be transdimensional entities that "pin" together parallel universes.
  • In Nnedi Okorafor's Binti series, the protagonist travels between planets via a sentient, living, organic spaceship named the Third Fish, "a peaceful giant who was like a shrimp and could breathe in outer space because of internal rooms full of oxygen-producing plants that served as lungs."
  • In Robert L. Forward's Saturn Rukh, the titular rukhs are Air Whales native to the depths of Saturn's atmosphere. They act like whales and are often compared to them, but have a vaguely avian body shape and a wingspan of about four kilometers. They are Saturn's apex predators, feeding by ramming through groups of smaller creatures (themselves as big or bigger than Earth whales), but are surprisingly peaceful in spite of that. They have simple, tribal societies much like whale pods, but they are every bit as smart as humans and rather quickly learn to "talk" to the protagonists.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Does a Bee Care?": Kane's adult form is a space-based creature with innate Faster-Than-Light Travel.
    The adult Kane fled from the human flesh that had protected the larva, and fled the ship, too. It hastened onward, at inconceivable speeds, toward home, from which someday it, too, might set off on wanderings through space to fertilize some planet with its own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda has the Cetus (Latin for "whale"), an enormous glowing space creature 15 times larger than the titular ship. It feeds on any kind of matter (except Anti Matter), but it's extremely slow digestion means it only needs to eat once in about 6000 years. It's also a Planet Eater, as it's shown to leave enormous scars on planetary surfaces visible from space. Only one was ever shown, and this one is killed when the Andromeda ejects her Slipstream core.
  • Over the course of Doctor Who, several space whale and space whale-like specimens have been introduced.
    • In an older episode, there was a kind of whale analogue. It looked more like a giant dragonfly, but its method of gathering oxygen and then holding its breath while it flew to another planet was explicitly likened to whales.
    • "The Beast Below": Starship UK's engine is in fact a captured Space Whale, almost literally (they call it a star-whale). In this case it gets bonus points since the ship wouldn't exist/would fall apart without it.
    • "Kill the Moon" at first features what appear to be dog-sized space spiders... but they turn out to be nothing more than bacteria compared to the gigantic dragon-like creature that's about to hatch out of the Moon, which is actually its egg. It's implied that it belongs to a whole species of Space Whales that lay moon-sized eggs right when they hatch; their eggs remain in orbit around their host planets, providing them with all the advantages of a massive moon, meaning they are symbiotic with their planets. Good thing the protagonists decided NOT to nuke the Moon in the end...
    • The Doctor Who novel The Resurrection Casket has a variation with Krarks, which are small, very vicious space sharks.
  • Farscape is set on board a Living Ship known as a Leviathan, named "Moya"; an initial conceptual design for which greatly resembled a whale, complete with eyes. The actual production version was much more "spaceshippy", though her silhouette is still suggestive of a humpback. Many of Moya's sound effects are also reminiscent of whale song.
    • Farscape also features budongs, natural creatures that can grow to the size of a small moon. In one episode Talyn gets swallowed by one.
    • Mountain-range size skeletons of unspecified creatures appear in the establishing shots of probably a quarter of the worlds the crew visits, although these are never acknowledged by the characters.
  • There have been several Space Whales throughout the various Star Trek serials:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the episode "Galaxy's Child", they're under threat by a Space Whale baby who thinks the Enterprise is its mother, and is sucking the energy from the ship.(It looked more like a nudibranch but acted like a whale).
      • It was revealed in commentary that the Enterprise-D was planned to carry whales and dolphins to help navigation as they are more experienced moving in 3-D space.
      • The Next Generation also had another space whale — which was also a Living Ship — called Gomtuu in the episode "Tin Man".
      • According to the Enterprise blueprints, cetacean engineers actually designed much of the navigation system. That's engineers who are cetaceans. From Earth.
