Why Write a Novel Based In Antarctica?

Why write a novel based in Antarctica?

I first became enthralled with Antarctica when I read a book as a child about penguins.  At that time it had been less than 50 years since explorers had first reached the South Pole.  That is hard to believe.  Men had gone to the moon but we still knew little about the coldest, driest continent on earth.

I had the privilege of visiting Antarctica and working there for a month while I was a flight surgeon in the Nebraska Air National Guard.  The United States Air Force provides much of the airlift capability for McMurdo Station and the National Science Foundation.  The main base for the United States is McMurdo Station, located on Ross Island, a short distance from the mainland of Antarctica.  The island is unique in that the western shore of the island borders the “temporary” ice pack while the eastern shore is embedded in the “permanent” ice sheet.  The permanent ice provides a location for an air base where even the huge C17 transport jets can land throughout the Antarctic summer.

Antarctica denotes mystery for both science and literature.  In the Antarctic winter, there is no sunshine for nearly 6 months.  The cold is interminable, reaching as low as 120 degrees below zero.  It is cold enough to freeze flesh in moments.  Despite a perennial presence man has not overcome the climate of this harsh land and it is not wise to underestimate the risks living there.  Cold, wind, darkness, and isolation have the potential to make Antarctica very unpleasant for some.

Nevertheless, the fact that it is so unknown makes Antarctica a popular target for research.  Dozens of nations have facilities located on the continent.  Researchers study life there, both present and ancient.  Physicists find the extreme cold to be favorable for studying neutrinos and astronomers study the heavens from a place with the least light pollution on earth.  The potential for new knowledge is huge and the draw is magnetic.

All in all, Antarctica is an ideal location for a new novel.  Combining mystery with a poorly understood continent seemed like a winning opportunity.  The primary character, Gabe Hunter, is just another researcher looking for answers to questions he has not even thought of yet.  He is a virologist, curious about what kinds of diseases may have been present in times past.  Antarctica provides an ideal location where frozen in time, viruses may be in suspended animation, waiting to be rediscovered and woken up.  He sees the potential for curing current-day illnesses, and some risk of waking up a possible pandemic.  His search is interrupted by the discovery of the presence of other people, not far away, with totally different goals.

Suspense, murder, and mystery in the harshest location on earth will keep you glued to the pages as you read Crisis on the Ice – Coming Soon

Other works by Scott McPherson, M.D.

The Jack Sharp, M.D. novels:

Congo Mission                      

A Step Ahead of Death      

Witness in the Window     

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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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