Friday, September 21, 2007

Alien Contacts: Arthur C. Clarke, Dolphin Island. Gollancz, London, 1963.

Johny runs away from home, stows away on a hover craft which is then damaged in a storm. The crew, not knowing he was there, leave without him, and he jumps into the sea. He manages to get onto a packing box and is drawn to an island by dolphins where he finds a research community who are working to understand and communicate with dolphins. The sf plot is then about teaching killer whales not to eat dolphins.

But more interesting is that most of the Island is Black, and Johnny's best friend is a local boy (black). Clarke handles this incredibly well in that Mike is just Mike: clever, and bigger and stronger than Johnny so although he is "the protagonist's friend" he never feels like a sidekick. The island economy is dependent on the work of everyone and Clarke does a really suberb job of blending the different peoples (as I had just read a K. Bulmer book in which a handsome, clever man was declared "clearly not really a Negro! There had to be some other blood in him! Clarke came as a breath of fresh air.

Shame the illustrator of the puffin edition ignored Clarke's descriptions of the boys. In the picture opposite p. 39, Johnny is drawn as his age (16./17), but Mike is drawn to be about 14. Someone, somewhere, clearly couldn't handle the idea that a Black friend could be older, smarter, physically fitter and better looking than the white protagonist.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

God lowered the American dollar so we can all be spared from having to suffer yet something else organized by fat loud mouthed Farah!!!!

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so appreciative that someone had the courage to speak truth to the self-imposed power subterfuge that Farah Mendlesohn perpetuates about herself. She is on EVERY list serve EVERY day. She situates herself to be the boss of everything. Farah, although you are fat enough to be more than one person, please realize that there are other people in the science fiction community who are not YOU!!! There are other people who can be the president and the organizer. Enough of you is enough. Please cease and desist from barraging us every day and at every event with your loud mouth. Shut your mouth; maybe we can have peace from you and you will be thinner. We are sick and tired of you.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on! Farah Mendlesohn makes my flesh crawl. I HATE her. She is the most obnoxious person on the entire planet.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! Let her eat wheat gluten!!!

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever hear her go on and on at a conference? It is worse than the daily list serve barrage. In person you can't log Farah Mendlesohn off. No wonder her poor husband lives in a separate city from her. Any comments about last years wet tee shirt display in Florida? Ugh. She looked like a commercial for the perfect contraceptive.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farah Mendlesohn disgraced the Fantastic conference. An organization president should act with dignity. Instead, she comported herself in the manner of a brazen scantily clad bimbo.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

My, someone badly needs a hug. And how brave of you ("all") to stay anonymous; but then, signing up for a blogger account is so onerous.

Anyway, hi Farah, sorry to be a month late wishing you all the best. And thanks for reviving my 30 year old memories of Dolphin Island.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah well, can't be loved by everyone. And at least this chap can spell my name.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever's leaving these comments is a vicious, humorless coward. "Coward" singular, because these reek of sock puppetry.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Anna Feruglio Dal Dan said...

Not only they are a vile humorless coward, they can't write. Must be terrible going to the ICFA and being so totally unable to master the language. No wonder they feel such burning envy for you, Farah. All the things they lack - the smarts, the confidence, the simple honesty of signing their name to their vileness - it must be so galling to see you around so obviously gifted with them.

1:34 AM  
Blogger Charlie Stross said...

Hypothesis: your anonymous troll is projecting, Farah. Inference: they're worried about their weight. (On the other hand, their style of abuse screams "female playground bitchiness" -- it's the kind of button-pushing women get socialized for in childhood and adolescence. So that probably discounts the "worried about their weight" inference a bit ...)

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erm... if this person hates you so much why can't they just remove themselves from your vicinity? We all love you - I'm assuming you don't have security trolls in the background strong arming people into rooms where you will be? :) Hoestly, some people! If they're so sick of your supposed monopoly in the world of SF fandom, then maybe they need to get down off that high horse and do someting themselves.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I am impressed, someone has a lot of various complexes here. good old doctor Freud would for sure enjoy a talk with this 'anonymus'. Let's have mercy. This must be a poorly talented person, probably very lonely. We are sorry nobody loves you. Try to learn from Farah instead posting infantile comments, because it seems to me that Farah really know how to enjoy live- which means and career! :)

3:14 PM  
Blogger Liz Hand said...

Gee — who knew one of the Gossip Girls went to ICFA?

Whoever this is, s/he's obviously pretty screwed up. Let's hope they wake up and maybe sober up, or at least embark upon some nice self-help program, or otherwise get something resembling a life.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Cramer said...

Farah my love, would you indulge my curiosity and pretty please send me IP numbers associated with the harassing comments above?

I do so enjoy researching the IP numbers of people who leave nasty blog comments.

11:00 AM  

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