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Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings…
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Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings (2003)

by Christopher Moore

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3701061,611 (3.69)170
  1. 51
    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (Ti99er)
  2. 30
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (greendragongirl, LunarEclipse)
  3. 31
    The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore (mysterymax)
  4. 20
    John Dies at the End by David Wong (meggyweg)
  5. 32
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (afyfe)
  6. 10
    Who's Afraid of Beowulf? by Tom Holt (Dr.Science)
    Dr.Science: The English author Tom Holt is relatively unknown in America, but very popular in England. If you enjoy Jasper Fforde or Christopher Moore you will most certainly enjoy Tom Holt's wry sense of English humor and the absurd. He has written a number of excellent books including Expecting Someone Taller, and Flying Dutch, but they may be difficult to find at your library or bookstore.… (more)
  7. 10
    The Prince of Whales by R. L. Fisher (MyriadBooks)
  8. 10
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (sturlington)
  9. 00
    Schrodinger's Ball by Adam Felber (fyrefly98)
  10. 00
    Fated by S. G. Browne (GirlMisanthrope)
  11. 00
    Further Complications by Bryn Schurman (JessyHere)
    JessyHere: Similar wacky characters.
  12. 00
    Waiting for the Galactic Bus by Parke Godwin (infiniteletters)
  13. 00
    Escape from Heaven by J. Neil Schulman (infiniteletters)
  14. 33
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (quilted_kat)
  15. 12
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (Iralell)
  16. 02
    Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane (MyriadBooks)
  17. 02
    Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez (infiniteletters)
  18. 02
    Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (Staramber)
    Staramber: A little less surreal and a bit more sweet but the same pace and sense of the absurd.
  19. 02
    Vampire Taxonomy: Identifying and Interacting with the Modern-Day Bloodsucker by Meredith Woerner (meggyweg)
  20. 02
    The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore (meggyweg)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
A great book! Christopher Moore is funny, imaginative and a great writer to boot.

Nate Quinn is a Canadian marine biologist studying the song of humpback whales in Hawaii. Sounds like an ideal job for a Canadian. (I remember when I was in my last year of undergraduate university when I was trying to figure out what to do next receiving a brochure from the University of Hawaii around the middle of January. Given that I was attending the University of Manitoba and that it was, as always in Winnipeg in January, about -30 deg. C. with 5 feet of snow outside, it's a wonder I didn't hop a plane immediately.) However, Nate has his problems in paradise. He's been studying the whale song for years and he is no closer to understanding why they sing than he was when he started. He has a new female research assistant, Amy, that he is attracted to even though he realizes it is highly inappropriate. His partner, Clay, has hired another helper who failed to show up for his first morning of work. But what is even more disturbing is that when he was out with the whales he saw (or thought he saw) the words "Bite Me" in foot-high letters on a humpback's tail. He thinks he got a picture of it but has to wait until the film is developed (obviously prior to the days of digital photography) to be sure. Meanwhile he goes back to the compound to find that it has been trashed and all the research of decades has been destroyed. Then up pops Kona, the missing helper, who talks in a mixture of Rasta, pidgin and surfspeak that is barely understandable. The fact that Kona is white and high on dope makes him even more suspicious but Nate decides to give him the benefit of the doubt.

