POLAR FICTION

Thanks to SPRI in Cambridge UK for access to their fiction stacks in the basement!!
My more extensive and complete Polar genre fiction list is here and my fiction film list is here.
Antarctic fiction with more complete pre-1950s listings here
Lots of Polar "Lost World/Hollow World" fiction can be found here.
Ebook-only fiction (no ISBN) not included. Missing most international arctic fiction and most Malvinas/Falklands war novels.


Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are those of  LK   and do not reflect the views of Barnard College

Selected Literary and/or Historical Fiction

PoleYearTitleAuthor Comment
S 1838 The Narrative of Arthur G Pym of Nantucket Edgar Allen Poe gothic sea novel follows boy who stows away on whaling ship
N 1864 English at the North Pole Jules Verne also known as The Purchase at the North Pole
N 1895 To Greenland and the Pole William Gordon stables inspired by Nansen
S 1897 Antarctic Mystery: The Sphinx of the Ice Fields Jules Verne sequel to Poe
N 1909 A Dash at the Pole William Lyon Phelps satire of Cook and Peary and race to North Pole
N 1909 First at the Pole Frank Shaw American and British teams race to the North Pole
S 1912 The Turnstile Alfred E W Mason polar explorer loosely based on Scott & Shackleton
S 1926 Spinster of this Parish William Maxwell Antarctic explorer loosely based on Shackleton
S 1927 The Woman Thou Gavest Me Hall Caine Polar explorer loosely based on Shacklton
S 1928 Over the Polar Ice Eustace Adam loosely based on first Byrd Antarctic expedition/flight to South Pole
S 1930 Lost at the South Pole Franklin Dixon loosely based on first Byrd Antarctic expedition/flight to South Pole
S 1931 Bird Life at the Pole Wolcott Gibbs satire on Byrd's first Antarctic expedition
S 1931 South of Zero Margaret Ross fictitious Antarctic expedition
S 1931 By Bicycle to the South Pole Emilio Salgari Italian, fiction British-American bicycling trip to South Pole
S 1935 The Man Who Deserted Ward Copley fictional Antarctic expedition
N 1947 The White Magic John Keir Cross based on Grinnell's serch for Franklin
N 1952 To the White North Kathleen Fidler about John Franklin's expeditions
N 1959 The Undiscovered Country Jay & Audrey Walz based on Elisha Kent Kane's Greenland expeditions
N 1960 Call of the Arctic Robert Steelman
S 1964 Gabriel Jo McDonald 'based on the 3rd French Antarctic Expedition to Adelie Land in 1952-53'
N 1968 A Dream in Polar Fog Yuri Rytkheu trans from Russian, set in 1910, an arctic sailor lives among the Chukchi people or northeastern Siberia. reprinted 2005
S 1970 The Survivor Thomas Keneally professor recalls surviving an earlier doomed Antarctic trip
S 1970 Cape of Storms John Gordon Davis A story of the last of the whaling fleets in Antarctica
N 1974 The Snowboys Forrest Webb fictional English & American expedition in Greenland
S 1976 The Race: A Novel of Polar Exploration Kare Holt trans from Norwegian, really interesting version of the race to South Pole
N 1976 The Balloonist MacDonald Harris novel about Swedish balloon trip to Arctic in 1897. Natl. Book Award nominee, reprinted in 2011
S 1978 Victim of the Aurora Thomas Keneally historical murder mystery on a British South Pole expedition in 1909. Villainous victim is a stereotyped predatory, untrustworthy, conniving homosexual man
S 1982 Sur Ursula LeGuin Fabulous short story from the New Yorker about women sledding to the South Pole, before the men. In LeGuin's "The Compass Rose" & other anthologies
S 1987 More Die of Heartbreak Saul Bellow not at the Poles but a major character has worked there. "Its not that you're so asocial, but a man who likes people doesn't wind up in the Antarctic"
N 1987 The Discovery of Slowness Sten Nadolney trans. from German (pub 1983), fictionalized biography of Sir John Franklin
N 1991 The Terrors of Ice and Darkness Christoph Ransmayr young Italian obsessed with recreating the Austro-Hungarian polar expedition of 1872-74
