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The Dolphin by Colin Barrett

Author's Description:
It's been said that there are two intelligent species inhabiting the Earth, humans and dolphins, but intelligent in very different ways. But suppose they could actually communicate with each other? How would they interact? That's the goal of marine biologist Maggie Russell, who starts her quest with but a single captive dolphin. Then a second dolphin mysteriously appears, and things suddenly get complicated, first professionally and then in her personal life.
Size: 499 KB ( ~ 94,625 words)
Genre: Science Fiction
Sex Contents: Minimal Sex
Tags: Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Science Fiction

Review by bill9900   [other reviews by bill9900]

Reviewed: 2017-11-27 - (Review Updated: 2017-11-30)


Well, apparently the initial review I wrote inadvertently got deleted by the system. Suffice it to say that this is a great story by Colin Barrett and I found it to be totally enjoyable.

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This section is an addendum to a review of this story that I posted a few days ago. Again, I highly recommend it to your attention.

Colin Barrett has added an Epilogue to the story that does a neat job of tying everything together. Most Epilogues tend to be fairly homogeneous, but this one is terrific. If you liked the story itself, you'll like it even more after reading this. It's clearly one of the best Epilogues on the SOL site.

You should also take a look at Mr. Barrett's blog entry dated 11/29/2017. In it he talks about his background research on the story. Overall, I found that it also was interesting and added to the experience of reading his story. I'm sure you'll find it enjoyable, as I did.

Plot: 10 | Technical Quality: 9 | Appeal to Reviewer: 9

Review by ausie-import   [other reviews by ausie-import]

Reviewed: 2017-11-02 - (Review Updated: 2017-12-05)


What if dolphins really were human level intelligent -- or smarter? But communication underwater cannot possibly work the same way that communication in air does. So how *do* they communicate?

And living underwater, in a "fluid" in both senses environment, would they have the same priorities as humans? If they're different, then what *are* their priorities?

And one of the key criteria that anthropologists use in evaluating human societies is the artefacts that they create. But that doesn't work when the intelligent species in question has no hands with opposable thumbs. Looking at the aboriginal Australians, there was a culture that actively manipulated the ecology of the continent to provide the people with food and other necessities of life. And there is evidence of dolphins in Australia using sponges as tools. So, humans don't necessarily have a lot of artefacts, and dolphins do seem to use tools at some level.

So, how do we communicate with others who are so different?

This is the question that Colin is asking and trying to answer.

I think that he does an excellent job of both defining the question and presenting an answer.

OK, let's be clear, there is bugger-all sex in this story. But, hey, this is Stories On-Line, not "Wank-a-Rama". There can be good stories with minimal to no explicit sex, and this is a prime example. A well thought out and plotted look at a question that is being asked by some genuinely serious scientists. The answers are more on the order of "what-ifs" than scientific fact, but good science fiction has been doing that for longer than I've been alive.

This is well worth reading -- just park your expectation of steamy sex scenes and you may find it more than a little enjoyable.

Plot: 10 | Technical Quality: 9 | Appeal to Reviewer: 10