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The Dolphins of Altair by Margaret St. Clair

The Dolphins of Altair

by Margaret St. Clair

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Written in the '60s, this predictably eco-conscious bit of SF holds up fairly well against the years. Dolphins, telepathy and technology are rendered artistically without requiring a gigantic suspension of disbelief. The ancestral backstory of humans and dolphins is - if not the most original idea in print - related engagingly. The book had little trouble holding my interest through to the end.

The novel's downsides, however, are some rather abrupt scene changes which jar you from the event and time-flow, and a lack of insight into the emotional lives of the humans. While the main character's bonding with the dolphins was vivid, there is little in the way of emotional consequences or guilt for being responsible for some drastic and horrific catastrophes. There is rather a lot of moral wrangling before deciding to embark upon actions that will cause deaths to millions of people - but little contrition afterwards, at least on the part of Sven and Madelaine. Doctor Lawrence is another matter, but due to the viewpoint from which the book is narrated, we don't see any of it.

Points lost on that end, but still a worthy read for fans of the genre. ( )
1 vote Manawolf | Mar 4, 2007 |
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