    • Star Trek: Voyager
      • Likewise, there's an episode which involves the ship getting mixed up in some sort of space whale mating ritual. The male space whales even challenged U.S.S. Voyager as a mating rival. The ship escaped by rolling over and turning blue, because that's how real ocean-going whales indicate submission.
      • Another episode was set inside the stomach of a Space Whale. There was even an Ahab-like space whaler trapped in there too; of course none of the ships made it past the stomach.
    • The Star Trek: Discovery episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" features a Space Whale called a Gormagander, which is protected by the Federation's Endangered Species Act. And is in fact referred to casually as a "Space Whale."
    • Several additional Star Trek examples include lifeforms from deep space that resemble marine lifeforms or other tentacley things, such as:
  • Jirak from Ultraman Cosmos is a peaceful, non-hostile Space Whale who unfortunately becomes a dangerous kaiju after being infected by the Chaos Header.

  • The video for "In The End" by Linkin Park features a couple of space whales flying around.
  • Skyclad's album Silent Whales of Lunar Sea, although this is actually a pun and the music features no whales.
  • French metal band Gojira features the song "Flying Whales" on From Mars to Sirius.
    • The entire album deals with a quest to find the Space Whales who inhabit Sirius and get them to help revive the biologically dead Earth, long since destroyed by ecological damage dealt by humanity. Whether or not this qualifies as a Space Whale Aesop is another question.
  • The trance tune ''Shamu''(named after the famous killer whale?) by Vincent de Moor has synthesizer sound effects that sound like whale song. The Armin van Buuren remix uses actual whale song samples.
    • "Embracing the Future" by BT and "Neo (The One)" by Slyder also have orca/whale song type sounds.
  • The lyrics Cormorant's song "Hole in the Sea" features one of these. Possibly.
  • The fourth They Might Be Giants album, Apollo 18, features a whale and squid in combat on the cover, set against a black void next to a lunar lander. Much of the album art, visuals in the "The Statue Got Me High" video, and some song themes and lyrics from that album - not to mention its title - are space/moon-themed. The whale only appears once, but it's huge.
  • Speaking of 1971, Pink Floyd's "Echoes" from Meddle has lyrics that were originally space-themed (and later changed to ocean-themed,) plus a nice four-minute interlude in which David Gilmour makes his guitar sound like whale song.
  • Asia brings us space dolphins on the cover of Aqua.
  • Steam Powered Giraffe find themselves singing to a passing pod of space whales on the album Vice Quadrant: A Space Opera.
  • Invoked on the Yes song "Don't Kill the Whale", which refers to whales as "our last heaven beast."
    Myths and Folklore 
  • The large creature that carries the ox that carries the world, Bahamut, is sometimes imagined as a whale
    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Space-themed Spelljammer setting had the Kindori, your basic mouthless multi-eyed blue whale. Delphinids are Space Dolphins. The godlike Great Dreamers aren't quite Space Whales proper, but rather space-traveling whales, as they float in water envelopes the size of a little moon (they are up to 20 miles long themselves). And, of course, the Spelljammer itself is a giant living spaceship in the shape of a manta ray.
    • Air Whales appear in a third edition supplement book, too. And they're used as blimps.
    • Pelins, from a very old Dragon article, were basically the same thing, although they didn't look all that much like whales.
    • One old Dragon article featured a species of large whale that could use astral projection as an inherent ability, making the Astral Plane home to Space Whales.
    • Balaenas (later re-named "elsewhales"), an intelligent species of magical whale, can take people on trips in pockets of air it creates in its mouth.
  • Pathfinder has omas, colossal creatures resembling a cross between a whale and a fish that inhabit the depths of gas giants and the vacuum of space, and which use "energy baleen" to strain food from planetary rings and atmospheres. Their stomachs are actually habitable, and some alien races have leaned to use telepathy to control omas and use them as living spaceships. They have a more prominent role in Starfinder, where some groups have figured out methods to turn their corpses into ships as well.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a few mentions of something called a "Void Whale". In the 5th edition rulebook, there's a picture of one. It looks like a combination of whale and an anglerfish. In SPACE. The Space Wolves codex has a short story about a mutated Void Whale. It was 12,000 miles long. The little picture of the whale using a small moon to lure stuff into its mouth is pretty much to scale.
