In the novel, humans all lived underground and were decanted - not born, were undersized, short-lived, emotionally-empty, and prone to suicide and freak-outs. Above ground there were mechanized factory farms of mono-cultures with no native life remaining; a single robotic whale swam the oceans. In the denouement, a number of long voyage space ships returned to reseed the planet with a genetic library sent from far in the past.

I read it in the mid-1980s on the the heels of reading "Ecotopia" which seems to have eclipsed any memory of the title for this book. Any ideas?


1 Answer 1


Could it be The Godwhale by T.J. Bass? Although there isn't any mention of space ships I believe it is the whale that is tasked with repopulating the oceans.

  • I recognised elements of this as Bass's story Rorqual Maru, which I read in the anthology The 1973 Annual World's Best SF. On investigation, it seems that the story was an extract from The Godwhale. (Coincidentally, the answer to this recent question was also in that anthology.) Apr 14, 2011 at 9:28
  • I looked up 'The God Whale' and it is very similar sounding and could be the correct title. I'll have to read it and see - sounds interesting even if it proves to not be the same book.
    – Ladybug
    Apr 22, 2011 at 6:06
  • 1
    It sounds more like The Godwhale, but Bass's novel Half Past Human is set on the same world and has similar themes. I seem to recall The Godwhale only had one starship, which arrived at the beginning of the novel, while Half Past Human had one that arrived at the end.
    – Tom Zych
    Sep 3, 2011 at 2:57

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