Turtles All The Way Down.

Paul Kidby’s illustration of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld: a large disc resting on the backs of four elephants, which are in turn standing on the back of an enormous turtle called Great A’Tuin, as it swims through space. Illustration: Paul Kidby/Orion Books.

Me, I don’t live in ‘merica, this is Turtle Island. World turtles figure prominently in many cosmologies, and Atlas Obscura has a look at them.


  1. Bruce says

    Setting aside questions such as why the turtle ignores the items on their back, or how the turtle survives or moves in outer space, I want to ask about the turtle’s motivation. Where is it going? And what would it do if it gets there? Does the turtle ever eat, or have turtle friends? Or any interaction? Does the turtle ever get bored? Does it’s back ever get itchy? These are what scientists, philosophers, and theologians should probably be working on, I guess?

  2. blf says

    Bruce@2, Some of that is answered, at least in part, in The Light Fantastic. And then there’s the elephants…

  3. rq says

    The Airbender universe has a giant tortoise or several, too. The idea has a lot of appeal -- I mean, who doesn’t love turtles? But more importantly, who wouldn’t take life advice from a giant, talking turtle?

  4. blf says

    who wouldn’t take life advice from a giant, talking turtle?

    The mildly deranged penguin. She “advises” the turtles.

Leave a Reply