It's about a man who ends up on a space whale that can "dive" through time, he picks up a capsule with a woman in stasis that he is attracted to, he also saves a little girl who he travels through time with, I forget most of the story but in the end the little girl ends up being the woman in the stasis capsule. I swear the main characters name is jon starflyer or something close to it. A man and a little girl in a space whale

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    Starting to think we need a space-whale tag... – Organic Marble Jun 2 '18 at 15:06
  • How sure are you on the 1959 thing? I've found a book from 1980 (based on a collection of stories from 1962 onwards) that seems to fit perfectly. – Rand al'Thor Jun 2 '18 at 15:18
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    @OrganicMarble Well, there is a TV Tropes page ... (which is actually what led me ultimately to the answer). – Rand al'Thor Jun 2 '18 at 15:34
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    @OrganicMarble Would the whale in Hitchiker's count? I think it was created within the atmosphere, though... – MarsJarsGuitars-n-Chars Jun 2 '18 at 19:19
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    How messed up would it be if the child also turned out to be their daughter? Then the woman would have given birth to herself and he would have had an incestuous relationship. – Brian Jun 3 '18 at 3:25

It sounds like you read either part of the Spacewhale series of stories by Robert F. Young, or the novel Starfinder (1980) which is apparently the same series just collected together in a single volume.

You can read the first book of the series online: the hero is called Jonathan Sands (close enough to Jon), and he ends up on - swallowed by, in fact - a gigantic space whale which has the ability to travel through space and time. I couldn't find much detail online about any of the stories in the series beyond the first one - although I did notice that one of them is entitled As a Man Has a Whale: a Love Story, which could be what you're looking for - but I did find this description of the novel (emphasis mine):

John Starfinder had hunted the spacewhales as they plunged beneath the surface of the space-Time sea, plummeting into the past & resurfacing light years away, he had killed the whales & made them ready as spaceships. But one day a captive whale spoke to him, begging release, promising power. And in one bold gesture, Starfinder threw over his old life to escape w/the whale. Together they rode the vast expanse of ebony space--to the beginnings of time & back again--until a new call, the love of a dead woman, led him to the most difficult & daring venture of his life--the ultimate challenge of a headlong struggle with death.

That's GOT to be what you're looking for.

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    I wonder whether this is distinct from a series of which I read a story or two long ago. The hunters kill the whales' brains, but one freak whale has a second brain (“ganglion”?), which remains communicative. Its thoughts are expressed in graphic symbols (which I didn't see in a quick run through the linked story). – Anton Sherwood Jun 3 '18 at 1:42
  • Originally there was a series of stories in F&SF about the man and his whale. I remember buying back issues to get the ones I had missed. This would have been late 1970s. Later I got the novel Starfinder, which I thought would be a fix-up with extra material, but in fact the stories had been restructured to tell essentially the same overarcing story but with significant differences. I was quite pleased about the restructure because one of the stories had a major plot hole. – Paul Beardsley Jul 15 '18 at 11:04

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