A novel with intelligent sperm whales which I PARTIALLY read in a supermarket book display back about the 1980s I guess. Obviously it counts as at least partially fantasy and science fiction.

I would like to mention the books as an example of somewhat incomplete research in a historical list I am writing. In the story whale culture remembered two whales who had fought against 19th century whalers, who were obviously supposed to be the whale who sank the *Essex in 1820 and Mocha Dick.

I would like to point out that if the author had done more research instead of limiting himself to the most famous hero whales he could have mentioned several others who wold likely be remembered by intelligent sperm whales.

The whale novel plot description which comes the closest seems to be Sounding by Hank Searls, 1982, but I haven't found detailed enough descriptions to be certain.


Perhaps the 1980 Alan Dean Foster novel Cachalot? In it Foster portrays a world reserved for the Earth Cetaceans after having been nearly wiped out by humans.

It has been about 20 years since I last read it and I don't specifically remember the part about the Whaler culture. But, the time is about right (1980). Below are a number of sites with plot descriptions and cover art. Perhaps one of them will look familiar.

Cachalot Link1

Cachalot Link2

Cachalot Link3

Otherwise, the following is a link to a review/synopsis of Sounding by Hank Searles (warning spoilers) and an online GoogleeBooks excerpt. The excerpt doesn't have fighting Whalers as part of the cetacean lore. However,

in Chapter 3 Searle does describe situations that the whales remember twice in the last 150 years that there was a respite from whaling ships. The first about 40 summers ago for five summers (from 1981) and about 65 summers ago for four summers when the first noisy submarines appeared and for which the whales had no idea why. Except that it was also a time that many things from above sank through the waters. Too, many a cetacean was deafened/crippled by large shock waves and explosions for which no explanation could be known. In these cases Searles was obviously painting a picture of WW1 and WW2 when whaling basically ceased. This type of whale memory sounds similar to your example of fighting whalers being part of cetacean lore.

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