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Antarctic horror?

Thing(amabrarian)s That Go Bump in the Night

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Edited: Sep 19, 2007, 8:42am Top

Hey guys, I love Who Goes There? and the John Carpenter film 'The Thing' and H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness(the touchstone isn't working. I don't know who Electric Masada is).

I've just finished Matthew Costello's Midsummer and my favorite parts were the flashbacks to Antarctica. I've also just downloaded a BBC horror series called 'Cold Blood' that I'm looking forward to listening to.

I've realized that I'm a nut for horror stories set in the frozen wastes.

I've heard Tim Lebbon's White And Other Tales Of Ruin is a good snowbound scary story. Would love to hear your ideas. Got any good suggestions?

Jul 15, 2007, 8:07am Top

Well, it's not the Antarctic, but I liked Dan Simmons' A Winter Haunting...there are lots of chases through the snow. His book The Terror is about the Arctic, but I haven't read it.

The absolute ultimate, though, is Algernon Blackwood's story The Wendigo. (Also not the Antarctic, but definitely frozen wastes....)

Jul 15, 2007, 9:35am Top

And of course Frankenstein has nice ending among frozen wastelands.

Jul 15, 2007, 11:00am Top

I vaguely remember Icebound by Koontz. I think it was on an iceberg. Touchstone doesn't work.

Jul 15, 2007, 11:13am Top

Here you go. Icebound : a novel. And here's the correct link for Who Goes There? by Campbell.

Jul 15, 2007, 12:38pm Top

Simmons' 'The Terror' is stunning - you'll love it. Go buy it immediately.

Jul 15, 2007, 2:26pm Top


We have Dean Koontz's Icebound: a novel. I haven't read it yet because I think Dean Koontz is kind of a sucky writer. Still, maybe I'll give that one a chance.

And d2vge, thanks for the reminder of The Wendigo. Blackwood's been on my must read list forever.

So has Dan Simmons. I have Carrion Comfort, Hyperion, Song Of Kali, Children Of The Night and Summer Of Night. I haven't read any of them yet. A Winter Haunting sounded good, but I haven't picked it up yet since it looks to be a sequel to the unread Summer Of Night...

And I forgot all about the TERRIFIC ending of Frankenstein! I guess it's sad, but I still associate images of the old Boris Karloff movie with that book even now.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'll start with The Wendigo. If you have more suggestions, please keep them coming.

Jul 15, 2007, 2:49pm Top

Yeah, I suggest you get your dusty copy of 'Carrion Comfort' down RIGHT NOW and read it - it's the best horror novel I've ever read, and I've read it maybe six times since I bought it many years ago.

'Hyperion' is stunning, but don't read it unless you're prepared to read the next three books in the series - they've earned all the award they won, and they're brilliant sf.

As you can probably tell, Simmons is a major god in my literary pantheon...

Aug 2, 2007, 7:49am Top

I share your love of things arctic (and antarctic). Dan Simmons is one of the best writers around, period. A WINTER HAUNTING is excellent, although it is best read as a sequel to SUMMER OF NIGHT.

You MUST read THE TERROR if you love your horror set in frozen landscapes. Simmons has taken the doomed-in-real-life expedition of Sir John Franklin and, um, extrapolated a bit to solve the mystery. Great, great stuff.

WHITE by Tim Lebbon is one of my favorite novellas of the past few years, and is very much worth seeking out. It's bleak, and terrifying. And very, very snowy.

Non-fiction accounts of arctic exploration can be the cause of just as much nail-biting as fiction. Check out THE WORST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD by Cherry-Gerard or SOUTH by Sir Ernest Shackleton. The idea of standing next to an ice breakup and having a killer whale suddenly lurch up next to you gives me the shivers. Not to mention frostbite, scurvy, and those hidden crevasses!

Aug 3, 2007, 3:36pm Top

Have any of you tried Kim Stanley Robinson's book? He wrote a novel (speculative fiction) about Antarctica , based on his experience down there on an NSF grant. It was called Antarctica, of course...

