"The Kindly Isle" is a 1984 science fiction short story by Frederik Pohl. It is about a tropical island where all the people are strangely nice and relaxed.
I saw a comment on Amazon.com about this story. The person said that this wasn’t a science fiction story, but rather was a story about a man meeting a new lover, with some science tacked on as an after thought. I don’t agree with that. Sure, this is a “lite” SF story, and you have to read between the lines to see where the science fiction part comes in, but I think that person completely missed the point! I have more faith that you, my discerning readers, will be able to spot the SciFi beneath the layers of this story. And, if you’re like me, you’ll have a fun time doing it too!
Mr. Wenright’s job has taken him to a tropical island – ah, that would be nice wouldn’t it? As beautiful as it is, and as nice as the people are, he is still here to do business. And so he travels to the half-built, run-down hotel and begins to estimate what it would cost to take over the construction project and turn it into a profitable resort. He spends all kinds of time running around the island doing various errands. It is in the course of these travels that he sees and old colleague, and then meets a wonderful woman. The old colleague brings back some unpleasant memories, and causes Mr. Wenright to involve the authorities. But the new lady – now she is a pleasant surprise! The two meetings aren’t completely unrelated, however, and Mr. Wenright soon discovers a pretty amazing plot that is taking place on this little island!
My Two Cents
- Story: – I actually thought this was a very cool and interesting story! I found the work of estimating the hotel property costs to be just as interesting as the work of Professor Michaelis.
- Writing: – I like Mr. Pohl’s writing, and I think he did a wonderful job here. I quite enjoyed the subtle under-tones of SF, and found it fun to piece the story together.
- Fun Factor: – It wasn’t a very fast paced or exciting story – but still very cool!
Where To Find The Kindly Isle
- This short story first appeared in the November 1984 edition of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.
- You can read "The Kindly Isle" for free online at the Baen eBooks web site.
- It is also included in the excellent collection Platinum Pohl: The Collected Best Stories.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you enjoyed "The Kindly Isle" then you might also like “The Giving Plague” by David Brin – about a member of a famous research team that discovers a virus with a peculiar method of transmission.