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Ice Station by Matthew Reilly
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Ice Station (1998)

by Matthew Reilly

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I was on vacation, and I'd read all the books I brought with me. Fortunately, the resort had a take-one, leave-one reading collection. Unfortunately, this is what they had to offer.
After 70 pages of fifth-grade-level writing supporting a rickety framework of clunky exposition and generic bursts of action, I gave up. How could so much bloodshed and mayhem be so ho-hum boring? I guess that's an achievement of sorts.
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
I do understand that fiction is fiction, but in order for it to be entertaining you kind have to feel you can believe just a little. I kind lost that ability the more I read.

So, Ok, this is what I thought I read:

American, English and the French Special Forces secretly killing one another over a suspected alien spacecraft that turns out to be a prototype plutonium military aircraft in an underground hanger lost because of a seismic mishap and now guarded by giant mutant seals who suddenly develop a craving for scientists and military personnel swimming around stupidly. There was also a very annoying habit of countries misplacing ice-stations and secret aircraft hangers in the Antarctic. All facilities (when stumbled on by Mr Scarecrow Schofield in his battle for survival) were fortunately in reasonable swimming distance in artic waters.

At first I was in complete awe of Schofield’s fighting, flying and swimming ability in artic conditions, but then it all became too repetitively stupid to remain entertaining. It is like Lord of Rings when Hobbit hiking around the Southern Alps of New Zealand becomes all too much to take anymore and Orcs battles that just go on and on….

ANYWAY: Best character: Wendy the little fur seal who has a good grasp of the NATO alliance and who were the good guys. Most politicians would have been confused given the nature and history of the treaty, but the little fur seal had it worked out pretty quickly. Stupidest moment: The giant mutant killer seal caught on camera lifting the unconscious "Scarecrow" out of the water. These seals had mutated around Richard Nixon’s reign but had never ventured to the Wilkes Station until the Navy Seals turned up looking to secure it from the French and the British.

Then there was the whole killer whale distraction which seemed only to serve the purpose of eating Mother’s leg at which point her character became useless to any significant plot line. The discovery of the list to identify who were internal secret killer agents was annoying in that it just kept producing bad guys to prevent an end to Mr Schofield’s woes. The fact that the scientist Sarah Hensleigh was such an agent meant that she could have done all the killing and shutting up of people before Schofield even got there saving a lot of lives. But then the killer whales and the mutant seals would have gone hungry and there would have been no-one to fly the plane out of the ice tunnel, which was just annoying in itself (i.e.: code cracked by brainy kid, plane starts first pop after 30 years, fortunately hovers while ice berg does a 180 flip to allow ice tunnel to go up rather than down, only to find aircraft carrier awaiting its unknown (but fortunately anticipated) arrival, only to be destroyed by its own missile while the crew went below and closed their eyes promising not to mention it to anyone…really?).

BEST DOROTHY MOMENT: Kirsty needed to be freed of the nasty step mother and she needed a Scarecrow and fur seal for that.

BEST LOOSE END EXPLAINED: Mother crawling with one leg to ice pool, finding a wet suit and a wire and deciding to take a punt on it leading somewhere away from a nuclear missile and as luck would have it..? At this point I had radiation sickness and the dry reaching began. Fortunately, I did not buy the book for $23.99 but found it discarded and alone… a bit like Mother must have felt in the Ice Station at the end of an old wire. ( )
  Pillrot | Jan 8, 2014 |
Reseña de Fantasía Mágica

Debo confesar que no hubiera leído este libro tan pronto si no fuera por el Reto Continental. Me lo hubiera perdido, así que ¡hurra! por el desafío que me hizo leer algo diferente :)

El prólogo es breve pero interesante desde las primeras palabras.
Comenzamos con una disertación sobre la Antártida, sus características climáticas, una breve referencia a los intentos con resultados dudosos de construir laboratorios ahí y la misteriosa desaparición de un hombre de gran importancia para el gobierno noteamericano.
El continente tiene voluntad propia, y la raza humana no es nada contra él.
Esta introducción fue suficiente para atraparme por completo. Y el resto del libro no me defraudó.

Ahora pónganse ropa abrigada: nos vamos a la Antártida. Y lean la sinopsis que está bien resumido lo que ocurre en el libro, no tiene caso que vuelva a contar exactamente lo que ya está dicho.

Cuando Shane 'Espantapájaros' Schofield llega a la base antártica, comenzará el libro con más acción que leí en mi vida. No les exagero. Durante páginas y páginas habrá una cantidad de acción increíble, y muy bien narrada. Realmente se siente la emoción, la tensión y la adrenalina de los personajes.
Siempre leí batallas medievales. En este libro veremos muchas situadas en la actualidad y narradas con lujo de detalle. Es lo mismo en cierta forma, pero con más tecnología y nombres de armamento que muchas veces no se si existen realmente o no.

La misión de los marines es proteger la base antártica de los diversos enemigos (enviados por varios gobiernos) que irán llegando para tomar posesión de ella. Pero además de cuidar la edificación y lo que ello oculta en una cueva subterránea, deberán también proteger al grupo de científicos que ahora se encuentra atrapado en la base, y que está en tanto peligro de muerte como ellos: lo que sea el secreto que fue descubierto, no deben quedar sobrevivientes que puedan divulgarlo.
Algo que me pareció un toque maestro, maquiavélico y sádico es que entre los civiles se incluye una niñita que por diversas razones siempre estará en peligro de muerte.
Pero si los soldados altamente entrenados que vienen a matarlos no es suficiente, en el fondo de la base hay un tanque con orcas ambrientas (que van y vienen) y para terminar de sumarle problemas, porque no tenían suficientes, en una de las habitaciones está encerrado un asesino loco y despiadado que mató a uno de sus colegas.

