This caustic and brilliant exploration of life at polar extremes is written from McMurdo Station, an American research station in Antarctica. McMurdo is the largest Antarctic post — its population tops 1,100 during the summer and slims down to 250 hardy souls in winter. As for its savvy chronicler, a researcher who goes by the pseudonym F. Scott Robert, imagine H.L. Mencken on an ice floe.
His introduction opens with the immortal line, “Many of the early explorers who came to Antarctica died miserably of starvation while freezing to death.” The narrative quickly goes south from there. On John Carpenter’s “The Thing”: “No other movie in history has ever depicted daily Antarctic life and its problems with such accuracy and intuitive brilliance.” This site is the perfect place to chill.