Research Blog Antarctica #51 – Ice Reich

Ice Reich

Fiction: William Dietrich: Ice Reich (Warner Books 1998)

A competent thriller / love story set during the second World War, Ice Reich takes as its starting point the historical Nazi Antarctic expedition. Dietrich has chosen to discard all historical detail except the name of the expedition ship, Schwabenland. It may make for a more gripping yarn, but I’d love to read a factual account of the Nazi expedition.

The writer himself is a U.S. journalist who has been to Antarctica twice. It shows in the way the book transcends itself whenever we get to describe the Antarctic setting. Another reason why this is a good book is that although the protagonist is an American pilot, almost all of the book is set with the Germans, who’re humanized more than usual in fiction featuring the Nazis.

This is the second book featuring both Nazis and Antartica I’ve read, the first being M. E. Morris’s the Icemen.

Research Blog Antarctica #50

Poetry: Chris Orsman: South (1996/1999, Faber and Faber)

A New Zealand poet, Orsman travelled to Antarctica in 1998. He has a tenuous (but funny) family connection to Robert Falcon Scott, and this poetry collection is about Scott’s ill-fated expedition to be the first to the South Pole.

The poems never really escape the monolithic Scott myth, except for this small offering (also the best poem in the collection):

Postscript – 29 March 1912

A masterly silence is called for
as Oates tried to put on his footgear.

He opened the tent flaps, still in his socks.
He said something else, but we forgot.