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Aficionado by David Brin

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“Aficionado” is a 2003 science fiction short story by David Brin. It is about a rich young man who discovers a group of extraordinary dolphins.

Non-Spoiler Summary

5 dolphins_Save_these_beautiful_creatures by Jay Ebberly, CC 2.0 license

Hacker Torrey is an arrogant, rich playboy who lives an extreme life style. The story begins when he takes a personal rocket ride and is informed by the computer that his trajectory is off by quite a ways. He ends up splashing down in the middle of the ocean, and spends his time thinking about who will get in trouble for this mis-calculation. However, his attitude (and outlook on life) slowly begin to change when he is rescued / adopted by a group of very smart dolphins. And the more time he spends with these amazing creatures the more he realizes that they could be the start of something very special indeed! Hmm… maybe it is time to use his money for more than just joy-riding!

My Two Cents

  • Story: 4 stars – Having a spoiled, rich kid slowly change his attitudes because of the dolphins was a cool idea. Of course, I think David Brin’s entire Uplift universe is full of cool ideas, so I might have been predisposed to like this story!
  • Writing: 4 stars – David Brin is a great writer and this story is on par for his excellent story telling skills. It was well paced and easy to read – bravo!
  • Fun Factor: 4 stars – I really enjoyed both the story of Hacker as well as the story of the dolphins, and seeing how both groups inter-twined made for a fun read!

Where To Find Aficionado

  • This short story was originally published in August 1998 as “Life in the Extreme” in the Special Edition of Popular Science Magazine.
  • You can read “Aficionado” for free online at David Brin’s web site.
  • It is also included in in the anthology Year’s Best SF 4.
  • If you liked this story then be sure to check out David Brin’s novel, Existence, which is an expanded version of this story.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you enjoyed “Aficionado” then you may also like another David Brin story set in the Uplift universe: Gorilla My Dreams.