Por estar frente a un grupo altísimamente entrenado de marines (que yo siempre creí que eran lo mismo que los seals, pero no lo son), Espantapájaros tiene bajo su mando a un equipo -formado en su mayoría por hombres- que cumplirá sus órdenes y se arriesgará en las situaciones más peligrosas.
No se si en realidad los marines usarán tanto los apodos, pero en este libro cada personaje tiene el suyo y es un gran acierto. Son muchas personas presentadas juntas, y sólo con el nombre o apellido sería confuso y muy dificil de recordar. En cambio con los sobrenombres se vuelve sencillo identificarlos rápidamente, algo similar a lo que hace George Martin con los personajes secundarios.

Toda la acción del libro (salvo el prólogo y el epílogo) ocurrirá en un mismo día, muy poéticamente expresado en un diálogo: "—¿Por qué no terminará este día de una puta vez? —dijo Schofield."
Cada tanto en el cambio capítulo vamos con la acción a Estados Unidos, primero a una reunión de la OTAN y después pasamos a una pareja de periodistas en busca de su siguiente gran historia.
Pero son muy breves estos fragmentos, la acción principal es en la Antártida.
No faltarán las teorías conspirativas, ni la acción (¿lo dije ya?), ni las muertes, ni la emoción, ni el peligro... pero si creen que éste es un libro de "yankis buenos, mundo malo" no se dejen engañar. No todo es lo que parece.

Hubo, sí, una partecita que se me hizo un poquito larga de tantos tiros que iban y venían. De todos modos cuando esa parte termina (aunque no la enorme cantidad de acción) la historia se vuelve emocionante y muy atrapante.
Hay mucho diálogo breve y preciso que suena muy militar (no se si será parecido con la realidad, pero se oye bien). Sin embargo cuando hay conversaciones coloquiales los diálogos son muy buenos. Atrapantes y reales.
No hay un gran desarrollo de personajes, pero sí se nos cuenta lo suficiente como para conocerlos un poco, identificarlos y por qué no, quererlos. Espantapájaros es el personaje más patea-culos que he visto, por lejos; sólo seguido de cerca por Madre, una mujerzota tamaño ropero que tiene una escena ente medio de las orcas con la que no parpadeé durante varios párrafos.

Pero quien se roba la historia es Wendy.
Wendy es una foca.

El final me encantó, muy acorde a todo el libro. Es como ver una película de acción narrada, realmente excelente (si les gusta el género).
Lo recomiendo, mucho mucho. ( )
  outlanders22 | Sep 21, 2013 |
This is the first Matt Reilly book I have ever read and it was one of the best works of fiction I have read. If you like James Rollins, Vince Flynn, and Michael Crichton, then this book is for you. It had a lot of action in a foreign place where your imagination takes you. Some parts were predictable while other parts were not. Some of the story was a bit outlandish and unrealistic while others parts were quite real. The battle scenes were sometimes a bit convoluted but still remained very suspenseful. The characters were well developed, you either loved them or hated them, particularly the main character, Scarecrow. Although Scarecrow was a mean fighting machine, he was a man who had feelings rather than some cold mean killer. The ending was superb, and without giving away details, I envision that we will indeed have the technology to achieve what occurs with the aircraft at the end of the story.

I highly recommend this book to adventure enthusiasts, covert military ops, and thriller fans. I look forward to reading more Matt Reilly novels. ( )
  gdill | May 16, 2013 |
If you are looking for over-the-top action, this is the book for you.

(Though I should confess that "Seven Deadly Wonders" proved a little too much for me and I abandoned it after 45-50 pages.)

But "Ice Station" is the best book by Matthew Reilly IMHO. Thriller fans won't be disappointed by this book. ( )
  Veeralpadhiar | Mar 31, 2013 |
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'Imagine, if you can, a continent that for one quarter of the year, doubles in size.
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Book description
Wilkes Ice Station, a remote institution near the Antarctic coastline, is about to become the setting for a brutal conflict. When several of the station’s divers transmit reports of what appears to be an alien spacecraft buried in a subterranean cavern, only to be slaughtered minutes later, the USA sends in a team of twelve hardened Reconnaissance Marines. Their assignment: to protect the ship from enemy forces at all costs. As the greedy superpowers of the world grapple for control of the spacecraft, Lieutenant Shane Schofield, the team’s leader, must fight desperately for his life. What he doesn’t know is that his team was marked for death from the moment they accepted the assignment.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312971230, Mass Market Paperback)

Anarctica is the last unconquered continent, a murderous expanse of howling winds, blinding whiteouts and deadly crevasses. On one edge of Antarctica is Wilkes Station. Beneath Wilkes Station is the gate to hell itself...

A team of U.S. divers, exploring three thousand feet beneath the ice shelf has vanished. Sending out an SOS, Wilkes draws a rapid deployment team of Marines-and someone else...

First comes a horrific firefight. Then comes a plunge into a drowning pool filled with killer whales. Next comes the hard part, as a handful of survivors begin an electrifying, red-hot, non-stop battle of survival across the continent and against wave after wave of elite military assassins-who've all come for one thing: a secret buried deep beneath the ice...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:22 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

On Antarctica, special forces from several countries battle each other for control of what is believed to be an alien space ship buried in the ice. Non-stop action and treachery galore.

» see all 9 descriptions

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