  • Star Fleet Battles has a race called the Alunda, which are space whales with bioelectric batteries and little plasma-enabled tentacles all over them. They really hate the Branthodon, who ride around on cybernetically-enhanced Space Dragons. (Both races are fictional in-universe, created as outside-the-box opponents for tactical simulations.)
  • Eclipse Phase includes a variety of whales that are members of transhumanist society. Suryas, a genetically engineered variety, live in the corona of the sun, with light-up skin. Other uplifted types of whales can be seen in spacesuits in the vacuum of space, others in low-grav environs. The recent splatbook, Panopticon, describes cetaceans' unique 3D sensibility as an advantage for moving around in space.
  • GURPS:
    • GURPS: Spaceships has a 300,000 ton space whale that it is possible for people to survive inside of. Its womb can be modified to work as a huge bio-tech production line.
    • In Transhuman Space there probably aren't Space Whales. There are, however, "Whalers" or "Beyonders", a group of spacers-turned-cryptozoologists who say they encountered something massive and blue-black in the Deep Beyond. They're the butt of jokes in the inner system, but taken more seriously the further out you go.
  • Rocket Age: No space whales are present, but there are space eels. They're actually closer to plants.
  • Star Realms: The Blob Carrier, which the art portrays looking like the trope. It's Flavor Text even lampshades it's appearance.

  • The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy: A whale is briefly called into existence around planetary orbit, although its spaceborne existence ends shortly afterwards following a swift introduction to gravity and the ground.

    Video Games 
  • A Hat in Time: In various Time Rift levels, massive whales can be distantly seen and heard.
  • X3: Terran Conflict has spaceflies, which are basically tiny Space Whales, except in bug form. Which the Split utilize as fuel. The Xtended Terran Conflict mod adds several more types of space wildlife, including space dragons.
  • What exemplifies this trope more than the Darius series' Great Thing? Nothing, that's what — except, perhaps, for its little-known relative Great Force.
  • The Gnosis Cathedral Ships in Xenosaga appear as giant alien whales.
  • The Nintendo Power Star Fox comic (based on the original Star Fox) had the main character encountering the ghost of his dead father speaking to him in the form of a spectral space whale.
    • There was also a space whale in the Sector Y level of the game, though it had to be encountered in a special way. Shoot all the small stingrays in the level 'till they turn blue, and the whale shows up near the end and drops lots of powerups for you.
  • The Wind Fish from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was a trapped interdimensional being that did indeed look more whale than fish.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Pinocchio's Monstro was, again, a whale that swam through the void between worlds. He's been a "regular" (enormous, actively malevolent) whale in every other KH appearance.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, the only way to get to the moon is by riding a whale-shaped spaceship called the Big Whale. In the GBA version, to make it more relevant to the moon and space, they name it Lunar Whale.
  • Final Fantasy X revolves around the destructive monstrosity called Sin, which is a huge whale .. it also grows wings during one of your fights against it.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, during the space jaunt from Hillys to its moon for the final showdown, the player can use the ship's laser to blow up a floating chunk of ice that contains a still-living space whale. It's one of the life forms you need pictures of for the animal side quest, and it appears in the catalog as Megaptera Anaerobia, or "whale that doesn't breathe".
  • The oceans in the world of Baten Kaitos were originally created by a great whale, but the whale and the oceans were swallowed by the ancient evil Malpercio.
  • There's a full-sized Space Whale inside the ship in the Galaxy Angel Game Verse, as well as a small one that lives on land with Chromier. They're psychic, giving the in-game excuse to read the Angels' affection meters.