N 1992 Broken Lands: A Novel of Arctic Disaster Robert Edric about Sir John Franklin and the Northwest passage trips
N 1994 The Cage Audrey Schulman professional nature photographer in Arctic to shoot Polar Bears
N 1994 The Rifles William Vollmann about Franklin expedition, the forced relocation of Inuit families in the 1950s, and the effects of Western technology on indigenous peoples
S 1995 The Birthday Boys Beryl Bainbridge fictional account of Scott's expedition to South Pole
S 1995 Antarctic Navigation Elizabeth Arthur obsessed heroine wants to recreate voyage of RF Scott
S 1995 Heroes & Lovers: An Antarctic Obsession Lucy Kavaler suffragette marches to South Pole, to best her manly but sexist lover. Historical romantic fiction - "Great God this is an awful book", ugh.
N 1995 A Discovery of Strangers Rudy Wiebe fictional account of Franklin's overland expedition to Arctic Ocean
S 1997 Mrs Chippy's Last Expedition Caroline Alexander Juvi, "Journal" of Shakleton's cat
N 1999 Voyage of the Narwhal Andrea Barrett voyage to the arctic in search of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition
N 1999 The Ice Master James Houston novel of 1875 whaling expedition to the Arctic
S 1999 The Nanny and the Iceberg Ariel Dorfman sex, Chilean politics, and an Antarctic iceberg brought to the Sevilla World Expo for the Chilean Pavilion (Chilean author writing in English)
N 2000 North With Franklin John Wilson `The Lost Journals of James Fitzjames'; fictionalized account of Franklin expedition
N 2000 The Merry Widow Meagan McKinney historical romance, woman pretends to be widow of Arctic explorer from Franklin expedition
N 2000 Latitudes of Melt Joan Clark Northern Canada; one character becomes a deep sea ice diver
S 2000 Requiem Antarctica Jane Yolen and Robert Harris short story, Asimov's science fiction magazine (May). Scott was a vampire...
S 2001 The Grotto Berg Charles Neider novella about nature photographer in Antarctica
S 2001 The White Adrian Caesar AUS; novel about Scott and Mawson.
N 2001 The Ice Child Elizabeth McGregor London journalist looks for archaeologist who has disappeared while researching the Franklin expedition
S 2001 Eliot's Rock Terry Shumaker geologist goes on Byrd's 2nd expedition and later gets involved in the Manhattan Project
S 2001 May Be Some Time Brenda Clough future time traveling doctors rescue Titus Oates' body from Antarctica; short story in Analog; Apr 2001. Expanded to (600 pp, self-pub?) ebook `Revise the World', 2008
S 2002 Tiptoe, on a Fence Post Brenda Clough sequel to above; Analog Jul 2002
N 2002 The Seal Wife Kathryn Harrison young scientist isolated at weather observatory in early 20c Alaska has affair with native Alaskan
S 2002 Polar T. R. Pearson in a small Virginia town, a shiftless character calls himself Titus & mutters about Antarctica
N 2002 The Navigator of New York Wayne Johnston historical novel about a young Newfie explorer, & the Cook & Peary race to the North Pole
N 2002 North Roger Hubank historical fiction about the US Lady Franklin Bay Expedition to the Canadian acrtic in 1881 (only 6 of 25 men survived).
S 2002 Antarctica Claire Keegan short story in collection of same name; women has affair and ends up tied to the bed while Antarctic documentaries relentlessly play on TV
N 2003 One Day the Ice Will Reveal All its Dead Claire Dudman about Alfred Wegener
N 2003 The Rope Eater Ben Jones young man joins arctic sailing expedition in 1860s
S 2003 White Marie Darrieussecq French, Eng trans. pub. in 2006, set in Antarctic research base
N 2004 North Donna Jo Napoli Young Adult, boy runs away to follow Matthew Henson's trek to the North Pole
S 2004 Colder than Ice Helen Macpherson Australian archaeologist & American psychologist find remains of the first Antarctic exploration team.
N 2005 Smilers Bones Peter Lerangis YA; Fictional account of Minik (Greenand child brought to NY by Robert Peary
S 2006 The Brief History of the Dead Kevin Brockmeier Coca-cola employee Laura Byrd - in Antarctica to bottle the melting ice- may be the last survivor of a deadly virus on Earth
