Between Species: Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond
. Sierra Club Books, $24.95 (361pp) ISBN 978-1-57805-070-3
The prospect of interspecies communication is replete with utopian and even religious implications, an animistic spirituality wrapped in scientific trappings. This interesting but uneven collection, edited by behavioral biologist Frohoff and nature writer Peterson (Living by Water), brings together essays by writers, scientists, poets and even musicians, all of whom claim some ambassadorship to the cetacean world. Diane Ackerman, in her essay ""At-One-Ment,"" recounts a blithely enchanting round of dolphin horseplay in the Bahamas. The late John Lilly--counterculture neurophysiologist, inventor of the isolation tank and most eloquent spokesperson for dolphin sentience--delivers a final, previously unpublished plea for a ""cetacean nation."" Many of the essays weigh in on the topic of ""swim with the dolphins"" programs that have blossomed in popularity over the last decade or so, and which pose tough questions about the tourist economy that often arbitrates the dolphin/human interface. While many of the essays are amateurishly written, or somewhat treacly in their New Age world view (one writer brags of playing live reggae music to a pod of beluga whales in the Arctic, punctuated with Tibetan gongs), the collection presents an important group of voices in the world community of dolphin lovers, perhaps providing a step towards more sophisticated writings in the future.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2003