  • Ecco the Dolphin:
    • Dolphins in space.
    • The flying psychic dolphins from the future.
  • The Visual Novel Ever17 doesn't feature any actual space whales, but its aquatic theme park does have a "Cosmic Whale Room," with a lifelike animatronic whale suspended in a room painted to look like outer space.
  • Sunrider: The Kickstarter for the game promised "romancable space whales" as their ultimate stretch goal at $100000, over thirty-three times the base funds requested to make the game. The goal was not reached, but various references to the whales are present throughout. When body pillows of the characters started going into production, a vote was held to see who deserved to be on the next print. The Space Whale took a considerable portion of the vote.
  • While no space whales are found in Super Robot Wars, there is a space Flounder, and its Space Flounder spawns which all look like tadpoles with a guys face on it.
  • Arcwhales in Skies of Arcadia — of course, everything flies there, including all the fish and landmasses. In particular is Rhaknam, a whale whom Drachma is hunting down and is actually the Purple Gigas.
    • Given the way Vyse and Aika react when they first encounter Rhaknam, and the fact that you never see any other arcwhales through the course of the game in spite of traversing the entire world, it's reasonable to assume that arcwhales are incredibly rare and seeing one is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or they don't exist.
    • It is not likely that they do not exist, as Rhaknam was mentioned to be an existing creature that was modified, rather than constructed from scratch. Rhaknam may be the last one though.
  • Grandia III has a whale floating above the clouds. It's surprised to see humans there when you approach it. It seems all the airplanes in that world don't like to go that high.
  • Starscape had space fire dragon-things...
  • The reason the Zerg can survive in space, according to StarCraft Back Story, is that they absorbed a flock of Space Whales that got too close to their homeworld. These became the behemoths, giant mutants bigger than battlecruisers, one ship can contain a whole brood. Also, some of their air units, such as the Guardian and Overlord, certainly fit the trope (though they look more like space crabs and space... balloon crabs). We never see the behemoths, but StarCraft II shows their presumed weaponized replacements, the utterly massive leviathans.
    • On the tournament version of the StarCraft II map ESV Cloud Kingdom, there is a Space Shark in floating about in the center.
  • In the 1994 PC game Commander Blood, 'Ma' is a genetically modified, unique captive Space Whale who births Organic Technology, 'dolphin'-like communication probes called Orxx.
  • Jumping Flash! has air whales in World 3-2. Uniquely for the game, they aren't trying to kill you, and just sort of float there, wiggling their flukes, and letting you use them as platforms.
  • Kirby Air Ride, of all things, features big flying whale-like things on the Frozen Hillside stage.
  • Spore has the ability to easily make any vehicle you want. A good number of the Featured creations are spaceships shaped like sea creatures. Including one of a whale and a giant squid fighting.
  • Let's not forget the Liir of Sword of the Stars. Some peculiar cross between Space Whales and Space Dolphins, the eldest members of the Liir are literal whales, albeit whales with immense Psychic Powers and an intelligence several times that of a human. All Liir who ever set their flippers into space are murderously insane... At least by Liir standards, as they're actually willing to harm other beings. Though they can't survive vacuum and use starships.
    • Now, with SotS 2, we finally know that the Suul'ka are actually Liir who have grown so large that, normally, the Square-Cube Law would cause them to die underwater. Instead, they choose to teleport themselves into space using their immense Psychic Powers and go mad with power. Screenshots reveal that they are, in fact, several times larger than the new Leviathan-class warships (which are about 800 meters long). They survive vacuum thanks to special environmental suits which also double as battle armor. The reason the Liir are so advanced is because these Elders enslaved the younger Liir and forced an industrial revolution just to build them these suits.
  • The exact species of Tanzer in SaGa Frontier is not ever revealed, but it's a giant space something or other that devours ships and has a colony of people living in its innards.
