I remember reading a book fifteen to twenty years ago that had the following charactersitics:

  • The main character was a man who at some point lost the lower part of his body (legs & pelvis)
  • He was placed in suspended animation / cryogenic sleep at one point in the story
  • The story may have included a whale/leviathan-esque "character" (but I may be conflating two stories in my memory)
  • At one point in the story he drags himself through some air-vent-esque piping

I'm fairly sure it was written by one of the "big" authors and that, at least in the printing I read, the cover had a whale/leviathan on it.

Could anyone identify this book?


3 Answers 3


The Godwhale by T. J. Bass (1974). Not a big name author, but otherwise a good fit for your description:

  • The protagonist has indeed lost the lower part of his body.
  • He is placed into suspended animation until the damaged tissue can be restored.
  • A major part of the story revolves around the Godwhale, a cyborg built from genetically modified blue whale.
  • The first edition cover features said Godwhale.
  • looks like this is the one. Now all I've gotta do is see if I can find a copy =) I suspect I assumed it was written by a "big name" author as I had my first foray into much of Asmiovs work at the time, along with a few other better known authors
    – Rob
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 8:01

Sounds to me like this short story from sir Arthur C. Clarke:

A meeting with Medusa

where the captain of an airship is injured in a crash, partially rebuilt as a cyborg, and then flies to Jupiter, where he makes atmospheric descent with a kind of airship, meeting with local life forms, the smallest of which is way bigger than a whale...


This is either "Godwhale" by T.J Bass or the prequel, "Half Past Human" also by T.J Bass. The character with the bifricated body is definitely from "Godwhale"; he is attempting to drink from a cask of liquor and the automatic door shuts on his lower body and results in his legs and hip being severed. There is cryogenic freezing where he awakens at different points in the future, and the leviathan-creature, the Rorqual, is also in "GodWhale". Some parts are not in "Godwhale", however, and might be from the aforementioned prequel, "Half Past Human".



Unfortunately, despite those stellar books, T.J. Bass didn't produce any other novels. The fact that it was done by a master of the genre must be a misremembering, but he probably could have been if more of his material had been published.

  • Welcome to SFF:SE. While this answer is at least largely correct, it also largely duplicates the answer which was accepted 7 years ago. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, especially given that you have constructed a reasonable quality answer, but you may want to consider that it may not have been the best use of your efforts.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 1:08
  • I answered a question similar to this last month and it was accepted as The Godwhale scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/185972/…
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 19:54
  • Oh jeez I'm sorry for the duplicate, the other answer didn't show on the mobile site. My apologies! Commented May 28, 2018 at 20:18

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