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The Godwhale (The Hive #2)

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  332 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Rorqual Maru was her name. She was a harvester - a vast plankton rake without a crop, abandoned by Earth society when the seas died. Part whale, part ship, and well over 600 feet long, she was left to rot in the sterile ocean.

But suddenly, after centuries, the sea was no longer dead, and Rorqual Maru stirred from her slumber. She would set out once again to serve mankind.
Mass Market Paperback, 306 pages
Published 1976 by Methuen (first published December 12th 1973)
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsThe Forever War by Joe HaldemanRendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. ClarkeRingworld by Larry NivenThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Classic Science Fiction - 1970-1979
79th out of 167 books — 131 voters
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. DickThe Meat Market by James ChalkParable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerWe by Yevgeny ZamyatinRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Hidden Gems of Science Fiction
220th out of 264 books — 517 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 794)
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Jim Hoff
Jul 07, 2015 Jim Hoff rated it it was amazing
Don't be fooled by the title. The "godhwhale" itself is only a portion of this epic, century spanning book. Chock full of ideas, hard science, and details, the Godwhale is no less than a masterpiece. It is SF on a HUGE scale. If you've never heard of it, don't let this deter you. The Godwhale is one of SF's lesser known classics.
Jasmine Woods
Aug 10, 2013 Jasmine Woods rated it really liked it
The Godwhale came to me in a stack of classic sci-fi paperbacks, mostly Asimov and Wyndham and Vogt and the like. It stood out, party because of its relatively large size and its bizarre cover art, and it came complete with a recommendation from my Dad, who remembered reading it years ago. The problem being, of course, that stack of books didn't contain Half-past Human, the novel preceding the Godwhale. A quick Google search taught me the difference between the four-toed Nebish and the five-toed ...more
Peter Pier
Oct 18, 2008 Peter Pier rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everybody interested?
Recommended to Peter by: Found it
Post-apocalyptic. That was my first real SF-book, I love it dearly. Regarding it being written in the 70ies, its quite amazing regarding the amount of AI. I say, recommended, including its predecessor, "Half Past Human". T.J. Bass delivered a tremendous work.

What I learned... humankind will never fit into a tupperware-box.
Jan 04, 2016 Dragoonfliy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I read this book years ago and decided (abruptly) to find it again and re-read it.

It's surprisingly dense for such a small book, and covers and vast swathe of science fiction concepts in simply the first few chapters.

Still enjoyed it the second time around, though I found some sections to be predictable cliche. Despite this many of the ideas presented are still pretty novel and entertaining to read about.
Sep 26, 2012 Lea rated it it was amazing
lives on in memory for years
Sohail Keegan
Feb 08, 2013 Sohail Keegan rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It is dated, and the editing is horrible, but the way the story is told is reminiscent of the era when Science-fiction could take flights of Fantasy.

This book was published shortly before the advent of biotechnology. It is truly a fantastical piece; suspend your imagination completely if you want to enjoy it.
John Fritz
May 16, 2009 John Fritz rated it really liked it
Been so long since I read this but it struck a chord so that - after all these years - I still remember "Augmented Renal Nucleus of Larry Dever" and "bots and warbles".
Gary Sutherland
Apr 08, 2013 Gary Sutherland rated it really liked it
Sort of a pseudo-sequel to Half Past Human by the same author.

Another great book I've read time and again.
Daniel Salvo
Nov 09, 2014 Daniel Salvo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Al fin pude leer este libro, después de más de 30 años de haber leído el otro libro de T.J. Bass, "Más que humano". Al fin supe qué fue de OLGA, la Colmena y la humanidad del futuro. Interesantes revelaciones sobre biología y sicología. Estoy seguro que, al igual que el otro libro, volveré a leerlo para profundizar cosas que me han dejado perplejo.
Aug 31, 2015 Bernard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apoc
Out of the blue (whale) did I pick to read this book. It had sat abandoned in the depths of my book stack for many moons, just as Rorqual the Godwhale had been abandoned by the Earth people that created it. But I get ahead of myself. The book's main protagonist is a hemi-human by name of Larry Dever, who got cut in half (hence being hemi), frozen until he could be properly fixed, thawed, fixed but not to his satisfaction, so he had himself frozen again, then thawed again in a far flung future wh ...more
Timothy Keable
Aug 23, 2014 Timothy Keable rated it it was amazing
Superb. I've read it at least four times now.
Sep 22, 2015 Manuel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se puede decir que este libro tiene dos protagonistas: Uno es Larry Dever, un humano que en su época sufrió la perdida de la mitad de su cuerpo y decidió ponerse en cryostasis despertando de cuando en cuando en espera de un futuro donde pueda recuperar su cuerpo por completo. El otro protagonista es una prodigiosa inteligencia artificial llamada Rorqual Maru. La cual posee un gigantesco cuerpo en forma de ballena, pues fue creada originalmente como una cosechadora marina cuando los mares aun reb ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it was written in the seventies “The Godwhale” is still a surprisingly relevant science fiction novel. Many of the themes explored are very much a product of its time, but themes of morality, economics and prejudice attitudes are still apt today. The most relevant theme of all is how to cope with overpopulation, which is a problem we are sure to face in the future, namely how to provide enough food to feed so many people. This has many echoes with our own world as it is estimated that ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"She was a cyborg...Part organic whale, part mechanized ship"