  • Sunless Skies has the Cantankeri, weird spacefaring creatures that look somewhat like big dolphins or porpoises with a couple of manatee elements. When attacking, though, they reveal that they have far too many legs for a regular cetacean. They're also relatively peaceful, but very grumpy animals with a strict sense of personal space; a group of Cantankeri is to be officially known as a "disgruntlement", and an angry one will start ramming any offending locomotives at high speeds until they go away or explode.
  • A Space Whale figures prominently in Tales of Hearts as the deity of the Valeia Church. It turns out to be an ark of The Precursors which the villain's been trying to reactivate so he can unseal a Cosmic Horror.
  • Though he's referred to as a dragon, Ba'ul from Tales of Vesperia looks more like a whale, even more so after he matures and becomes the party's Global Airship. He's also purely an air whale, as Judith states that he can't swim, despite looking as though he'd be great at it.
  • In the 1993 Amiga-Game Whale's Voyage you're cruising around in a spaceship shaped like, well, a whale.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction has what appear to be space whales or sharks in two of its Space Pirate levels (though the first of which is on a planet with an atmosphere). Also, Stratus City has floating jellyfish. Additionally, there are the Basilisk Leviathian enemies (space serpents) in two levels and Quest for Booty had Pythors (space python-thingies).
  • In the Rance universe, a Space Whale created all of existence so that it could watch humans fight amongst themselves and cause chaos for as long as they exist.
  • Guppy from Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Comorro in Otherspace, who also acts as a massive living ship. Characters reside in various internal ducts and passages, and park their ships in her landing bay.
  • One mission in Haegemonia: Legions of Iron involves defending your colonies against ship-sized space jellyfish, which can shoot back. They are never mentioned again.
  • Nexus: The Jupiter Incident has the Locust Queen, a massive spaceborne creature capable of "launching" waves of insect-like drones.
  • The second stage of Child of Eden has space whales as well as space manta rays and a space phoenix.
  • Not exactly an example, but related. Metroid: Other M introduces an enemy known as Gigafraug, which is essentially (despite the misleading name) a walking whale with antlers.
    • The boss Vorash is basically a lava whale.
  • Solatorobo has the Master of the Clouds, a giant Air Whale who is used to travel from the Shepherd Republic to Earth.
  • While not quite in space all the time, Gohma Vlitra from Asura's Wrath gives off this vibe and shares the look, as it comes up from the earth and fights Shinkoku ships by piercing beyond the earth's atmosphere to do so.
  • The early 90s Amiga game "Eye of the Storm" features peaceful Space Whales roaming around the atmosphere of Jupiter.
  • The Wahrk in Uru is a strange, man-eating whale-shark-walrus hybrid thing that falls to Earth through the star fissure from Riven.
  • The Wraith in Escape Velocity Nova act out this trope, even if they don't look like whales. Despite their ominous appearance, they're typically harmless unless you provoke them (or unless you're flying a ship from the Polaris, who did all the provoking for you in the backstory).
  • One of the random encounters in FTL: Faster Than Light is a black market shop set up in a Space Whale corpse. This is only described in text, so we don't get to see what it looks like. Live Space Whales are never encountered.
  • Averted in Galaxy Angel. The so-called Space Whale (which is apparently telepathic) seems to be a normal whale that needs to live underwater. It lives in the botanical garden sector within the Elsior, which included a large, sea-like pool for it to live in. Apparently however, it is implied to be able to float on air as well, so...
  • Space whales can occasionally be seen in "Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator" floating around in pods, and appear on the minimap. They are also targetable and are not impervious to nuclear missiles.
  • One Big Bad of Animal Kaiser is Emperor Vertus, an alien invader blue whale from space.
  • In Earth & Beyond, space - including the Solar System - is apparently full of various space-dwelling creatures. Admittedly, most are comparable in size to a single-man spacecraft, but a few are much larger.
  • Pirate101 exhibits a version of this in Jonah Town, a small town built on the back of a great flying humpback whale (this is more of a Sky whale than a Space whale).
