A giant octopus from Bristol Aquarium is set to have a starring role on the cover of a new science fiction book.
Elsa, the giant Pacific octopus, has been chosen by local author Paul R Goddard to be the main image on the cover of his newest book ‘Change’.
The book, which is due to be published next month, is a fantasy set in Bristol and the South West in a dystopian world following the collision of the real world and the imaginary world.
“The book is an exciting parable of magical realism decrying the way in which our pollution and poisoning is destroying the rivers and seas,” said Paul.
“It imagines a world in which the spirits of the waters could fight back against us. Cephalopods feature heavily in the book in a mythological way hence Elsa’s starring role on the cover,” he said.
The book will be available via Amazon in both paperback and ebook and copies will also be on sale in the Bristol Aquarium shop.
“Octopus are often described as ‘other-worldly’ so she’s probably a very good choice for the front cover of a science fiction book,” said Bristol Aquarium’s Jake Graham, who took the picture of Elsa.
“In fact the cephalopod family in general is definitely full of some pretty incredible creatures; from living fossils like the nautilus to shape-changing cuttlefish and true wonders like the giant squid,” he added.
Professor Goddard studied medicine at University College and University College Hospital and, after qualifying, spent three years in London practising medicine and surgery before moving to Bristol where he trained in radiology and took up a post as a Consultant Radiologist at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1983, retiring in 2004.
He has written a number of science fiction books along with a non-fiction book on the history of state medicine in the UK.
Giant Pacific octopus are the world’s largest species of octopus and are found from Japan to Southern California. The biggest recorded specimen had an arm span of 10 metres (33ft) and weighed 270kgs (600lbs).
As well as being the largest, giant Pacifics are also among the cleverest members of the cephalopod family.
Despite their intelligence giant Pacific octopus are relatively short lived – going from the size of a rice grain at birth to being fully grown within the space of two years.
Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews and picture opportunities please contact Sarah Moore and David Waines on 0117 929 8929.