Monday, August 06, 2007


Kim Stanley Robinson went to Antarctica as part of National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program in 1995, the same season as Sara Wheeler and photographer Jody Forster. As a thriller his Antarctica at the 200 page point is still moving slo-o-o-w; and, except that it is set a short distance in the future, it is still not clear what makes it science fiction instead of political satire. But oh my goodness, they took him everywhere, he takes his characters everywhere he saw, and his descriptions of what he saw are extremely evocative.

Later: I've been reading about Antarctica for a long time. I used to think that if life had a rewind button like a VCR, I'd roll it back and do glaciology instead of dropping out to become a hippie, and by middle age I'd be a senior researcher camped out on Ice Stream B, with graduate students to bring me hot chocolate in the mornings... That was vague, but this is specific: if I had one do-over pass to spend in my life, I'd try harder to go to Antarctica when I left the temple in 1992 or so. I applied for a job with whomever was the support services contractor back then; they never replied. Oh, ok, I thought; and set about getting a correspondence bachelor's degree so I could get an MLS so I'd have geographic mobility in my profession. So I didn't go to Antarctica, and I also didn't move when I got my degree, and here I still am for another 48 hours. And I will never see the Ross Ice Shelf, it's irremediable. The big regret of my life. When I lose track of why I am moving now, I think of the Ross Ice Shelf. I am NOT going to be old in the desert and wishing I had moved back closer to the ocean. It might not work out but I have to try, hard. Watch me. Here I go.

1 comment:

Mary said...

i cannot come up w/ name, but sfpl worker whose daughter (1 of them i mean) is a chef spent a year as chef for antarctic workers. we ran into the mother-former sfpl at julie berman's retirement at gccc and i asked about daughter. she did not love it. but then she cooked something like 10 hrs/day, 6 days/wk.

all this is just to say hello, bon voyage, and i'm glad you came to desert. it was once ocean, you know. maybe you had life as plankton then and returned to make more contributions.

still making progress w/ wrist but some distance to go. i hope by next week to be able to type w/ both hands.