All this talk of the Juno spacecraft burning up in Jupiter's atmosphere as its end of life maneuver has reminded me of a story that now I really want to read again.

Really huge, neutral buoyancy creatures living in Jupiter. One is attracted to an event at much higher "altitude" but is attacked by... well lets call them Jovian sharks. The creature can disassemble and reintegrate if necessary - something like that.

I think a manned mission to Jupiter that gets in trouble is a major element of the plot, but I mostly just remember bits about the Jovian life forms.

I'm pretty sure this is a well known story and author - I just can't place it. Don't have access to my books right now either :(

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    pretty sure Arthur C. Clarke's books in the Space Odyssey series, 2061 or 3000 respectively have atmospheric Jovian lifeforms that flew about in the clouds. 2061 also has a crashed ship storyline (my copies are in a box somewhere so I'll have to look elsewhere for backup on that :)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 5:49
  • @NKCampbell - If the Internet of Things (or IoT) includes putting all of my things in boxes on the internet, (IoTiB) then I'm all for it! But I don't think this was as epic as an Asimov Space Odyssey. I think it was a story about the particular crew sent on this mission to Jupiter, they had to breathe oxygenated liquid, and... maybe something about religion regulating scientific thought, and discovery of life on Jupiter maybe, or am I mixing multiple stories?
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 5:55
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    @NKCampbell You can go back earlier in Clarkes writings to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Meeting_with_Medusa from 1971. It has floating medusa, flying sharks and a 'manned' vessel (but doesn't get into trouble, so it is not an answer for this question)
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


The novel you're describing is either "Jupiter" (2002) or its sequel "Leviathans of Jupiter" (2011), both written by Ben Bova. The floating creatures are the Leviathans, and the religious organisation controlling things is the New Morality.

Both novels feature adventures into the Jovian 'atmosphere' and portray the lives and dangers of the Leviathans, as well as their interactions with the human vessel. I know that "Leviathans of Jupiter" definitely involves the Jovian sharks, although I'd have to re-read them both in order to be sure if they were also in the first novel.

  • Yes! This is exactly it. Thank you for the quick response! I'm also relieved to see I wasn't mixing more than one story together. Also I wasn't aware of the Bova's Grand Tour series of novels. Better get started...
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 6:49
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    Happy to help! As soon as I read your description, I recognised it, and it was going to just bother me all day if I didn't figure it out :-) The rest of the Grand Tour are entertaining to read, so I can definitely recommend those. Enjoy!
    – flith
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 6:57
  • Bova wrote something else quite similar decades earlier. The short story "Pressure Vessel" (later fixed-up as part of As On a Darkling Plain) dealt also dealt with Jovian organisms, including floaters and sharks. The Earth explorers almost get killed as they sink deeper and deeper into the planet.
    – Buzz
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 16:53
  • I think you're thinking of the original Jupiter - goodreads.com/book/show/267334.Jupiter - but the same thing may have happened in the second one.
    – pcurry
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 0:15
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    I thought about, but couldn't remember off-hand how much detail he went into on the Leviathans in the first book. Need to re-read those at some point! But I'll add it to the answer anyway.
    – flith
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 6:15

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