South Pole Station
Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks do you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver? These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Her results indicate she is sufficiently resilient for Polar life. Cooper’s not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she’s adrift at thirty and—despite her early promise as a painter—on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica—where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. There’s Pearl, the Machiavellian cook with the Pollyanna attitude; Sal, an enigmatic astrophysicist whose experiment might change the world; and Tucker, the only uncloseted man on the continent, who, as station manager, casts a weary eye on all. The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don’t belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.A winning comedy of errors set in the world’s harshest place, Ashley Shelby’s South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to band together, even as everything around you falls apart.

South Pole Station Details

TitleSouth Pole Station
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherPicador
ISBN1250112826
ISBN-139781250112828
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreFiction

South Pole Station Review

  • Sam
    January 21, 2017
    I'll keep this one brief. Did you read and enjoy Fobbit? Put it in Antarctica with scientists (subtract war) and voila, you have South Pole Station.I did not care for Fobbit, but I mildly enjoyed South Pole Station. It is mostly funny, dark but humanely funny. The South Pole takes less precendence than one might expect: it's focused on Cooper Gosling and her connections with her fellow FINGYs (fucking new guys) and the various individuals and tribes working and carving out lives at the bottom of I'll keep this one brief. Did you read and enjoy Fobbit? Put it in Antarctica with scientists (subtract war) and voila, you have South Pole Station.I did not care for Fobbit, but I mildly enjoyed South Pole Station. It is mostly funny, dark but humanely funny. The South Pole takes less precendence than one might expect: it's focused on Cooper Gosling and her connections with her fellow FINGYs (fucking new guys) and the various individuals and tribes working and carving out lives at the bottom of the earth. But it can get somewhat jargon-y in terms being very science heavy in ways that can sometimes disrupt the main narrative, as it moves from a workplace comedy to climate change denial to a political standoff.It's a bit weird for the sake of being weird. I'd recommend this to people who like dark workplace comedies and skewering somewhat strange situations, and will highlight its intelligence and wit and humor. And though I really did not connect with (or care to) the characters or plot or resolution in South Pole Station, the reading passed by quickly and easily enough and I wasn't bored and the writing was good. Note that if you are obsessed with all things Arctic or Antarctic like I am, this really isn't a novel that will add much satisfaction for your obsession. Solid writing and funny nature meant it was enough to round up from 2.5 stars to 3 stars: wasn't for me, but can see why others might like this.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    June 16, 2017
    This is a first novel and it shows somewhat - one weird pacing decision and a few startling flashbacks (too infrequent to make much sense,) too much infodumping with science at times, and it could have been shorter and told the same story - but overall I enjoyed this story about Polies working at "Pole." It starts out focused on Cooper, an artist who has been given a grant, working a the South Pole in hopes it will inspire her art after the death of her brother. Sometimes the focus shifts to ano This is a first novel and it shows somewhat - one weird pacing decision and a few startling flashbacks (too infrequent to make much sense,) too much infodumping with science at times, and it could have been shorter and told the same story - but overall I enjoyed this story about Polies working at "Pole." It starts out focused on Cooper, an artist who has been given a grant, working a the South Pole in hopes it will inspire her art after the death of her brother. Sometimes the focus shifts to another character and the tone changes to how that character thinks, and I enjoyed those parts, although I felt they could have been more methodically spread throughout the book. There is some commentary here on art vs. science, climate change, but more than anything I liked getting to know the types of characters you would find in such an isolated, difficult place. Thanks to the publisher for providing early access through NetGalley.
