Dolphin Island

Bookshelf: Dolphin Island

Dolphin Island – Arthur C. Clarke

I loved this book so much that at the age of twelve, I named my cat, a magnificent ginger and white giant, “Clarke” after the author. Yes, I was a little nerd. I was given the book for Christmas by my parents in 1989, when I was eleven years old. The following year I did a book report on it for school – I found the cue cards inside the book when I opened it to re-read for this review.

My cue cards for my book report
My cue cards for my book report

Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his science fiction books for adults, most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was filmed, and Rendezvous with Rama. He was a keen diver and futurist, and spent much time diving off Australia and Ceylon (where he later made his home) during his lifetime.

Dolphin Island
Dolphin Island

Dolphin Island is a children’s book, set in 2010 (which, at the time of publication in 1963, seemed quite far in the future but not so far that life would be impossibly different from the way it is now). It was written during Clarke’s convalescence from a near-fatal accident, and he states in the afterword that he wrote the book “as a conscious farewell to the sea” – which fortunately turned out to be premature, as he did much more diving after his recovery.

The novel concerns the sixteen year old Johnny Clinton, who stows away on a hovership (an amphibious cargo vehicle of the future) and ends up – through the assistance of a pod of dolphins – on an island off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. There he meets Professor Kazan and his research team, who are engaged in research of dolphin language and communication. He befriends Mick, an island boy who teaches him to skin dive on the reef surrounding the island. After some time living among the islanders and assisting with dolphin research, hurricane forces Johnny to use his resourcefulness and courage to save his friend the professor’s life.

Unfortunately the book has been out of print for ages and I can’t find an active link for the book for online purchase, but you can find a used copy on Amazon.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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