This is going to be awesome...


Better than its '70s mass-market, pulp sci-fi cover design would suggest, but that just makes its shortcomings that much more disappointing.
Dee Mills
Apr 16, 2016 Dee Mills rated it it was amazing
This one lives up to its excellent reputation for creative imagination and wonderful writing. I became immersed in this future world. Highly recommend.
Feb 19, 2014 Steve rated it liked it
Read it decades ago, but still have it on my bookshelf. Fun and different.
Gerry Vogel
Jan 04, 2009 Gerry Vogel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
The sequel, and partial prequel, to Half Past Human.
Dec 02, 2015 Tyler rated it really liked it
On a whim I picked up another book from the SF Masterworks series - The Godwhale by TJ Bass.

Turns out it was an interesting find - set in the future where humanity has evolved into various underground and sea-bound dwellers, some primitive and some reliant on AI technology. The novel starts earlier in time (but still the future) with the protagonist Larry Dever accidentally truncated (!) and choosing to be temporarily suspended until medicinal technology can revive him properly.

He turns up in th
Jeff Rudisel
Jul 31, 2012 Jeff Rudisel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Jan 07, 2015 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Godwhale is a good natured romp through a future in which humanity has evolved into space travellers, primitive aquatics and the underground Hive, populated by trillions of the aptly named Nebish. Our hero Larry Dever is cut in half in a meaningless accident at the very beginning of the book and placed in suspended animation careening toward a very bizarre future and the discovery of the mysterious equation: gy=c! (but what if it's a really, really small planet at a very great distance? or a ...more
Nov 01, 2015 Gaby rated it really liked it
Shelves: 50ish-books-2015
I massively enjoyed this one. Only thing I didn't like was ARNOLD who essentially seemed to come in and dump patriarchy all over a more interesting society. I also wish the Godwhale herself had had more of a complex vocal role but still a ton of fun reading it.
Similar to its predecessor with lots of interesting new angles. TJ Bass had a terrific imagination. Not to everyone's liking. Heavy on genetic engineering.
Ian James
I first read this in 1977, I think.
I have re-read it several times.
The scene where Larry Dever becomes a hemi-human is seared into my memory.
Feb 10, 2015 Camille rated it it was ok
well-written, just not my cup of tea.
Dec 17, 2015 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is bananas. Far future, full of wild biologically based notions, including the titular godwhale, a sort of island-sized whale/machine/brain sailing the oceans of future earth like a pirate ship. Writing is nothing special, and there's not much in the way of developed characters. It gets by purely on endlessly inventive ideas.
Juuso Helander
Mar 26, 2015 Juuso Helander rated it it was ok
Themes that this book covers are quite fascinating, but I wouldn't say that it's for everyone. For one like me, that has no background in biochemistry etc, the book was momentarily painful to read. Also, I'd say that the characters felt a bit distant. A few nice moments, but in the end I had to fight to read it through.
Edward Davies
May 07, 2015 Edward Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-reads
This was a vast improvement on Half Past Human, with the characters feeling much more likeable and realistic. The plot might be just as confusing, but at least the subplots are well rounded and feature humour and drama in equal measure.
I've read this so many time I finally lost count. Follows Larry Dever in his 2,000-year search for a new pair of legs, past the end of the world and into its rebirth. Not to be missed.
Jul 30, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it
Again it does some really interesting world building but is lacking in the narrative department.
Jan 12, 2009 Caitlin rated it really liked it
So far, really enjoying it.
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SF Masterworks Group: The Godwhale by T.J. Bass 1 5 Jul 19, 2013 05:59AM  
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Thomas Joseph Bassler, author of health & diet related non-fiction under the name Thomas J. Bassler
More about T.J. Bass...

Other Books in the Series

The Hive (2 books)
  • Half Past Human

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“I like to think that Man is the highest creature in the Universe – that Earth is the most important planet – and that I am . . . well . . . at least significant.” 0 likes
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