book review: an antarctic mystery

As documented in Hark a Vagrant Jules Verne loved Edgar Allan Poe’s work. An Antarctic Mystery is basically fanfiction of the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

It’s a sequel set 11 years later when an intrepid man learns that Poe’s fantastical tale of imagination was actually true! Then he joins a captain who’s looking for his lost brother who was also on the ship Pym was on. There are hidden identities and sailing and mutinies and uncomfortable racial profiling and loads of Men of Vision not feeling bad when they cause people to die because of their ideas.

I liked the style of this a bit better that the Pym book, but the dismissal of the people who were fed up with sailing to the south pole to look for some guy who had undoubtedly died 11 years ago annoyed me. Something approaching two dozen people died to save four people. And the cost is only given the lippiest of service. I guess that’s what happens in a true tale of Science!

But I love these versions of Antarctica with their tropical islands and channels past the pole and icebergs that get caught on the ocean floor. Next up: At the Mountains of Madness. And then maybe my historico-mythical Antarctica kick will be over. Or maybe not.

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