So that's the main characters of the story. From the subtitle you can guess that Nate figures out why the whales sing but the path to enlightenment is circuitous, to say the least. Moore had to learn a lot about scientists and research and especially whales and, although I can't speak about the whale info, he gets the stuff about scientists and research right. And I love the fact that he made Nate a Canadian. At page 40 he has this to say about Canadians "...Canadians hate, above all things, to offend. It was part of the national consciousness. 'Be polite' was an unwritten, unspoken rule, but ingrained into the psyche of an entire country. (Of course, as with any rule, there were exceptions: parts of Quebec, where people maintained the 'dismissive to the point of confrontation, with subsequent surrender' mind-set of the French; and hockey, in which any Canadian may, with impunity, slam, pummel, elbow, smack, punch, body-check, and beat the shit out of, with sticks, any other human being, punctuated by profanities, name-calling, questioning parentage, and accusations of bestiality, usually--coincidentally--in French.)" How can you not like someone who writes like that about one's nationality? ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 7, 2017 |
The beginning was fun and fairly typical of Moore. The end was just dumb. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
Fascinating! Way far out and wacky, but, fascinating. I will say no more. You must read this book if: you have an open mind, you love that science can break its own rules, and you are able to suspend all disbelief and spend some time swimming in a totally impossible fantasy. I thought it was pretty cool. This book takes you to another world. I think it's called Gooville... ( )
  Pamela_SC | May 24, 2017 |
Christopher Moore is hilarious. This is one of those books that you're going to annoy your friends, your family, your spouse, the person sitting next to you on the bus because not only are you going to be laughing out loud you're going to want to share with everyone just what is so hilarious. ( )
  wendithegray | May 1, 2017 |
Meh...
I don't know what else to say about it.
I read it a few days ago. I'll forget it tomorrow. ( )
  Dohakoma | Apr 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
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Series (with order)
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Original title
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People/Characters
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Important events
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
Fluke (flook) 1. A stroke of good luck
2. A chance occurrence; an accident
3. A barb or barbed head, as on a harpoon
4. Either of the two horizontally flattened divisions of the tail of a whale
Dedication
For Jim Darling, Flip Nicklin, and Meagan Jones: extraordinary people who do extraordinary work.
First words
Amy called the whale punkin.
"The science you don't know looks like magic," Kona says in Chapter 30. (Author's Notes)
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Nathan Quinn, a marine biologist, goes out on a routine day-trip expedition to survey whales in the area. When he photographs one of the whale's flukes, he notices that the words "BITE ME" are spelled out in huge letters on the mammal's tail-fin. His curiosity and investigations uncover one mystery after another as he seeks the answers considering the source of this peculiarity.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006056668X, Paperback)

In his entertaining adventure-in-whale-researching, Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, Nathan Quinn, a prominent marine biologist, has been conducting studies in Hawaii for years trying to unravel the secret of why humpback whales sing. During a typical day of data gathering, Nate believes his mind is failing: the subject whale has "Bite Me" scrawled across its tail. Events become even stranger as the self-proclaimed "action nerds," Nate, photographer Clay, their research assistant Amy, and Kona, a white Rasta (a Jewish kid from New Jersey), encounter sabotage to their data and equipment. They also observe increasingly bizarre whale behavior, including a phone call from the whale to their wealthy sponsor to ask that Nate bring it a hot pastrami and Swiss on rye, and discover both a thriving underwater city and the secret to what happened to Amelia Earhart.

Thoughtful, irreverent, and often hilarious, Moore has crafted a tale that contains a bit of the saga of declining whale populations due to hunting and habitat destruction, as well as his over-the-top, decadent wit as applied to scientific methodology and professional jealousies. Moore notes a pasty, rival scientist "looked like Death out for his after-dinner stroll before a busy night of e-mailing heart attacks and tumors to a few million lucky winners," and that killer whales (which are all named Kevin), are "just four tons of doofus dressed up like a police car." Smart, sincere, and a whale of a story, Fluke is terrific. --Michael Ferch

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Just why do humpback whales sing? That's the question that has marine behavioral biologist Nate Quinn and his crew poking, charting, recording, and photographing very big, wet, gray marine mammals. Until the extraordinary day when a whale lifts its tail into the air to display a cryptic message spelled out in foot-high letters: Bite me. Trouble is, Nate's beginning to wonder if he hasn't spent just a little too much time in the sun. 'Cause no one else on his team saw a thing, not his longtime partner, Clay Demodocus; not their saucy young research assistant; not even the spliff-puffing white-boy Rastaman Kona (ne Preston Applebaum). But later, when a roll of film returns from the lab missing the crucial tail shot, and his research facility is trashed, Nate realizes something very fishy indeed is going on. By turns witty, irreverent, fascinating, puzzling, and surprising, Fluke is Christopher Moore at his outrageous best.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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