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  • I'm 99% sure it was written by a Russian author (1% - it may have been written by Polish author)
  • Author is male (I'm 100% sure)
  • I seem to recall the author's name or surname starts with "P", but I may be wrong
  • It is probably old (I read it almost 20 years ago, then I immediately forgot the author & title and I've been looking for it ever since)
  • I'm not sure it was translated to English (I read it in Polish, 50% chance it was translated, it was really good)
  • The main character was a teenage boy and his friend - a dolphin with a translating device.
  • There was a sea base they were living in and a slightly (or highly) radioactive nuclear test site near by, there was also a coral atoll (or a coral atoll was a nuclear test site)
  • they swam a lot :)
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  • 1
    I'm almost certain that one of Bulychov's Alisa Seleznyova stories had dolphins and mielophon (which was a mind reading device Alisa used to talk to animals). Don't recall any nuclear test site though, and Alisa was definitely a girl, not a boy :) Apr 4, 2013 at 17:28
  • I'm affraid that's not it :(. Wikipedia says there's aliens and time travel in books about Alisa Seleznyova. There was no such thing in the book I'm looking for. Although it looks interesting. I haven't read Kir Bulychov much but what I read I liked.
    – Arie
    Apr 5, 2013 at 6:21
  • 1
    not all books in that series have aliens or time travel (though many do). Apr 7, 2013 at 15:29

3 Answers 3

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The only thing that comes in mind is "Dolphin Island" by by Arthur C. Clarke. There definitely were translator for dolphins, teenager boy and a lot of swimming. Don't recall nuclear test site though, but there was one episode - dolphins were telling a story about a big object landed into the ocean long time ago, then exploded and many dolphins died from something that looked like radiation sickness.

2
  • It's actually possible that this is the book I'm looking for. The Polish cover looks familliar. It is also the same as the Russian cover and, given the time it was published in Poland, it is possible it was translated form Russian and the name of the translator or of other people credited in the book misled me. Although I can't be sure until I have it in my hand. Thanks a lot, I'll check it out.
    – Arie
    Apr 23, 2015 at 6:29
  • @Arie: Did you ever check this out?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 6, 2020 at 15:04
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This sounds a bit like the 1961 book The Voice of the Dolphins, written by American-Hungarian Physicist Leó Szilárd; but it is only a collection of short stories, the eponymous one of them about sentient dolphins. It has been quite a while since I read it last, but as I recall most of the stories were about nearer or farer future scenarios, depicting life on Earth during and after the active use of nuclear weapons. Basically, the stories are cautionary tales against the use of the Bomb.
This topic was important to Szilárd, who is regarded as being directly responsible for the creation of the Manhattan Project, having written the original 1939 draft to the Einstein letter urging US president Roosewelt to intensivy research and development of nuclear weapons. A pacifist at heart, Szilárd later regreted this deeply. He did not write much prose, this is the only book of it I can find. Which is a pity, because I would have loved to read more of it! In case this is not the story you are looking for, I still recommend it. It is an interesting read.

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  • Thanks for answering. Although that's probably isn't what I'm looking for (it was almost certainly a novel). But I think I still will be reading it, Leó Szilárd looks like a really interesting person and I'm very curious about what kind of fiction someone with such history could write.
    – Arie
    Oct 14, 2014 at 15:28
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Many, many years later, probably mostly for the benefit of people who find this question via Google like me:

It's likely that the book you are thinking of is by Russian writer Sergey Georgievich Zhemaytis (linked is the Russian Wikipedia article) - either The Eternal Wind (Вечный ветер, 1967/1970), or its sequel The Large Lagoon (Большая лагуна, 1977). They may also have been published under titles such as "The Floating Island", "The Artificial Island" or "Children Of The Ocean". There's also a number of stories that appear to be set in the same fictional universe, but it's unclear if they are included in the larger books.

It seems that The Eternal Wind has been translated in Polish as "The Floating Island", Pływająca wyspa: https://w.bibliotece.pl/5023326/P%C5%82ywaj%C4%85ca+wyspa

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  • That could be it, actually. The cover looks very familiar, and the reviews of Большая лагуна and Вечный ветер I've found online also ring a bell (although, while I can read Russian, I'm hardly proficient, so I may be mistaken). What is left now is to find a copy...
    – Arie
    Oct 24, 2021 at 11:18

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