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  • Monica Edinger
    March 5, 2017
    Having just been relatively near the South Pole, (that is, a few thousand miles at Cape Horn,) I came across this on Edelweiss and was intrigued. I ended up enjoying it very much --- it is smart, complex, and riveting. Like the main character and her father I've always found Pole stories fascinating, especially that of Scott's failed expedition and Shackleton's brilliant save. Will be really interested to see the response once it is out. (Have to say, I cringed at the mention of tourists who had Having just been relatively near the South Pole, (that is, a few thousand miles at Cape Horn,) I came across this on Edelweiss and was intrigued. I ended up enjoying it very much --- it is smart, complex, and riveting. Like the main character and her father I've always found Pole stories fascinating, especially that of Scott's failed expedition and Shackleton's brilliant save. Will be really interested to see the response once it is out. (Have to say, I cringed at the mention of tourists who hadn't taken their life-vests off. That was certainly us on Cape Horn! Streams of us in orange. Though in defense, we only took them off when told to by the ship folk. They were incredibly serious about our travels to and from the ship. Quite understandable, but still....:)
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  • Stephanie
    March 23, 2017
    Maybe interesting to you if you care what Bernadette might have done when she was in Antarctica.
  • Dede Ward
    February 24, 2017
    I received a galley of this book in a non-Goodreads giveaway and finished the book last week. I've only now had a chance to sit down to write a review. Where to begin? Imagine a place set at the most remote point of human habitation, the size of a nursery school, and filled with carpenters, cooks, astrophysicists, tech geeks climate researchers, artists, and construction workers. Now imagine them all packed into this research station in the middle of Antarctica, for months and months on end. Go I received a galley of this book in a non-Goodreads giveaway and finished the book last week. I've only now had a chance to sit down to write a review. Where to begin? Imagine a place set at the most remote point of human habitation, the size of a nursery school, and filled with carpenters, cooks, astrophysicists, tech geeks climate researchers, artists, and construction workers. Now imagine them all packed into this research station in the middle of Antarctica, for months and months on end. Go further, and try to imagine what kind of person would freely choose to do this kind of work. If the word "misfit" comes to mind, you're on the right track. I am a fan of character-driven fiction set at "exotic locations," and South Pole Station certainly fits the bill. The book revolves around Cooper Gosling, a gifted but failing visual artist who is grappling with a brutal family tragedy and who decides to flee to the bottom of the earth on a National Science Foundation artist grant. Like many of us, she thinks she can escape her troubles by changing location--and Antarctica is about as far away from civilization as you can get. She quickly realizes her expectations of the place are going to be upended. We meet a lively cast of characters right away, including the South Pole doctor, whose past included working with New York streetwalkers, a brilliant astrophysicist who seems to have his eye on Cooper, a young cook who wants to take over the kitchen from the veteran cook and who will stop at nothing to accomplish this goal. Also, the head of construction and his "ice-wife," a sociologist, the station manager who is the only gay man at the station (as well as being the only black person at the station), a group of artists, and more. Cooper gets entangled in this interesting social situation right away. But the book really starts rolling once a climate change denier named Frank Pavano shows up to do research at the climate research site. The book is set in 2004, when climate denial was in full swing, so I found the historical context fascinating (Bush administration, Big Oil, etc, etc). Anyway, you can imagine how well it goes over with the climate researchers to have a skeptic in their ranks. Cooper seems to be the only one to befriend him, and that decision results in a major "situation" that engages the entire U.S. government!Anyway, this is a witty, fun read that also has some really satisfying emotional moments. There are passages that contain climate science or astrophysics (theories of the beginning of the universe) and although I think the author did try to make these passages understandable, I still found myself a little lost and I admit I skimmed a few paragraphs. But overall, I truly enjoyed the read and found myself thinking about the characters after I'd finished the book, wondering what they were doing. To me, that's the hallmark of a good book!
