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Space Whale

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They tell of whales soaring high and free
That swim the stars and nebulae.

"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 are 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 would be a damn shame not to have gigantic creatures making endless voyages through the void, wouldn't it?
  • 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 while gazing at their big whale posters using a black light.
  • 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. In some cases, the whale may be used as a Living Ship by smaller hitchhikers. Often, these whales will be capable of Shipless Faster-Than-Light Travel in order to cross the enormous distance they travel across.

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. (That is, if you hate gravity, and really, who doesn't?)

See also Sapient Cetaceans and Flying Seafood Special.

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


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 As connections with other Gundam universes leads one to question whether SEEDs 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.
  • Kurohime one-ups this trope with a Time Whale.
  • Macross 7: Macross Dynamite 7 features space whales in a bizarre cross of Moby-Dick and The Power of Rock.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi'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.
  • 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.
  • Sailor Moon: One episode in the third season 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.
  • 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.
  • Tower of God: The giant White Steel Eels. The Second Floor Guardian which is even bigger. And we expect to see many more.

  • 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 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: "The Song of Megaptera", based on the unmade episode "The Song of the Space Whale", has a space whale and 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.
  • Amulet has sky eels. Despite their rather terrifying appearance, they're quite docile.
  • The DCU:
    • Green Lantern:
      • The cosmic personification of willpower, Ion, resembles a giant green basking shark.
      • 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 French comic series Kookaburra has space Lamantines. They act a lot like whales though, and are hunted by whalers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: In "Space Usagi" there are space turtles. When they die, their shells are used as spacecraft hull. Not whales, but still impressive.

    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 
  • Played with in Avatar: The Way of Water. While the whales in question aren't from Earth, instead of living in the vacuum of space, they live in Pandora's oceans.
  • The Avengers (2012): The Chitauri Leviathan 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 (2005) features a whale in space... although only for a short time.
  • 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.
  • Nope: This is what the Flying Saucer actually is. It's not an alien spaceship, it's an alien itself that's come to Earth to feed, and its true form is a pure Starfish Alien. Once OJ and Emerald realize this, they use it to their advantage, putting their backgrounds as Hollywood animal trainers to use in order to defeat it.
  • 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".

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Terry Pratchett:
    • The Dark Side of the Sun mentions several space-born species, and the plot involves large creatures called sundogs. They can be hired to perform interstellar haulage service (thus falling into the Living Ship category as well), usually carrying a normal spaceship. That is, if specific individual is not stupid enough to devour the ship instead.
    • Discworld:
      • The Last Hero: The illustrations include a sketch drawn by Leonard of Quirm of a space-dragon that resembles a whale. It's not made clear if it actually exists or not (Leonard's notes indicate that the Giant Dung Beetle does exist, and the Imaginary Hull-Borer almost certainly doesn't, but don't comment on the space dragon either way).
      • The Discworld itself is carried through space on the back of another enormous aquatic animal.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the second half of Star Trek Log Eight, the Enterprise has to travel into intergalactic space in search of a gigantic creature called a jawanda. They find one without too much trouble, and also find that it's basically a spacegoing bedsheet, with a surface area roughly equivalent to that of North America but only millimeters thick. After capturing it using a cage made of moons - no, not moon-rock, moons - they head for home. The captured jawanda sends out a distress call to others of its kind, and several of them respond, but the Enterprise is able to reach safety before they overtake it. At that point the Enterprise crew learns why jawandas only live in intergalactic space: they need the room. The ship's sensors reveal that the largest of the pursuing jawandas had a surface area larger than Earth's Sun. And it probably isn't the largest one out there.
    • 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.
  • Philip José Farmer wrote a weird Moby-Dick pastiche called The Wind Whales Of Ishmael.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 series:
  • Star Wars streaming series The Mandalorian reminds the viewers of the Purrgills, the Star Wars rendition of the trope, with Grogu beholding a pod of them just out of clear view in while traversing in hyperspace in the Season 3 premiere episode.
  • 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 has the song "Flying Whales" from the album From Mars to Sirius, which features one on its cover.
    • 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 of 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Sky Whale variant turns up from time to time, with creatures such as Aethertide Whale, Ethereal Forager and Long-Finned Skywhale making striking additions to their native worlds as they drift serenely through the clouds.
  • 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.
  • Rocket Age: No space whales are present, but there are space eels. They're actually closer to plants.
  • 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.)
  • Star Realms: The Blob Carrier, which the art portrays looking like the trope. It's Flavor Text even lampshades it's appearance.
  • 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.

