Words To That Effect #48 | Antarctica

The continent of Antarctica was only discovered two centuries ago, even if it had long been theorized. It’s a place shrouded in mystery with no human history and no permanent residents. It’s a land of superlatives: the coldest, the windiest, the driest continent.

It is a grand scientific experiment, a habitat for animals, with spectacular icescapes luring tourists and scientists alike. And it’s somewhere that exists in the popular imagination in a multitude of ways, often contradictory and, it must be said, frequently confused with the Arctic.

There’s a long tradition of gothic and horror stories set in, and inspired by, Antarctica. There are heroic adventure tales from the early 20th century onwards, thrillers and adventure tales, science fiction novels, and crime and detective stories set on this inscrutable continent. Joining me to talk about all these stories and more is Prof Elizabeth Leane.

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