Sep 19, 2007, 2:16am Top

30 days of night? Not Antartica, but a small town in Alaska. There are numerous trade paperbacks and movie coming.

Sep 19, 2007, 8:31am Top


That was a very good suggestion. I'm not going to trouble with the graphic novels, but I have bought the to novels Rumours Of The Undead an Immortal Remains.

I'm even excited about the novelization of the movie, because while they are usually crap, I remember reading that this one will be written by Tim Lebbon, an author I like quite a bit.

Sep 19, 2007, 9:53am Top

I'll second The worst journey in the world ... the eponymous journey, a trip to get penguin eggs in the Antarctic winter, was unbelievable.

Jan 17, 2010, 3:16am Top

I'm reading Blood and Ice by Robert Masello and it set in the Antarctic and appears to have vampires.

Jan 17, 2010, 10:58am Top

Who Goes There? is fabulous, funny I never thought of it as horror but yea, I guess it is!

Jan 17, 2010, 2:54pm Top

Movie-wise, how about Alien v. Predator? Great movie, set in Antarctica.

Jan 18, 2010, 4:54pm Top

#11 30 Days of Night - how creepy were those vampires!

It's ages since I read it but I seem to remember really liking The Trickster by Muriel Gray. Just looked and their aren't many copies on Librarything - she's British and I suppose not that well known as an author (she was a broadcaster) but I remember enjoying it and it's set in the Canadian Rockies and I seem to remember how cold it made me feel when I was reading it. I may have recalled this all wrong, but I do remember enjoying it and passing it on to read (unfortunately) so I don't have my copy any more...might have to revisit it now I think about it though!

Jan 18, 2010, 7:17pm Top

#17 Hey, I just checked out Muriel Gray's three horror novels and they all sound pretty good! Too bad Ancient (no touchstone even) at least and maybe Furnace are out of print here in the U.S.

And yeah, 30 Days of Night was great, wasn't it?

As for Aliens Vs. Predator... well, I can agree that it was set in the Antarctic.

No, I shouldn't be a dick. I ought to check it out again. I at least remember that the first one was leagues better than the sequel.

Jan 18, 2010, 7:23pm Top

I actualy picked up a book that I think will be awful called Carnivore by Leigh Clark (didn't Dean Koontz use a similar pseudonym at one point)?

All I remember is that it has something to do with a resurrected tyranosaur attacking an Antarctic station. I'm hoping that it will be b-movie fun.

Jan 19, 2010, 9:09am Top

I think I read Furnace and my vague recollection was that it was not bad. How's that for a helpful endorsement?

Jan 19, 2010, 9:13am Top

The Ice Limit is set in Antarctica. I can't get any touchstones to load, but it's by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (the guys who wrote Relic). It's not their best work, but pretty much all of their stuff is fun and worth reading.

The mini-series of Stephen King' Storm of the Century is also a good "snowbound" creeper.

Jan 28, 2010, 8:55am Top

Although I've misplaced it at the moment, one short story collection I'm currently reading, Lovecraft Unbound has several stories obviously inspired by "At the Mountains of Madness", with featuring Arctic exploration or similar. (One is on a floating iceberg...).

If I hadn't misplaced it, I would have recommended one in particular (the iceberg one I mention above).

Edited: Jan 30, 2010, 3:37pm Top

HP Lovecraft's novella "At the Mountains of Madness" is set in Antarctica. Lovecraft is not everyone's favorite, and this tale is far from my favorite among his recognized classics, but smarter people disagree with me. Professors from Miskatonic U. explore Antarctica and encounter monsters and ancient races.

I would recommend Barbara Roden's story "Endless Night" from her collection NORTHWEST PASSAGES, which follows an exploratory expedition and one who joins it for reasons other than discovery; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Captain of the Pole Star", again featuring an expedition and what the captain hopes to find; Gemma Files's WORDS WRITTEN BACKWARDS about character transformations in the isolated snows of northwest Canada. Maybe Quiller-Couch's "The Seventh Man'.