  • The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy 1978: 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 
  • The Aether mod in Minecraft features "Aerwhales" which are essentially this.
  • Animal Kaiser: Emperor Vertus is an alien invader blue whale from space.
  • Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator: Space whales can occasionally be seen floating around in pods, and appear on the minimap. They are also targetable and are not impervious to nuclear missiles.
  • Asura's Wrath: While not quite in space all the time, Gohma Vlitra 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.
  • Baten Kaitos: The oceans in the world were originally created by a great whale, but the whale and the oceans were swallowed by the ancient evil Malpercio.
  • Before We Leave: Space whales taking bites out of planets drove your civilization underground prior to the beginning of the game. During a playthrough they can appear periodically and pass by planets you've settled — smaller ones can be placated with offerings of food delivered via Space Elevator, while larger ones need to be repelled with Aegis shields. The final objective of the game is to build a Whale Charmer, which when completed summons a massive whale that lets your civilization build a city on its back and seek adventure among the stars.
  • 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".
  • Child of Eden: The second stage has space whales as well as space manta rays and a space phoenix.
  • Commander Blood: Ma is a genetically modified, unique captive Space Whale who births Organic Technology, 'dolphin'-like communication probes called Orxx.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Escape Velocity: Nova: The Wraith 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).
  • 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.
  • Eye Of The Storm features peaceful Space Whales roaming around the atmosphere of Jupiter.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • 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.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: One of the random encounters 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.
  • Galaxy Angel: Downplayed. 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. However, it is implied to be able to float on air as well.
  • 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.
  • Haegemonia: Legions of Iron: One mission involves defending your colonies against ship-sized space jellyfish, which can shoot back. They are never mentioned again.
  • A Hat in Time: In various Time Rift levels, massive whales can be distantly seen and heard.
  • 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.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Belunkas, green whale-like creatures with manta ray-like fins, are among the enemies Pit encounters in the Galactic Sea.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Pinocchio's Monstro is a Monster Whale that swims through the void between worlds. He's been a "regular" (enormous, actively malevolent) whale in every other KH appearance.
  • Kirby Air Ride features big flying whale-like things on the Frozen Hillside stage.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning: Enormous floating creatures referred to as void whales are found within Convexity, the Void Between the Worlds. They don't resemble true whales much, being closer in appearance to blue-black nautili.
  • 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.
  • Nexus: The Jupiter Incident has the Locust Queen, a massive spaceborne creature capable of "launching" waves of insect-like drones.
  • No Man's Sky: There's a running gag among the developers in which one of the development team members will add "SPACE WHALES" to Hello Games' schedule. Space Whales were eventually introduced in Expedition 7, and resemble bioluminescent whale-squid hybrids. They are called "Leviathans" and players need to craft a "whale flute" to lure them to their position, but can also earn "whale hunter" capes, young ones as base decoration and a mature one as a living frigate for their fleet. With the "Outlaws" update, frigate fleets occasionally warp into a system and can be watched from the surface of a planet. Leviathans can occasionally warp into a system and swim majestically through the sky.
  • Off has a flying whale enemy in Zone 2. It's appropriately enough called "whale".
  • Otherspace: Comorro, who also acts as a massive living ship. Characters reside in various internal ducts and passages, and park their ships in her landing bay.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Robot Unicorn Attack 2: One will occasionally appear in the background 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.
  • Scathe: Oxide, one of the bosses, is a demon whale who flies through the air and can spam projectile attacks from it's underbelly. It's aesthetics appears to be borrowed from the Leviathan from Avengers, with some orange recolorations.
  • Sengoku Rance: 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.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Arcwhales — 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.
  • Solatorobo has the Master of the Clouds, a giant Air Whale who is used to travel from the Shepherd Republic to Earth.
  • Space Station 13: The exterior of the station is prowled by space carp, large purple alien fish which swim through the void of space in schools and like snacking on maintenance workers.
  • 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.
  • StarCraft:
    • The reason the Zerg can survive in space 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. Some of their air units, such as the Guardian and Overlord, fall somewhere between "space whale" and "space crab". We never see the behemoths, but StarCraft II shows their (presumably 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.
  • Star Fox:
    • The Nintendo Power 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.
    • Star Fox: There's a space whale in the Sector Y level, although it has 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.
  • Starscape had space fire dragon-things.
  • Stars In Shadow: The Star Harpies 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Sunrider: The Kickstarter for the game promised "romancable space whales" as their ultimate stretch goal at $100,000, 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.
  • Super Robot Wars: While no space whales are found, there is a Space Flounder, and its Space Flounder spawns which all look like tadpoles with a guys face on it.
  • Sword of the Stars: The Liir are a 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. In SotS 2, it's explained 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.
  • Tales of Hearts: A Space Whale figures prominently 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.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Although he's referred to as a dragon, Ba'ul 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.
  • 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!
  • Whales Voyage: You're cruising around in a spaceship shaped like, well, a whale.
  • Uru: The Wahrk is a strange, man-eating whale-shark-walrus hybrid thing that falls to Earth through the star fissure from Riven.
  • X3: Reunion: The Terran Conflict expansion 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.
  • Xenosaga: The Gnosis Cathedral Ships appear as giant alien whales.