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  • Leah
    May 31, 2017
    I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a fair review.I really wanted to like this book. The premise seemed so interesting, especially since I know nothing about Antarctica. I keep waiting for the story to start. I kept reading, and reading, and reading, and it never did. Was the blurb towards the end about them refusing to leave the big plot story? Boring. This book was boring. The author would introduce characters (like the Swedes), or settings (like the bar) or pl I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a fair review.I really wanted to like this book. The premise seemed so interesting, especially since I know nothing about Antarctica. I keep waiting for the story to start. I kept reading, and reading, and reading, and it never did. Was the blurb towards the end about them refusing to leave the big plot story? Boring. This book was boring. The author would introduce characters (like the Swedes), or settings (like the bar) or plot lines (like the kitchen and the younger chef making delicious food and messing with the senior chef, or the whole process of selecting your winter-over spouse) and then BAM! she just stopped writing about them. It almost felt like short stories that could have/should have been intertwined. I just couldn't figure out the point. And the brother's ashes....the author made it seem like there was some big secret behind these ashes, and she kept trying to weave this complex story, but as soon as I read dead brother/ashes in necklace/and they used to pretend play about being explorers, well, it was no secret what the plan was for the ashes and I couldn't figure out what the big secret was. I hope someone tells me that the copy of the book I got was missing pages. I hate to be so negative because Ms. Shelby has done more than I could ever hope to do by even writing a novel, but there it is. Sorry.
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  • Cherei
    January 1, 2017
    I really enjoyed reading, "South Pole Station". And, recommend it to anyone who wants to read a book that is written by someone who is steeped in the knowledge and culture of the Polies!The main character is a young lady who gets an opportunity to go down to the South Pole Station to paint. She is there with a program for artists. When she gets there.. a young man takes a liking of her.. and doesn't treat her like a fingy. (newbie). He tells her that he's there to take ice samples as he wants to I really enjoyed reading, "South Pole Station". And, recommend it to anyone who wants to read a book that is written by someone who is steeped in the knowledge and culture of the Polies!The main character is a young lady who gets an opportunity to go down to the South Pole Station to paint. She is there with a program for artists. When she gets there.. a young man takes a liking of her.. and doesn't treat her like a fingy. (newbie). He tells her that he's there to take ice samples as he wants to prove that global warming caused by man does not exist. He's a skeptic. As you can imagine.. every scientist at the station is resentful of Frank. They treat him like he's wasting space and time.. and more importantly.. funding. What they cannot seem to grasp.. is that he has the backing of several Congressmen. So, whenever the polies do something that he totally expects them to do.. intervention happens.. and the Polies find out.. that everything they do to hinder Frank's work comes with a steep price. The part that cracks me up the most.. is the psychologist who is there.. to monitor and record the Polie's actions. This is a must read novel for anyone who wants to be informed of the real culture that exists at the South Pole Station. All of the rituals they perform. How they live. And, how they get along with one another. To want to be down there.. is craziness. To really go.. one MUST be weird. As long as they're physically fit.. and can adapt to the loneliness.. they're a viable candidate. But, no one really speaks of their mental state. Maybe they should! :)
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  • Ashley
    June 11, 2017
    Of course I'm biased, but I do know that five stars-worth of effort went into the book. Its literary value I will leave to others to determine.
  • Jo
    March 2, 2017
    I received this book as an ARC. Overall I enjoyed the novel a lot. The main character, Cooper, is an artist who goes to the South Pole on a grant. The setting was fantastic and Shelby very vividly evokes it. The main character was less well developed, everyone seemed quite enamored of her and it wasn't clear why. The author wrapped up a lot of chapters with Cooper shutting down a conversation with weird one liners which I think was supposed to be clever, and didn't always connect. The characters I received this book as an ARC. Overall I enjoyed the novel a lot. The main character, Cooper, is an artist who goes to the South Pole on a grant. The setting was fantastic and Shelby very vividly evokes it. The main character was less well developed, everyone seemed quite enamored of her and it wasn't clear why. The author wrapped up a lot of chapters with Cooper shutting down a conversation with weird one liners which I think was supposed to be clever, and didn't always connect. The characters and the plot (which was less then believable) were less fully developed then the setting. I didn't find the novel particularly funny and actually didn't realize it was intended to be a dark comedy, but it was an enjoyable quick read.