And then if it's just the snowy setting playing a role, maybe not in a remote location, like Lebbons' "White" for instance, there are many stories: Ann Bridges's "The Accident", Elizabeth Walter's "Snowfall", HR Wakefield's "The Red Lodge", Brian Showers's "THE SNOW CAME SOFTLY DOWN", and many many others.

Jan 28, 2010, 4:07pm Top

I somehow screwed up my touchstones, sorry - andn i don't know how to go back and edit them.

Jan 28, 2010, 4:22pm Top

24> That little pencil mark should do it.

Jan 30, 2010, 3:37pm Top

Sure enough, thanks! A man who makes as many mistakes as I do should always know how to fix them.

Apr 28, 2010, 11:42pm Top

#22 Jonathan, the story you mention is "Cold Water Survival," which is quite good. I also liked "The Crevasse," another riff on At The Mountains of Madness.

Oct 27, 2010, 8:37am Top

I absolutely agree. Terrifying and great book.

Oct 27, 2010, 12:55pm Top

Simon Strantzas's title story in COLD TO THE TOUCH is another good one with "At the Mountains of Madness" as part of its inspiration.

Oct 29, 2010, 2:48am Top

Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol? I haven't read it myself but I think the book description fits the theme pretty good...

Nov 3, 2010, 11:09am Top

#8 and 9 I agree that Dan Simmons is a fantastic writer. I have enjoed many of his books, unfortunately I didn't think A Winter Haunting was one of his best. I don't know if that is because of all the questions it cast on the happenings in Summer of Night which I absolutely loved.
The Hyperion novels are fantastic, but definitely not for everyone.

In the vein of nonfiction arctic tales I recommend The Long Walk bySlavomir Rawicz. I think it is out of print, but well worth the effort of tracking down. This is a book that will stick with you forever and will pop into your head every time you walk in the snow.

Nov 10, 2010, 3:36pm Top

I recommend the YA novel The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean.

Nov 27, 2010, 3:10pm Top

I'm hearing good things about Michelle Paver's DARK MATTER. LT apparently can't touchstone it, so here's a link:

Dec 26, 2010, 4:40pm Top

#33 Just started Dark Matter. I'm trying to get it in under the wire as a 'read 2010' book! Only a few pages in and t's already making me feel cold... although it is like the Arctic here so quite a good choice. If I can get this one read it will be my record of 40 books this year... I'm not a quick reader so this would be pretty good going for me! Let you know what I think when I'm done.

Dec 28, 2010, 1:44pm Top

Well it was the Arctic, but I LOVED this book! Not hard core scary, but menacing enough to make my heart rate rise and keep me absolutely glued to the pages. I love Paver's writing - she has a beautiful way with words, I'd really recommend this, especially if you enjoy quiet horror in the manner of Susan Hill

Jan 3, 2011, 4:36pm Top

Thanks for the review, bibliobeck. And I'm glad to see that you snuck that one in before the year ran out as you'd hoped! I do like quiet horror, and I've just picked up DM.

Edited: Jan 4, 2011, 9:54am Top

Heh, everyone has mentioned the books/stories I was going to mention. Darn. You guys are good!

Jan 4, 2011, 3:17pm Top

#36 Thanks rtttt - actually I sneaked another couple in after that - really surprised myself so I've set the bar very high for myself this year. 42 books read isn't much to some of you but I'm a slow reader and it's a personal best (admitedly one of them, Foster (no touchstone), not a horror was a gift from my sister in more ways than one as it was only 88 pages long :o)

Anyway I'd love to know your thoughts on Dark Matter

Jan 16, 2011, 10:20am Top

Hey, I mentioned the book The Long Walk bySlavomir Rawicz earlier as a good arctic book. I was just reading the paper and saw that there is a movie version coming out called "The Way Back" starring Ed Harris. I am excited and hope this will gain this incredible book the attention it deserves.

Jan 17, 2011, 11:19am Top

Inspired by this thread I got Dark Matter and read it last week. Excellent book. I agree bibliobeck, Paver's writing is amazing, her descriptions of the light, snow, the whole atmosphere of the North were just wonderful. And the haunting is so subtle, making the tension build gradually and inevitably. Great story.

Jan 20, 2011, 11:28am Top

It's great isn't it Katy? Because there are so many books and so little time, I rarely read books more than once, but I can see me reading this again around the winter months next year.

Feb 4, 2011, 11:20am Top

Yup! I'll definitely be reading this one again. Thanks for recommending it :-)

Feb 8, 2011, 12:37pm Top

Just finished Dark Matter, and apart from the last unnecessary chapter, it was a real treat. Not too much and not too little. Perfect.

Feb 5, 2012, 4:34pm Top

Gary McMahon has an Antarctic short story, Diving Deep, in The End of the Line anthology. I recommend the story as well as the anthology as a whole.

Feb 19, 2012, 8:13pm Top

These are oldies, and not set in winter throughout or Antarctica, but I remember Peter Straub's Ghost Story being oppressively snowbound at one point and I can say the same for Stephen King's The Shining. There is something about heavy tall snow blanketing a town or house that makes you feel the snow itself is out to get you. As for Frankenstein, as I remember it opens in Antarctica, too. That book is sheer brilliance. I had not heard of any of the other recommendations and I'm so glad to find out about them. Where I live, summer is killingly hot -- I intend to break out the Antarctica books then!

Feb 19, 2012, 9:20pm Top

45- I don't remember the snow aspect of Straub's Ghost Story, but I will take your word for it since it has been some years since I last read it. Great book. I am going to have to break that out again.

Jan 30, 2016, 2:14am Top

So the classic Antarctic horror novel is by Edgar Allan Poe and is called The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. It was the only novel Poe ever published and man was it creepy. Also racist.

Anyway, Jules Verne then wrote a kind of "sequel" to Poe's novel called An Antarctic Mystery from the perspective of sailors trying to track down Poe's original characters. Also very creepy (and racist.) Lovecraft was a big fan of Poe so Gordon Pym (both novels?) were an inspiration to him.

I think anyone who enjoys Lovecraft will enjoy these, written about a century earlier than Mountains of Madness. Also very early examples of lost continent style horror/fantasy, written before anyone actually went to Antarctica.

Ps this is my first post here!

Edited: Jan 30, 2016, 11:47am Top

>32 d_perlo:

I'll add my enthusiastic two thumbs up for White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean mentioned above.

High creepiness factor that builds throughout the story!
Marvelous atmosphere and description of bleak but magnificent Antarctic.
I felt frozen for a week after I finished reading it . . .

Thinking of it now, I might even read that one again!

Jan 30, 2016, 10:55pm Top

>47 dupesparx:

Welcome! If you're a fan of Poe, Lovecraft, etc., please come say "hello" to us over at The Weird Tradition. You'll be glad you did. :)


Edited: Feb 4, 2016, 11:49am Top

Maynard's House by Herman Raucher is a superb supernatural novel where snow is used to accentuate the terrors brilliantly.

Here is an excerpt from Amazon.com's blurb: 'The rugged landscape of Maine is an intoxicating blend of claustrophobic interiors and endless frozen wastelands. Little by little, the mysterious force in the house asserts itself until Austin isn't exactly sure what is in his mind and what is real. And just when our hero's had enough and is ready to quit the place, a blizzard arrives and the real haunting begins.'

Mar 26, 2016, 9:10pm Top

So, maybe an unexpected one is Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg. It starts off as more of a noir/mystery, but without spoiling too much, by the end there are definite scifi elements. Anyway, a lot of snow action in the Arctic, also some really poetic passages about snow and ice. The main protagonist is a snow expert on several levels.


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