Research Blog Antarctica #124: Surviving Antarctica

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Novel: Andrea White: Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 (EOS, 2005)

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 is a young adult book about a group of kids participating in a reality TV show where they emulate Scott’s second, fatal Antarctic expedition.

It’s an amazing failure of a book. It reads like a fool trying to condescend to idiots. I understand this is meant for younger readers, but that’s no excuse for the singular lack of poetry in the language of this book. Every motivation and emotion is carefully spelled out in simple terms.

To make it worse, the scifi world feels like it was designed by refugees from the 80’s. The book has apparently been published after the turn of the millennium, yet features things like “computables” and “human faxes”.

Research Blog Antarctica #123: Heart of Ice

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Graphic novel: Alan Moore: Nemo: Heart of Ice (Top Shelf, 2013)

Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen started with two volumes of relatively straightforward intertextual adventure stories before ascending into the realms of conceptual psychedelia. The spin-off Nemo stories, focusing on the daughter of the submarine captain, are a little bit more restrained than the main series.

In Heart of Ice, the heroes journey into intertextual Antarctica to witness the works of Lovecraft, Poe and others. Conceptually, it creates an interesting counterpoint to the real Antarctica. In real life, Antarctica is mostly uninhabited and empty, a white space devoid of human meaning. In Moore’s comic book, it’s a region steeped in reference and history. There are old literary concepts hiding behind every corner.

I may read too much into this, but perhaps this is why the events of the book are depicted as happening during the Antarctic night. Maybe the empty whiteness of the Antarctic day would have undermined the concept.