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  • Joslyn Allen
    June 27, 2017
    Review published: https://chronicbibliophilia.wordpress...     "'What if I promise to just be your typical aimless thirty-year-old looking to delay the inevitable slide into mediocrity?'     'That rolls off your tongue easily.'     'Yeah, well, I've said it before.'     Cooper thought she detected a slight smile somewhere on Tucker's face, but he didn't let it crack open.     'Then you will fit in very well,' he said. 'But can you, just for paperwork's sake, give me one line that I can write dow Review published: https://chronicbibliophilia.wordpress...     "'What if I promise to just be your typical aimless thirty-year-old looking to delay the inevitable slide into mediocrity?'     'That rolls off your tongue easily.'     'Yeah, well, I've said it before.'     Cooper thought she detected a slight smile somewhere on Tucker's face, but he didn't let it crack open.     'Then you will fit in very well,' he said. 'But can you, just for paperwork's sake, give me one line that I can write down on this form? One line about why you want to go to South Pole?'     'I put that on my application.'     'That thing about "new horizons" and "fresh perspectives"?'     Cooper sighed. 'How about to further my creative journey?'     'Insincere.'     'For adventure's sake?'     'There is no adventure, only a grind.'     'I like cold climates?'     'Stay in Minnesota.'     'I want to be somewhere else.'     'You're getting closer.'     'But if I say that, you'll think I'm running from something,' Cooper said.     'It's not "running from something." It's turning aside.' Tucker thought for a moment. 'Or looking askance. Looking askance at civilization. If you apply to go to Pole because it seems "cool" or because you're looking for "adventure," then you'll crack up when you realize it's not a frat party. If you don't fit in anywhere else, you will work your ass off for us. This has been proven time and time again.'"On July 3, 2017 Ashley Shelby's debut novel "South Pole Station" will arrive as, I predict, a celebrated - and ironically sited - summer read. "South Pole Station" is a sparkling story of a group of people who only feel at home in one of Earth's most inhospitable locales. These misfits - scientists, artists, and dedicated supporters - brave six months of darkness, intolerable cold, and mind-altering isolation to form a microcosmic world all their own, where dedication and passions rule the days and months-long nights."There were three widely accepted behavioral predictors that distinguished a successful polar applicant: emotional stability, industriousness, and sociability. But these traits had to be finely balanced against the necessary component of 'crazy' required of a person who would choose to spend months upon months in Antarctica. Furthermore, that person had to be interesting enough for others to want to spend large amounts of time with, but not too 'interesting.' Over the years, Tucker had learned that some social skills were more highly valued at Pole than others: intimate familiarity with Settlers of Catan, detailed knowledge of nonconformist zombie-apocalypse scenarios, and the willingness to grow facial hair competitively, to name a few."Cooper Gosling grew up with South Pole as her Oz, her Hogwarts, her paradise. Cooper's father used the stories and memoirs of Antarctic travel as childhood bedtime stories, and playing the parts of Scott's exploration team marked Cooper's and her twin brother's favorite fantasy."'My father's a frustrated explorer, so I'm on a first-name basis with a lot of dead men.''Yes, there's a whole generation of those kinds of fathers, isn't there? Men cut out of Shackleton's adventures but forced to work as accountants or teachers.'"As an adult artist, still reeling from her brother's recent suicide and her sense that the Earth has tilted on its axis, Cooper applies to and is accepted for a grant from the National Science Foundation to live a year at South Pole Station. Cooper finds her way into the closed society and hearts of this rag-tag crew, a group of some 100 individuals committed to pushing life to the limits and inhabiting the world's least inviting places."'[F]or me, South Pole is like my fantasy bathroom-cottage. You can pretend you have everything you need here. People might pull on the doorknob and threaten to kick the door down, but you know they won't do it, and you can be safe here until you're ready to face whatever ends up being on the other side of it. I like it here because this isn't the world. It's somewhere else.'"What follows is a rollicking exploration, sometimes a "comedy of errors", sometimes pure heartache and agony. There are a few awkward editorial decisions and changes in tone that could be balanced better- particularly when Shelby takes on a different character's perspective or point of view. In these instances, though the words and tone are meant to be reflective of the new narrator, they are not always well-blended into the rest of the narrative. The effort is respectable and bold, however, and may simply be evidence of a young writer finding her voice. These moments, for me, were minor stumbles that were quickly overcome by the pure charm and wit of the story as a whole.Shelby's characters are lovable misanthropes, sexy scientists, and charming misfits of all shapes and sizes. Their passions - for their work and for one another - are compelling and heartwarming amidst a brutal, chilling landscape. "South Pole Station" is light-filled and intensely dark in equal measure. It is summer reading at its best - irresistible characters, a spellbinding plot, and a setting that is as exotic as it gets.Thank you to Picador for providing a complimentary advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. "South Pole Station" will be published in the US on July 3, 2017.
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  • Nannette
    December 23, 2016
    South Pole StationA Novelby Ashley ShelbyCourtesy of NetgalleyEarlier this year I watched a documentary “A Year on the Ice” by Anthony Powell. It was incredible to see how much is involved in humans trying to live in a hostile climate where several months of the year are spent in total darkness and rescue is not an option. Although technology has made some aspects of life there more tenable, it is by no means a walk in the park. South Pole Station is set at the research station located at the Am South Pole StationA Novelby Ashley ShelbyCourtesy of NetgalleyEarlier this year I watched a documentary “A Year on the Ice” by Anthony Powell. It was incredible to see how much is involved in humans trying to live in a hostile climate where several months of the year are spent in total darkness and rescue is not an option. Although technology has made some aspects of life there more tenable, it is by no means a walk in the park. South Pole Station is set at the research station located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in 2004. The staff at the station break into different categories: Scientist (Beakers), Construction and maintenance (Nailheads), Support (cooks) and Artists. Several different artist, who work in different mediums, receive grants to spend an entire year at the station. The population drops significantly from the summer to the winter seasons. During the summer less seniority staff live outside in tents, granted tents with heat but still tents. Once the population drops for the winter, everyone lives in the dome. Life is not possible outside the dome in winter except for short periods. While this seems like a long set up to a book review, it is necessary to understand the dynamics of what happens to the characters. They are literally trapped together. If there is a personality clash it must be endured until the end of the season. There are no supply flights or transport flights at all. The characters in the book range from lifers, who have been living at the pole on and off for years to FINGYS (F*ing New Guys). There is very little respect for the FINGYS from the lifers until the FINGYS have proven themselves. The major concern is the inexperience and unsuitability for the climate may end up getting someone killed. Cooper is an artist who is drifting through life. Her twin brother David committed suicide less than a year ago due to schizophrenia. She has not found her place in the world yet. She applied for the polar art grant because she and her brother were raised on polar explorers stories by their father. Both Cooper’s parents are distant and judgemental. They see Cooper’s decision as a avoidance of responsibility and adult life that she is long overdue to settle into. Cooper isn’t sure why this chance is so important to her, she just knows it is.Once she reaches the pole, the novel takes off. The characters begin as regimented groups. The Beakers stick together as do the other groups. This segregation goes as far as separate bars for each. The artists do not really fit into either group nor do they mesh into their own. The writers have a disdain for the interpretative dance woman. The historical writer and the literary writer cannot agree on anything except the non-writing artist are not true artists. All of this would normally go along for as usual for the season except this year one of the scientist is a climate change denier. He is there to run an experiment proving climate change is a hoax. All the other scientist on the station consider him a joke, a spinner of fairy tales, and try their best to harass him at every turn. His requests for equipment get lost. His access to the computer system is shut down. Any fliers or papers who hangs up on bulletin boards are defaced. Cooper walks right into the middle of this war because as an artist she does not understand about the science and as a person she does not care to see someone mistreated.One lifer states that an individual does the pole once for the experience, the second time for the money and the third time because they do not fit in anywhere else. As winter arrives and the Beakers, Nailheads and FINGYS, misfits anywhere else in the world, all move into the dome, the divisions between people and disciplines widen. Cooper’s choice to try to remain above it all as she deals with her own demons has repercussions that literally circle the globe. The characters evolve and are complex. I came to care about them and their fates. I was completely intrigued by this glimpse of life at the pole. I really enjoyed the book. The only place I feel out of the world was in the sections dealing with the pure science. Not the author’s fault at all as I do not speak science. Whether you like adventure stories, stories of adversities, stories with great characters, or just great fiction, pick up South Pole Station. It satisfies completely.
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  • Zachary Houle
    June 3, 2017
    It’s summer. The weather is hot and humid (or should be for this time of year). Wanna read a book that will likely cool you down? How about reading about the coldest place on Earth, the South Pole, via Ashley Shelby’s debut novel South Pole Station. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for its publication, and not just weather-wise. With the United States pulling out of the Paris Accord, a book that touches on climate change denial is bound to be one of the present, even if the novel’s setting is It’s summer. The weather is hot and humid (or should be for this time of year). Wanna read a book that will likely cool you down? How about reading about the coldest place on Earth, the South Pole, via Ashley Shelby’s debut novel South Pole Station. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for its publication, and not just weather-wise. With the United States pulling out of the Paris Accord, a book that touches on climate change denial is bound to be one of the present, even if the novel’s setting is during the George W. Bush administration circa 2003 and 2004.The book is mostly, at least at the start, told through the eyes of a woman named Cooper, a visual artist who has suffered from the recent death, a suicide, of her twin Brother, who also had a mental illness. To escape the pain, she volunteers to spend a year as a sort of artist-in-residence at the U.S.’s South Pole research station. When Cooper gets down there, she discovers a gaggle of scientists (called Beakers), engineers (called Nailheads) and people just like her who are all about as unhip as you can get from the middle-of-the-road. However, the entire environment is thrown into upheaval when a climate change denier is sent to do research at the Pole. With everyone against him, the denier is forced to find workarounds for his research, which may have a disastrous effect on at least one individual, if not the whole contingent at the Pole.Read more here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...
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  • Douglas Lord
    March 19, 2017
    Polies are a weird breed, and this novel focuses on one Cooper Gosling, 30, an artist who, in 2004, receives a grant that sends her to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The first pages are devoted to the question, “Why?”; her only answer is the lame, “I just want to paint at the bottom of the earth.” (Now don’t get judgy of her. She’s had a bad shock from her twin brother’s suicide and is casting about finding a new normal.) And first-time author Shelby doesn’t seem to be in any rush to fin Polies are a weird breed, and this novel focuses on one Cooper Gosling, 30, an artist who, in 2004, receives a grant that sends her to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The first pages are devoted to the question, “Why?”; her only answer is the lame, “I just want to paint at the bottom of the earth.” (Now don’t get judgy of her. She’s had a bad shock from her twin brother’s suicide and is casting about finding a new normal.) And first-time author Shelby doesn’t seem to be in any rush to find concrete answers for Cooper. Her laid-back writing style lacks definition, and Cooper’s experiences are suffused with vagary. After far too long a setup, this story’s conflict begins when winter arrives and everyone moves indoors for safety. Folks literally have no escape as the cruel season prevents any and all physical access to the outside world. The Polies separate into cliques like Beakers, who science things, and Nailheads, who do construction and maintenance. There are also, for some freaky-ass reason, many artists—writers, painters, and even an interpretive dancer (and yes, your taxes paid for that at the expense of closing your local library branch). Readers might be fooled into thinking that because the plot is so slow this is a story about a woman on a journey. But it’s not; Cooper bumps into a scientist backed by Congressional climate doubters out to disprove global warming. Frank is universally outcast, hated by all others at the Pole except for Cooper, who can’t bear to see a fellow human mistreated. There. That’s the novel. VERDICT A book with relationships working themselves out in a cabin-fever locale unfit for human survival.Find reviews of books for men at Books for Dudes, Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.