S 2006 Degrees of Separation Laurence Fearnley NZ; composer, young woman, and skua scientist reflect on their time in Antarctica; (New Zealand writer from Artists to Antarctica program)
N 2006 The Terror Dan Simmons historical gothic about Sir John Franklin
N 2006 Afterlands Steven Heighton historical novel about Polaris survivors
S 2006 The White Darkness Geraldine McCaughrean YA. In Antarctica with her crazy 'Uncle Victor', who wants to deposit her into Symmes hole, a 14 yr old girl imagines conversations with Titus Oates (oops - an awkward choice, given the recent claim that Oates impregnated an 11 year old girl before going to Antarctica).
S 2006 Voyage Along the Horizon: A Novel Javier Marias trans. from Spanish; a 1900 voyage to Antarctica with scientists, writers, & artists. Supposedly a parody of 19th C novels. They never get anywhere NEAR Antarctica.
S 2006 Moj of the Antarctic Mojisola Adebayo stage play performed in England; African American slave woman escapes from slavery by passing as male, joins a whaling ship & gets to Antarctica. Pub. in 'Hidden Gems', ed. by D. Osborne, 2008. Pub in `Mojisola Adebayo:Plays One' along with ''Matt Henson: North Star''
N 2007 The Solitude of Thomas Cave Georgina Harding 17th century English whaler winters alone in Greenland
N 2007 The Yiddish Policeman's Union Michael Chabon murder mystery/alternate history where 2 million refugee Jews of Europe become the "frozen Chosen", temporarily, in Sitka Alaska
S 2008 Into White Silence Anthony Eaton Young Adult. In 1922, an exploration vessel is trapped in the Antarctic icepack. Author had Australian Antarctic Arts fellowship
S 2008 The White Road and Other Stories Tania Hershman in the White Road, a woman runs a cafe in Antarctica
S 2008 A Buyers Guide to Maps of Antarctica Catherynne Valente short story and 2009 World Fantasy Award Nominee; online here
S 2009 Pescador's Wake Katherine Johnson loosely based on sea chase of Aus. vs Uruguayan ship in Antarctic waters over illegal fishing
S 2009 Death on the Ice Robert Ryan Fictionalized account of Scott's expedition to South Pole
S 2009 The Ice Lovers Jean McNeil In a near future world of lethal flu viruses, a journalist & the great-grandson of a Shackleton expeditionist search for a young female biologist who disappeared in the Antarctic peninsula. Author had a BAS/Arts Fellowship to Antarctica
S 2009 The Nature of Ice Robin Mundy AUS, alternates story of modern photographer in Antarctica with that of Hurley on Mawson's expedition; author has worked and wintered over in Antarctica.
S 2010 Big Bang Symphony: A Novel of Antarctica Lucy Jane Bledsoe 3 quirky women (a composer, a geologist, and an Antarctic 'regular') spend a summer season in Antarctica. Author has had several NSF Antarctic Artists and Writers awards
N 2010 On the Proper Use of Stars Dominique Fortier French Canadian (trans.); about John Franklin's second in command Francis Crozier, his wife Lady Jane Franklin, and her niece Sophia.
N 2010 The Still Point: A Novel Amy Sackville split story of a fictional 19th c lost Arctic explorer & his great-great niece a century later
S 2010 The Journey of Anders Sparrman Per Wastberg Swedish, fictional account of Swedish naturalist Anders Sparrman, who sailed with Capt Cook on his 2nd voyage to Antarctica
S 2011 The Lightkeepers Wife Karen Viggers AUS, author has worked in Antarctica
S 2011 Pym Mat Johnson American literature Professor leads group of African-American sailors in search of Edgar Allen Poe's Antarctic monsters. Satirizes academia, tenure, Whiteness, Blackness, Poe, junk food, capitalist greed, obsessions, & bad art. Author radio interview with M. Eric Dyson here
S 2012 Dead Men Richard Pierce
S 2012 Where'd You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple Comic novel
N 2013 The Collector of Lost Things Jeremy Page naturalist on ship to Arctic in 1849


This page was last modified: February 21 2014 15:02