Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Many people just don't get it when you say you're working on "coral reefs". It seems the two words don't set anything running through their minds, even though they may more or less understand them in an abstract sense.

So how do you write a book that people will pick up in, for example, an airport and actually read in preference to watching an inflight movie that delivers all the emotional and intellectual satisfaction of sniffing glue?

Coral Bones
will focus on the people who have or will live and die by coral reefs and all that goes with them. That means science, politics and economics. It also means amazing creation, insight, greed, conflict, death and destruction and - occasionally - hope.

Without experience of the stories by which people live there is not much hope for a better future. And many stories that "work" have a long history.

So, in addition to witnessing what's happening today, this investigation will dive into the history of science and exploration from the time of Charles Darwin and before. It will look at how people have perceived, felt about and used reefs, right back to ancient times.

In one of the oldest stories of all, Gilgamesh plunged beneath the sea to find the "plant" of life. Was it coral? And in a Melanesian creation story was it a coral grotto from which mankind emerged?


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