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Books

The National Geographic Society's book The Isles of the South Pacific (1971), by Maurice Shadbolt and Olaf Ruhen, and Ian Todd's Island Realm (1974), are out-of-date coffee-table books but have lovely color photographs. Living Corals (1979), by Douglas Faulkner and Richard Chesher, shows what you will see underwater.

History, Politics and Culture -- Fiji-based writer Kim Gravelle has written several books about the country's history and culture. Fiji's Times: a History of Fiji (1980) is a compilation of his articles from the pages of the Fiji Times newspaper. The Fiji Explorer's Handbook (1980) is a dated guide to the country, but the maps are still excellent. Gravelle travels from Fiji to other South Pacific countries in Romancing the Islands (1977).

Noted conservationist Joana McIntyre Varawa married Fijian Male Varawa, who was half her age, and moved from Hawaii to his home village. In Changes in Latitude (1989), she writes of her experiences, providing many insights into modern Fijian culture.

Travelogues -- Sir David Attenborough, the British documentary film producer, traveled to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga in the late 1950s. Sir David entertainingly tells of his trips in Journeys to the Past (1983).

Travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux took his kayak along for a tour of Fiji and several other South Pacific islands and reported on what he found in The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific (1992). The book is a fascinatingly frank yarn, full of island characters and out-of-the-way places.

Ronald Wright's enjoyable book On Fiji Islands (1986) is packed with insights about the Fijians and Indians.

John Dyson rode inter-island trading boats throughout the South Pacific and wrote about his experiences in The South Seas Dream (1982). It's an entertaining account of the islands and their more colorful inhabitants. Julian Evans tells of a more recent trading-boat trip to Fiji, the Samoas, and Tonga in Transit of Venus (1992).

More recently, J. Maarten Troost tells some hilarious tales in Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu (2006). He spins similar yarns about Micronesia in The Sex Lives of Cannibals (2004).

Fiction -- Starting with Herman Melville's Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), the South Pacific has spawned a wealth of fiction. (Though set in the South Pacific Ocean, Melville's 1851 classic, Moby Dick, does not tell of the islands.)

W. Somerset Maugham's produced a volume of South Pacific short stories, The Trembling of a Leaf (1921; Mutual, 1985). Next on the scene were Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, two young Americans who together wrote the most famous of all South Pacific novels, Mutiny on the Bounty (1932). They followed that enormous success with two other novels: Men Against the Sea (1934), based on Capt. Bligh's epic longboat voyage (including their narrow escape in Fiji), and Pitcairn's Island (1935), about Lt. Fletcher Christian's demise on the mutineers' remote hideaway.

For a nonfiction retelling of the great tale, see Caroline Alexander's The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty (2003).

The second most famous South Pacific novel appeared just after World War II -- James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific (1947), which Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein turned into the musical South Pacific, a huge Broadway hit and blockbuster movie. Michener toured the islands a few years later and wrote Return to Paradise (1951), a collection of essays and short stories that capture the islands as they were after World War II but before tourists began to arrive. In it, he predicted today's Fijian-Indian conflict.

Film and TV

Fiji has provided the backdrop for several movies and television shows, the most recent being a season of CBS's Survivor: Fiji, which took place on the northern coast of Vanua Levu in 2007.

In the movies, Jean Simmons played a teenage girl shipwrecked with a boy on a deserted island in the 1949 version of The Blue Lagoon. The 1980 remake helped launch the career of Brooke Shields, then 14 years old. Both were shot in the Yasawa Islands, the Brooke Shields version on Nanuya Levu, home of Turtle Island Resort. It inspired Richard Evanson, the resort's owner, to rename the surrounding waters "The Blue Lagoon." A 1991 sequel, Return to the Blue Lagoon, was made on Taveuni.

Tom Hanks starred in 2000 as a FedEx employee marooned on Modriki Island in the Mamanucas in Castaway. Hanks lost 55 pounds while making the movie, but not by roughing it on Modriki; he reportedly stayed in a suite at the Sheraton Fiji Resort and rode a helicopter out to the deserted island each morning.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid was filmed in the winding, muddy waterways of Pacific Harbour in 2004. It was the sequel to 1997's Anacondas, which was shot in Brazil. Fiji, of course, has no real anacondas.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.