    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 Adventures of Dave the Astronaut: In #19 the protagonist uses one of these space cetaceans to pull his ship after it runs out of fuel.
  • Darths & Droids: This strip's commentary notes that the Star Wars movies have a peculiar shortage of Space Whales.
  • 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.
  • Far Out There: Mentioned in one strip. Apparently, they can have mommy issues.
  • Girly: The Magical Flying Fetus Whale (introduced here) can fly through the air.
  • Go Get a Roomie!: Lillian dreams a discussion with Roomie in space with space whales around them.
  • Homestuck: In his introduction, Eridan is hunting a flying whale through Alternia's skies, waiting for it to "breach" from the clouds before shooting it down. A similar whale is later seen flying over Jake's island alongside other Alternian monsters.
  • Irregular Webcomic!: Mentioned as a reference to Beowulf: the poem calls the sea "the whale road", so space is "the space-whale road".
  • Kukuburi has these both as background wildlife and as "battlewhales" that you ride to battle (aerial battle). In the story, Brigade des Chapeaux does it to rescue Nadia.
  • xkcd: Referenced in Landing: "Whales: (probably) not in space".

    Web Original 
  • Bosun's Journal: Skylords occupy a transitional spot between a regular Space Whale and a Sky Whale, being giant whale-like beings that live in a zero-gravity section of a giant starship. They're unusual in being descended from humans, albeit very circuitously — their ancestors were pig-like zero-gravity livestock created using human genetic material, and they redeveloped sapience independently over millions of years. They're immense, reaching lengths of 250 meters (blue whales, for reference, top out at around thirty) from end to end. They reach these immense sizes thanks to their zero-gravity environment, which in addition to not requiring them to support their own weight allows them to develop delicate, mostly hollow bodies to reduce overheating. They're filter feeders, swallowing vast clouds of aeroplankton, swarms of insects and flocks of birds through three permanently open chambers derived from their ancestors' mouth and nostrils, and "swim" through the air using four sets of long paddles derived from fingers, which reach a maximum wingspan of 300 meters. They're sapient, although their thoughts are slow and their language extremely low-pitched and intended to be spoken using a toothless mouth that cannot close.
  • SCP Foundation: 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.
  • Worm: The Entities are planet-sized creatures that 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 
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: "Space Moby" features 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.
  • Blackstar has an episode not only featuring one variation of this trope, but titled after it: "The Air Whales of Anchar".
  • Bounty Hamster has enormous purple space whales that act as long-haul truckers, carrying cargo from planet to planet.
  • Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot: Care-a-Lot is visited every year by the Thunder Whales, flying whales who spout storm clouds.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "The Last of the Starmakers", a Space Whale tries to eat two Space Squids in the manner similar to a black hole.
  • Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist: Combined with "Fantastic Voyage" Plot in an episode where Dex and his crew have to travel inside the body of a space whale in order to save it.
  • 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".
    • The Encyclopod of the 4th movie, Into The Wild Green Yonder, is a space manta ray.
    • "Möbius Dick" introduces a Space Whale. A four-dimensional one that breaches into the universe to "breathe" the vacuum of space, spouting fractals along the way. It has a looped "Moebius colon" that keeps whatever it swallows in perfectly preserved temporal stasis, which is oddly separate from its actual food source, feelings of obsession leeched from poor victims taunted into obsessing over it that it assimilates into its body. The episode gives us this gem from Dr. Amy Wong, "I used to hunt giraffes on safari, and giraffes are basically just land space whales."
  • 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.
  • Rocket Power: In one episode, a whale is shown being kidnapped by a flying saucer in the background of one scene.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sky Whale


Möbius Dick

The fourth dimensional space whale tries to eat the Planet Express crew.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MonsterWhale

Media sources: