mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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It got to minus 77 ½°F DURING THE DAY! (72)

Emperors of the Ice by Richard Farr.

Terra Australis!
She will break you. Will kill you.
Go! Win, you clever apes!

The font size in this book is huge. I mean, enormous. That is the first thing that struck me when I opened it. Put that aside though; it is just a literary amuse-bouche. Here is the thing. Antarctica is freaking terrifying. I'm kind of obsessed with it. & these guys? Are awesome. Falcon Scott! The press billed Scott's expedition as a race to the South Pole, but here is the best part: no it wasn't. I mean-- it was. Scott was trying for the pole, raise the Union Jack, & all that. & it killed him. The Pole wasn't the real goal though; it was a publicity stunt. In fact, the who thing was a scientific exploration. Not a competition. This book largely concerns a side-quest (what a geek I am...) of the mission-- a hunt for penguin eggs. In particular, to confirm or refute Haeckel's Ontology recapitulates phylogeny theories, since there were some who thought penguins must be the most primitive of birds, & therefore their egg'd foeti would have scales & teeth. Of course, going anywhere in Antarctica can basically kill you. Heck, orcas were hunting them on the ice! Spooky stuff. I gobbled it up. The end is awfully bittersweet; most of the survivors of the Emperor Egg expedition end up dying on the bid for the Pole-- & Amundsen & the Norwegians got there first, anyhow. Spoiler alert, history happened already! Anyhow, Scott said something about Amundsen's race for the South Pole-- "That this action is outside one's own code of honour is not necessarily to condemn it." I thought that was a pretty darned enlightened thing to say; honorable as hell, Falcon Samurai. Also, Scott was best friends with J.M Barrie & one of the letters he wrote as he froze to death was addressed to him?
Tags: books, haiku

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