The Leviathan: scince fiction short by Ruairi Robinson


I’m unimpressed. Epic CGI is no longer an interesting showcase in its own right; the story has to have some meaning.

The visuals around the crew are pretty good; the “actual work in space is hard work, done by the space-suited equivalent of chainhands” theme is well-illustrated, although nothing in the trailer emphasized the “involuntary” nature of the job; that also seems an unlikely handwave, as I can imagine a future where a lot of daredevil professionals would seek out a high-risk, high-reward job like that. (Harvesting the core component of an FTL engine would be a hella high-reward job.)

But the setting is terribly confused. Are they in a nebula? Are they above a gas giant? Why do men walk around the open bay of that larger recovery vehicle? Why isn’t it enclosed? The setting has to be Jupiter or Saturn; they’re clearly in a dense, gaseous place; they can’t get FTL without the eggs, they can’t get the eggs without FTL, so their first harvests had to be Jovian. If that’s so, then a simple space suit isn’t enough for the caustic, radioactive environs of even “upper” Jupiter. They have cheap and effective gravitics, which means they haven’t talked to a hard science fiction writer about the consequences of cheap and effective gravitics.

All in all, I’ll pay attention to see if there’s a good story being told here, but so far I’m not seeing enough thought put into the context implied by the trailer to convince me.

It’s a poor showing when the three minute concept teaser has me appreciating how poorly thought out the entire enterprise is. After the giant-space-whale-which-we’ve-just-seen-lunging-up-out-of-the-clouds-to-eat-something-and-is-clearly-willing-to-eat-little-flying-man-ships has disappeared no one is looking down into the clouds, straight down. No one is hanging off a rail, no one is strapped to the bottom, there’s no evidence of any camera or cloud penetrating radar. And speaking of strapped, the ship isn’t even ready to react to a sudden leviathan attack because we have people walking around on the deck who aren’t strapped in.

Maybe this is a training video, like the terrible forklift safety films where they show all the ways forklift misuse can kill you.

Before it started I said “OK cue the exposition about how we are hunting it to extinction.” And the last scene was utterly predictable.

And the space whale is a pretty old trope at this point.

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He tried to kill me with a forklift! Ole!

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It’s quite well executed (although the points that others have made appear valid), but the whole concept just depresses me. We nearly wiped out whales on earth with stupid, shortsighted greed and some assholes stubbornly stick to that practice. To think that a hundred years from now we are going to go to other planets and kill the animals there for our material needs is just awful.

I sincerely hope we can do better.


Damn, that was impressive. Gigantic gas-giant dwellers are always awesome.

Moby Dick on some far away planet?

This was my thought exactly. Seems like you could go pretty far with just adapting Moby Dick to this setting.

Well at least they deserve the benefit of the doubt for having Jim Uhls on the project as screenwriter. His adaptation of “Fight Club” was an epic achievement that no doubt took many times longer to accomplish that the writing of the original book.

Clearly a distant ancestor of the Skywhale: (and

Looks cool, but I agree with a number of the complaints below, and would add why have they lost the knowledge of sonar and radar, it’s terribly unlikely they wouldn’t have a weapon that could do the job in one, automatic round, and most jarring for me is the assault on my aerodynamic sensibilities. Plus, I was rooting for the critter, fuck any aholes killing such a magnificent beast, did they forget how to frag?

Suspiciously reminiscent of Glen Cook’s wind-whales from his Black Company books (though admittedly faster-moving)

oh - and also

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