Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sea Mammals in SF

So, before I launch into my very long Worldcon post, here's a question to ponder while I type that monstrosity out: Why are sea mammals underutilized in science fiction books?

Yes, there are books about dolphins (although the only one I can think of at the moment is THE DOLPHINS OF PERN by Anne McCaffrey), and there are even books with whale-like creatures in them (STORYTELLER by Amy Thomson). But as far as I can tell, there are no books in which manatees play a pivotal role. Yet, the NY Times reports today that manatees are much more intelligent than was previously thought. I personally like manatees; I love cetaceans too, but there's no denying that they're often given much more attention than manatees and dugongs.

So one would think that the new findings on manatees might inspire a nice new SF story or novel or two...

I particularly like this quote from the article:

"Either these things have nothing to do with the hair at all, or the more exciting possibility is that perhaps somatic sensation is so important that the specialized structure is overlapping with processing going on in auditory areas,” Dr. Reep said.

I'd also like to add that Buffet the manatee has better vision than I do without my glasses or contacts... (I'm 20/600 and blind as the proverbial bat).

8 comments:

Jodi Meadows said...

Oh thanks. :P

It's not fair when other people mention things that only make certain characters in my head ask for yet another book. *whimper*

My fancy thieves with pretty outfits said that if I blew up their home in the last book, they'd make me write another one with boats. Now, not only do they want boats, they want manatees.

gabe said...

I wrote a short SF/F piece I never submitted for publication that involved manta rays, particularly, but also a whole host of other creatures. I might have to dig it up and see if it sells somewhere.

Catherine Avril Morris said...

I like thinking about how the Manatee Daily News might run a feature with the headline, HUMANS MORE INTELLIGENT THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT. Or would it be "less intelligent"? Hmm... :)

Glad you're back home safe and sound!

Jenny Rappaport said...

Oh, I'm so glad that other people like the manatees too! =)

I was slightly delayed in writing my Worldcon post because of the discovery that THE SECRET PEARL by Mary Balogh had come in the mail for me while I was gone--it begged to be read... and read it I did, until I discovered that it was the wee hours of the morning.

But I shall attempt to type it out in a moment, although it is heavily thundering right now, and I might lose power...

Jordan Summers said...

I love manatees. They're so soothing to watch. My favorite lunch at RWA Nationals was for Passionate Ink because the tables were situated next to the manatee tank at the Atlanta Aquarium. I could've stayed there all day.

James Dashner said...

I loved the Baluga (sp?) whales at the new aquarium in Atlanta. Kind of like manatees but more graceful and beautiful. Wow, I think I might get teary eyed here.

Lon said...

One of my favorite marine mammals in an SF book is the dolphin in Charles Ingrid's (aka Emily Drake and others) Marked Man books. This little-known and under-appreciated duology is a gem, by the way. And not just because of the dolphin. :)

Looking forward to your Worldcon report!

Kimber An said...

Actually, in the story I'll be sending you a query for later, The Star Captains' Daughter, mentions the heroine, Junior, being swallowed by a 'whale-like creature on Nebo Prime.' This is something from a story I'm writing based on her childhood. "You people are never going to let me live that one down! What's the big deal? It barfed me right back up!" Trouble is, I'm told YA and middle grade science fiction is a hard sell, especially when the protagonist is female. Girls don't like science. Or math. Everyone knows that. Duh. Girls only like shoes and boys. Okay, now I'm ranting. Sorry.