  • Off has a flying whale enemy in Zone 2. It's appropriately enough called "whale".
  • The Aether mod in Minecraft features "Aerwhales" which are essentially this.
  • Dishonored plays with this by having whales which are implied to be supernatural and are somehow associated with the mystic dimension The Outsider comes from (when you go there, a whale can be seen floating in the abyss).
  • There is a running gag among the developers of No Man's Sky in which one of the development team members will add "SPACE WHALES" to Hello Games' schedule. That said, Sean Murray has hinted that Space Whales will likely not make their way into the game itself.
  • Stellaris features various forms of space-dwelling creatures, including on that is literally called "Space Whales" on the UI (although they look more like jellyfish than whales).
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon has Space Whales on some maps, most notably the first campaign mission, when they are spotted the spotter will say 'Whales spotted'.
    Jim Hawkins: Look Mr Onyx! Orcus Galacticus! Spotting them is supposed to bring good luck!
    Mr Onyx: I wouldn't know Sir. But they are certainly magnificent!
  • The Furies of Stars In Shadow are insectoid creatures the size and shape of a starship, who produce plasma as a method of both motility and digestion. They can also construct nests by creating Hyperspace Anomalies.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Belunkas, green whale-like creatures with manta ray-like fins, are among the enemies Pit encounters in the Galactic Sea.
  • One will occasionally appear in the background of Robot Unicorn Attack 2 in each of the three worlds, along with various other giant flying sea life (sea horses anyone?). They'll also be decoed to match the theme of the world you're playing in, so prepare to see some real metal ones on the fire planet.
  • Marco and the Galaxy Dragon has Nudos, gigantic spacefaring creatures that look like whales and travel in pods. They’re normally peaceful, but if they get agitated they can swallow an Earth-sized planet in one gulp. Marco and Arco have to stop a stray Nudo from doing exactly that at one point.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner
    • In the Strong Bad Email "no loafing", Strong Bad decides to supplement the "No Loafing" sign with some Fauxtivational Posters, including one with "some kinda whale... in space..." on it.
    • In "form work", Strong Bad reveals his ideal career choice as "2nd 2nd Assistant Space Whale Scrubber".
    • The last thing the Drive-Thru Whale does in the cartoon "Drive-Thru" is blast off into orbit after eating a Europa-pean Space Lobster. "Sever your leg, please. It's the greatest day."

  • The Magical Flying Fetus Whale of Josh Lesnick's Girly (introduced here) might qualify. Who knows? Maybe space is where the whale returns to. In any case, it can definitely fly in earth's atmosphere.
  • The Star Wars movies had a peculiar shortage of Space Whales in the movies that Darths & Droids' Sally tried to amend in this strip.
  • Mentioned in one Far Out There strip. Apparently, they can have mommy issues.
  • Mentioned in Irregular Webcomic! as a reference to Beowulf: the poem calls the sea "the whale road", so space is "the space-whale road".
  • El Goonish Shive has a flying interdimensional magic-eating being that, after being compared to an algae-eating bottom-feeder, explicitly states that it prefers to think of itself as being more like a whale.
  • Referenced in the xkcd comic Landing: "Whales: (probably) not in space".
  • In The Adventures of Dave the Astronaut #19 the protagonist uses one of these space cetaceans to pull his ship after it runs out of fuel.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-2146, the frozen corpse of Bowhead Whale in Earth orbit. It regularly broadcasts short television programs featuring Space Whales in rather disturbing contexts, often ending unpleasantly for involved human beings. Word of God says this wasn't an alien creature, but a terrestrial whale with human intelligence, Reality Warper powers, and an obsession with alien conspiracy theories.
  • The Entities of Worm are planet-sized creatures which exist across multiple dimensions. They are the source of superpowers and are glimpsed only briefly when parahumans trigger. As learned late in the story, the Entities consider all other lifeforms as tools for experimentation and ultimately destroy every world they visit across every dimension as part of their reproductive cycle.

