I remember my dad reading it when I was a kid and I read it as well. It's sci-fi book made in like 60's-90's it has these turtles from space. They were like regular turtles to begin with but they stood up and all I can remember is that a human was talking to them on a spaceship or something at the end.

I don't think it was a very popular book but maybe some of you guys know it.

And no, it wasn't Teeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

  • 1
    Do you remember anything at all about the plot? Were the space turtles friendly or hostile? Were they out to conquer us? Were we out to conquer them? Did they want to trade with us, or convert us to their religion, or steal our women, or turn our sun into a traffic signal on an interstellar highway? If you think of any details to add, please don't put them in a comment, but use the edit button at the bottom of your question.
    – user14111
    Sep 28, 2014 at 8:42
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    Were the turtles speaking clearly and directly, or were they speaking sort of in parables and song lyrics?
    – Joe L.
    Sep 28, 2014 at 13:43
  • possible duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/57183/…
    – Otis
    Sep 19, 2015 at 2:58

4 Answers 4


This is a long shot, but Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven might fit.

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At least it has talking space-turtles:

Ch. 8:

It was, Haber thought in emotionless horror, a giant turtle. Then he realized that it was encased in a suit of some kind, which gave it a bulky, greenish, armored, inexpressive look like a giant sea turtle standing on its hind legs. It stood quite still, near Haber’s desk. Very slowly it raised its left arm, pointing at him a metallic, nozzled instrument.

He faced death.

A flat, toneless voice came out of the elbow joint. “Do not do to others what you wish others not to do to you,” it said.

Haber stared, his heart faltering.

The huge, heavy, metallic arm came up again. “We are attempting to make peaceful arrival,” the elbow said all on one note. “Please inform others that this is peaceful arrival. We do not have any weapons. Great self-destruction follows upon unfounded fear. Please cease destruction of self and others. We do not have any weapons. We are nonaggressive unfighting species.”

“I—I—I can’t control the Air Force,” Haber stammered.

“Persons in flying vehicles are being contacted presently,” the creature’s elbow joint said. “Is this a military installation?”

Word order showed it to be a question. “No,” Haber said, “No, nothing of the kind—”

“Please then excuse unwarranted intrusion.”

  • I don't remember this bit it all!
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2014 at 15:16
  • I think the aliens were left out of the 2002 movie; they're in the book and the 1980 movie, though.
    – Joe L.
    Sep 28, 2014 at 15:45

The Singers of Time by Frederic Pohl and Jack Williamson features sentient space turtles and was published in 1991.

The humans called them "Turtles." They were members of a superior alien race that had come to conquer Earth. But the conquest was through commerce and trade, the rule benevolent, and the result was a time of plenty and tranquility never before seen. As long as humans stayed in their place. THEN: Catastrophe. The Mother, the female progenitor of all living Turtles, vanishes. With no other choice, the Turtles turn to humans for help; to their science, which the aliens have banned as blasphemous; and to a man called Krake, the only human qualified to pilot a Turtle waveship.

It also features a pair of twins, separated in utero, who share a girlfriend. After each of them suffers irreparable damage to one half of the body, their doctor girlfriend combines them back into a single person.

And near the end, after traveling through a wormhole (or something), they characters look out from their spaceship and see that every single star has a Dyson sphere around it. Which looks like bad news.


Your details remind me of the Clutch Turtles from the Sharon Lee & Steve Miller Liaden Universe series. These details are from the Wikipedia entry:

Clutch Turtles These non-humans are even larger than Yxtrang and very long-lived; they appear much like turtles walking upright, hence the name. The length of their names are directly proportional to how old they are and their accomplishments: Edger's full name apparently takes some hours to recite. They are usually slow to act but are very dangerous when angered.

Clutch turtles travel in starships made from hollowed-out asteroids using an electron substitution drive that can have hallucinogenic effects on the human nervous system. They are able to command forces of great destructive or healing potential by singing. Clutch turtles are greatly feared and avoided by the Yxtrang as the result of a resounding defeat in battle many years prior to the timeframe of the story.

The Clutch turtles encountered in the "Agent of Change" sequence make up a "market research" team on behalf of their clan, who are known for manufacturing crystalline blades of extreme sharpness and durability by growing them in caves over a timespan of decades.


This clan of Clutch turtles manufactures crystal blades of exceeding sharpness and durability; these particular Turtles are named for the function they perform in the manufacture of their crystal blades. Much more information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaden_universe and at the Authors' own website, http://korval.com/ as well as the website where they post additional information and stories, http://www.SplinterUniverse.com/.

In the first book, Agent of Change, we learn that these specific Clutch Turtles are indebted to Val Con yos'Phelium of Clan Korval and have accepted Val Con as part of their clan. (That story is told in one of the chapbooks the authors have written to provide additional information/stories set in-universe.) They provide him with their spacecraft so he and his companion, Miri Robertson, can escape the people (the Department of the Interior, which is dedicated to taking over Liad) hunting him. We later learn that the race of Clutch Turtles is strong enough to make a galaxy-wide crime cartel, the Juntavas, fear for their existence when they "persuade" the Juntavas boss-of-bosses to issue a galaxy-wide amnesty for Val Con and Miri.

Clutch Turtles appear in several (but not all) books of the series and are mentioned in others; they have a supporting role in the stories.

Even if this isn't the series you are trying to identify, it is an excellent series. I recommend it for your reading enjoyment.


Very long shot here (not really either kid friendly, of the type to make a good reading aloud story, and not quite turtles) but Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series started back in the mid 90's. The basic premise is that a reptillian race (colloquially known as the Lizards) have come to invade Earth, and they arrive in the middle of World War 2. What's such a turning point is that their technology is roughly at our currently level today. That means that while they have a technological edge, it isn't as large as they expected (having expected us to be little more than hunter-gatherers) and humans have both the numbers on their side as well as a willingness to destroy their own planet, while the Lizards was to have the planet not be a radioactive cloud by the time their own colonizing fleet arrives.

The books all have repeated scenes with humans being brought up into space to converse with the Lizards. The Lizards also stand up repeatedly.

Like I said, it's a long shot.

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