Friday Squid Blogging: Talking Squids in Outer Space

An index of fiction.

The site was inspired by Margaret Atwood's infamous comment that Oryx and Crake isn't really science fiction, because science fiction is "talking squids in outer space." This prompted a hunt for science fiction which actually did feature talking squids in outer space.

Posted on August 15, 2008 at 4:57 PM • 19 Comments


SkorjAugust 15, 2008 6:02 PM

The talking squid in Baxters books are reasonably well thought out: he works hard to justify lifting all the water that would be needed, and more-or-less succeeds.

The talking squid in Sheffield's books are land squid, really more "squid-like" than proper squid.

rmfAugust 15, 2008 7:09 PM

The one that really caught my attention was "That Darn Squid God"
It makes me happy knowing there is a book with that title. I may have to find it...

JuergenAugust 16, 2008 4:35 AM

They are neither talking nor in outer space, and nobody knows whether they are squids, but I can recommend John Wyndham's "The Kraken Wakes" as great food for imagination ...

CaseAugust 16, 2008 5:17 AM

@Wintermute: "Admiral Akbar was not very squid-like, now was he?"

Not visually, but his species was called Mon Calamari...

CBAugust 16, 2008 7:09 AM

I didn't see L. Neil Smith's "Forge of the Elders" listed. How can you beat VW Beetle-sized beer-swilling nautiloids?

CBMAugust 16, 2008 2:42 PM

If you can't beat VW Beetle-sized beer-swilling nautiloids, you have to join them. This is my current project. So far so good!

Stuart YoungAugust 17, 2008 1:17 AM

As for movies, what about the Thermians in Galaxy Quest? They're pretty squid-like when they're not using their hologram disguises!

Clive RobinsonAugust 17, 2008 1:22 AM


'isn't really science fiction, because science fiction is "talking squids in outer space."'

Err no, depending on your SQUID they realy are in (or on the edges) of outer space, and they are talking back to us humans because we put them there...

Before you think I have taken something to put me "in space man" the SQUID I'm talking about is a "Superconducting QUantum Interference Device" which is an incredably sensitive magnetometer (10^-14 T) which is apparently sensitive enough to detect the magnetic fields from your brain.

Originaly developed during the cold war they where used to detect the disturbances created by metalic devices (subs/mines etc) to the earths magnetic field from amongst other places aircraft.

Vonda N. McIntyreAugust 17, 2008 3:50 PM

I always appreciate suggestions for Talking Squids; and, thanks for the reference to it.

The interesting thing about Talking Squids is that the natural history links are more interesting, sometimes more unbelievable, than the fiction. (I steal real-world biology and tweak it for fiction all the time -- "Little Faces" and NAUTILUS, for example.)


AshAugust 17, 2008 8:10 PM

Peter Watts ( is a marine biologist, and this tends to heavily influence his fiction. The creatures in Blindsight are more like jellyfish than squids as such, and the question of whether or not they "talk" is a salient point of the whole novel, but it's worth reading:

AnonymousAugust 18, 2008 5:53 AM

I, for one, welcome our new VW Beetle-sized beer-swilling nautiloid buddies.

JPAugust 18, 2008 2:11 PM

What about the aliens in "The Simpsons?" They talk and are closer to being "squids" than Admiral Akbar.

Steve RAugust 18, 2008 3:33 PM

How about "Cosmonaut Keep", "Dark Light" and "Engine City" - The Engines of Light series by Ken McLeod. My memory is that the Squids are the intelligences that drive the star-ships from place to place. I can't remember if they talk, but they are important to the story.

The DoctorAugust 19, 2008 10:38 AM

In the hard SF world of Orion's Arm, there is a race of provolved giant squid adapted for survival in deep space. They're considered sapient, if I recall correctly (though I can't get to the website to check from work).

jerryAugust 24, 2008 9:45 PM

Manifold Time while not as good as Manifold
Space made a plausible case for using female
squids as bioenhanced astronauts.

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