    Western Animation 
  • "Space Moby", an episode of the Space Western cartoon series Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, featured a species of space-whales that was being hunted to extinction. And an environmental group with the Anvilicious name of "Spacepeace" that was trying to save them.
  • The animated series Bounty Hamster has enormous purple space whales that act as long-haul truckers, carrying cargo from planet to planet.
  • Blackstar has an episode not only featuring one variation of this trope, but titled after it: "The Air Whales of Anchar".
  • In the series MTV's Oddities: The Maxx, the Air Whales of Pangea appear as blimps (or technically, dirigibles) to the eyes of Mundanes in the city back in the Real World... although, as Mr. Gone claims, the Real World is a mere fantasy world, a shadow of Pangea, so who knows which version is true. The same juxtaposition is also explored in the original The Maxx comics. There are also the Earth Whales (whales which swim in earth and breathe water) in another Outback, but their "real counterpart" was never shown.
  • An episode of X-Men featured the Acanti, mentioned above.
  • Futurama:
    • Though the show lacked any actual Space Whales at the beginning, theme park-employed "Fungineers" concluded that the moon was first visited by Space Whalers. They proceeded to create a theme-park ride based on this "fact". Notably, the next line after the ones included in the page quote is "But there ain't no whales, so we tell tales and sing our whaling tunes".
    • The Encyclopod of the 4th movie, Into The Wild Green Yonder, is a space manta ray.
    • And finally, the episode "Möbius Dick" introduces a Space Whale. A four-dimensional one that spouts fractals, has a Moebius strip colon, and "breathes" the vacuum of space. Which comes with this gem from Dr. Amy Wong: "I used to hunt giraffes on safari, and giraffes are basically just land space whales."
  • In an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, a Space Whale is seen trying to eat two Space Squids, in the manner similar to a black hole.
  • The titular creatures of the Skywhales short.
  • Subverted in South Park when, after being shot into space, a whale is shown to have landed on the Moon, and is very dead.
  • A squadron of starfighters in Star Wars: The Clone Wars is almost destroyed when they fly through a nebula that happens to be inhabited by Space Mantas.
  • The Star Wars Rebels episode "The Call" features the purrgil, who are traditional space whales (they even "breathe in" stores of gas for long journeys in a way similar to a whale breaching in reverse), except for the tentacles and their organic faster-than-light spaceflight. They end up being Chekhov's Gunman in the series finale, with Ezra summoning them to defeat Thrawn and sending both him and Thrawn into areas unknown.
  • Care-a-Lot in Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot is visited every year by the Thunder Whales, flying whales who spout storm clouds.
  • In one episode of Rocket Power, a whale is shown being kidnapped by a flying saucer in the background of one scene.
  • Combined with "Fantastic Voyage" Plot in an episode of Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist when Dex and his crew have to travel inside the body of a space whale in order to save it.
  • The Weblum in Voltron: Legendary Defender. Later, Keith and Krolia, while traveling through the Quantum Abyss, find a group of cosmic whales each large enough to grow forests, support normal-sized animal life, create gravity, and produce their own atmospheres. They end up living on the back of one of them for two years.

    Real Life 
  • The constellation Cetus is the closest thing you can get to a Real Life Space Whale. Originally described as a "sea monster" constellation, it's now referred to as "the whale" today.
    • Thalassa, one of Neptune's moons, was named after a goddess who was the mother of all sea life (whales included). Not quite a space whale, but possibly its Mom.
  • Real whales' migratory routes are now being tracked from space by marine biologists and Navy oceanographers, who use satellites to monitor animals implanted with tracking beacons and thus, help ships steer clear of whale pods.
  • The golden phonograph record launched by NASA on the Voyager space probes includes, among other sights and sounds of Earth, a recording of Humpback whale song. So if there are any space whales out there, they may someday get a greeting.


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