Talking Squids in Outer Space

The Pinnacle of SF

[Squid Home]

Novels: Significant TSiOS Presence

White Light, by William Barton & Michael Capobianco

The Manifold series, by Stephen Baxter

“Throw in a race of mutant, starfaring squid...”
— Publishers Weekly

“On several occasions, engaging squid-viewpoint scenes steal the show from mere humans....”
— Dave Langford

Engines of Light, by Ken MacLeod

“...giant spaceship-piloting cephalopods...”
John J. McKay

The Starfarers Quartet, by Vonda N. McIntyre:


In print:

“...wait till you meet the squidmoth!...”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

Arthur C. Clarke’s Venus Prime, by Paul Preuss

The Heritage Universe, by Charles Sheffield

The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells [Gutenberg project edition]

The Sector General novels, by James White

  • Hospital Station (1962)
  • Star Surgeon (1963)
  • The Aliens Among Us (1964)
  • Major Operation (1971)
  • Futures Past (1977)
  • Ambulance Ship (1979)
  • Sector General (1983)
  • Star Healer (1985)
  • Code Blue — Emergency! (1987)
  • The Genocidal Healer (1992)
  • The Galactic Gourmet (1996)
  • Final Diagnosis (1997)
  • Mind Changer (1998)
  • Beginning Operations (2001)

“...the tentacles of Diagnostician Camuth, the Creppelian octopoid, made impatient, slapping noises against the floor....”
James White
Mind Changer

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Talking Squids in Outer Space: Short fiction

Sheena 5,” by Stephen Baxter, featured on talkingsquidsinouterspace.com with the kind permission of the author. First published: Analog, May 2000. Collected in Phase Space, HarperCollins (UK) Aug 2002. Reprinted in Year's Best SF #6, ed David Hartwell, Harper Eos 2001.

“The Dust,” by Jayme Lynn Blaschke. Interzone no. 129; The Ant-Men of Tibet and Other Stories, ed David Pringle (Big Engine 2001)

The Shining Ones,” by Arthur C. Clarke. Analog Audio Cassette, 2003.

The Town on Blighted Sea,” by A.M. Dellamonica. Strange Horizons, 21 August 2006

“The Raptures of the Deep”
Rosaleen Love. Gathering the Bones, ed. Dann, Campbell, & Etchison (HarperCollins 2003); Year's Best Fantasy 4, ed. David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, 2004.

The Gods Hate Kansas,” by Joseph Millard. Startling Stories, 1941, Monarch Books, 1964. Discussed by Bud Webster in F&SF

Image courtesy of NASA

Here Be Squids


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. Tr. Frederick Paul Walter & Walter James Miller. Naval Institute Press. 1993.
[Gutenberg Project edition]

Beast, by Peter Benchley. Ballantine, 1992.

The Moon and the Sun, by Vonda N. McIntyre. Pocket Books, 1997. Nebula award.
[Tentacled excerpt]

Reefsong, by Carol Severance. Del Rey, 1991

The Rifters Series, by Peter Watts. Tor Books.

Sphere, by Michael Crichton. Knopf, 1987; Ballantine, 1997.

That Darn Squid God, by Nick Pollotta and James Clay. Wildside Press, 2004

Short Stories

"Site Fourteen," by Laura Anne Gilman. Revisions, ed. Julie Czerneda & Isaac Szpindel. Daw Books, 2004.

"Neon Sea Dreams," by Rupert Goodwins. Intertext #38, September-October 1997

Other Media

Sculpture: Genetically modified bears by Theo Kaccoufa

Postage stamps: Celebrations of cephalopods including Mickey Mouse as Captain Nemo facing the giant squid


Milk cartons: Have you seen this squid?

Image courtesy of NASA

Squidly Movies

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Disney, 1954.

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, directed by Karel Zeman, 1958. Review by Waldrop & Person.

"20,000 Tentacles under the sea - Cephalopods in cinema," by Roland C. Anderson, at The Cephalopod Page

Sphere, Warner Studios, 1998

Galaxy Quest. Universal Studios, 1999.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space. Paramount, 1958.

"Sure, in their true forms they look like squids (until they die, when they look like runny applesauce)"
— John G. Nettles
[complete review]

Men in Black. Columbia Tristar, 1997

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No Squids

The Algebraist, by Iain M. Banks. Time Warner, 2004. Although the US cover is covered with (five-legged?) cephalopods, there are no talking squids in outer space in the novel.

They Came from beyond Space, based on "The Gods Hate Kansas," by Joseph Millard,

(Whoever They are, They aren't squids anymore)

Image courtesy of NASA

Offsite links to the natural history of cephalopods
& other marine invertebrates

TED talks: David Gallo: Underwater Astonishments. Some visitors may find the YouTube version more flexible.

In Search of Giant Squid, Newport (OR) Aquarium; Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle

"Monster warning to protect oceans," by Mark Norman, BBC News

Violet the Octopus Opens a Jar

"Squid Skin Reveals Hidden Messages," Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA.

Heteroteuthis dispar ejects bioluminescent clouds instead of ink, a behavior called "fire shooting."

Not much to look at, but what a personality: Squid study reveals personality plus

Nature: Encountering Sea Monsters, including Bob Cranston's attempt to communicate with the large and predatory Humboldt squid using strobe lights, an interview with Australian cephalopod researcher Dr. Mark Norman, and cuttlefish wallpaper. The PBS website lets you find rebroadcasts in your area.

"New squid on the (ice) block" — giant squid on display in Melbourne.

Squid Genome Project at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Baby Broad Squid squidcam at The Science Site

Cephalopod database by Dr. James B. Wood & Catriona Day

Sepioteuthis sepioidea, at The Cephalopod Page (TCP), created and maintained by Dr. James B. Wood


Architeuthis dux, the giant squid

Raising giant squid larvae: Steve O'Shea

Mimic Octopus

Blaschka Marine Invertebrates

Walking Octopus video

Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Image courtesy of NASA

News Reports from the Real World
Architeuthis & other marine invertebrates

Squidmom! "Broody squid keep young in hand" at Nature.com, 14 December 2005. Complete with slideshow and video.

Squid are researcher's "favorite guys," Boston Globe, 7 November 2005.

Scientists Capture Giant Squid in Photos, By Hiroko Tabuchi, Associated Press, 28 September 2005. [Slide Show]

"Suckers for gay trysts, fiery females and rough sex — squid secrets exposed," by Frank Urquhart, scotsman.com, 26 September 2005

"Giant of the deep snapped," Melbourne, Australia, Herald Sun, 28 September 2005
"Japanese zoologists say they have made the first recording of a live giant squid, one of the strangest and most elusive creatures in the world." [continued in complete article — but no photos!]

Washington Post article with photo
(may require log-in)

Star Tribune article with photos

The Sun: naked squid pic!

Deep-sea monster caught on tape, MSNBC, 20 December 2001
"Giant squid is something 'fundamentally different,' illustrating how little we know about sea's depths..."
[includes cool video, requires IE etc to play, makes you watch an ad first]

Image courtesy of NASA

Other Tentacular Entities of Note

Noodly appendage: The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Pulp Octopus!: "Images of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure pulp covers featuring the wily octopus."

The Elder Gods: Cthulhu & H.P. Lovecraft

Tentacled toys! Chthulu lives!

PowerSquid (non-organic tentacular entity)

Image courtesy of NASA

Report science-fictional squid sightings, natural history links, and other amusing cephalopod links:
Email the Squiditor

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[Squid Home]

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Updated Wednesday, 08-Mar-2017 15:21:33 PST