Research Blog Antarctica #38

Fiction: M.E. Morris: the Icemen (Presidio Press 1988)

This is one of the strangest Antarctica books I’ve read. It’s ostensibly a techno-thriller about Nazis on the ice, the last remnants of the Third Reich moving from Argentina to found their own country in neutral territory. The Nazis are planning to destroy Israel in collusion with the Palestinians, and naturally this is best achieved from a base that can exist only through continuous outside logistical support, thousands of kilometers from absolutely anything.

This, however, is actually not what the book is about. Only grudgingly does it sometimes nod in the direction of the actual plot, and certainly there are very few plot twists, action scenes, or anything of that sort.

Instead, the entire novel is dedicated to descriptions of planes landing and taking off. There’s one of these scenes at least every five pages, and they come off like the fucking in a porn movie. They’re the meat of the book, described in loving detail, with minute attention to detail. I started to suspect that the guy writing this book might actually be a pilot, because no-one else could conceivably care this much.

The prose doesn’t really have any style and very little attempt is made at anyt literary conceits. Every time I think the author is setting something up, it fizzles out on the next page or so. It does have certain perverse charm, or maybe that’s just because after reading the twentieth description of the interplay of wing flaps, wind speed, approach velocity, and so forth I’ve become hypnotized by the steady tick of pilot jargon.

The internet reveals this about another book in Morris’s ouvre:

C-130, The Hercules, by M.E. Morris, Presidio Press, 1989 – An excellent C-130 profile book written by author Mo Morris, who flew C-130s with the Navy.

Well, that does explain it.

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