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  • Sarah
    May 18, 2017
    Every time I thought of putting this down, the author wiggled out just enough bait to draw me back in. The first section, focusing on the main-main character, felt inexpertly done-- it didn't have the right balance of what to share and what to keep secret. But the info dole evened out, and I was surprised at how much I liked the secondary characters who got to speak in first person for a bit. Their voices were surprisingly unique and had enough depth to not be caricatures. There are a few charac Every time I thought of putting this down, the author wiggled out just enough bait to draw me back in. The first section, focusing on the main-main character, felt inexpertly done-- it didn't have the right balance of what to share and what to keep secret. But the info dole evened out, and I was surprised at how much I liked the secondary characters who got to speak in first person for a bit. Their voices were surprisingly unique and had enough depth to not be caricatures. There are a few characters who are called only by their descriptors throughout the book. They have the same or more on-page time, and the same or more lines than other characters who got names. I don't know if this is supposed to be some kind of subtle message-- the two are artists while everyone else is a scientist or a technician or a blue-collar staffer-- or if this is some weird oversight, or something else. Although they have plenty of lines, the two are probably the thinnest, most-caricature-like characters.
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  • Kim McGee
    May 13, 2017
    Cooper is at a crossroads in her life. Her brother has committed suicide, she is trying to get her dad's praise and up until now, hasn't done much with her art degree. She doesn't really have a plan or a path to take. So she takes the road that ends at the South Pole. As a member of an artist-in-residence program Cooper is met with scorn from her fellow scientist heavy hut mates and basically just tries to adjust to a life with little privacy or warmth. Then a new kind of scientist arrives that Cooper is at a crossroads in her life. Her brother has committed suicide, she is trying to get her dad's praise and up until now, hasn't done much with her art degree. She doesn't really have a plan or a path to take. So she takes the road that ends at the South Pole. As a member of an artist-in-residence program Cooper is met with scorn from her fellow scientist heavy hut mates and basically just tries to adjust to a life with little privacy or warmth. Then a new kind of scientist arrives that knocks the place out of the atmosphere shaking up Cooper and the rest of the team. Goofy but it tackles real problems, snarky but serious and warm enough to defrost the most serious of readers, this is a delight and perfect for the heat of summer. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Kristin
    June 12, 2017
    I don't really have much to say here. I quite liked this book in the beginning with all the details of getting to and living at South Pole (told through the story of an artist on an NSF art grant running from her grief over her brother's suicide). There were really interesting insights on art, science, politics, sociology, psychology... Not much happened exactly, but it was interesting. And then in the last half or third or so, I just totally lost interest. I think it got way too political and m I don't really have much to say here. I quite liked this book in the beginning with all the details of getting to and living at South Pole (told through the story of an artist on an NSF art grant running from her grief over her brother's suicide). There were really interesting insights on art, science, politics, sociology, psychology... Not much happened exactly, but it was interesting. And then in the last half or third or so, I just totally lost interest. I think it got way too political and melodramatic. (view spoiler)[Cooper loses a finger in a drilling accident and the scientists "occupy" the station. (hide spoiler)] Kind of ironic that I was enjoying the non-action and then once the action started I got bored, but there you go. While this ended up not being the book for me, it's definitely the book for somebody. Pretty unique, often insightful.The fine print: received ARC from NetGalley.
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  • Jacki Skole
    June 7, 2017
    Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station takes readers to the bottom of the earth for a wry, multi-layered story that tightly packs art, science, polar history, climate change, politics, humor, and human relationships into a vivid tale of courage and redemption.Shelby's characters are quirky and complex. Her writing is smart and witty. And because she's a former journalist, the depth of her research and her eye for detail bring the setting and story to life in a striking way. I've written a more flesh Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station takes readers to the bottom of the earth for a wry, multi-layered story that tightly packs art, science, polar history, climate change, politics, humor, and human relationships into a vivid tale of courage and redemption.Shelby's characters are quirky and complex. Her writing is smart and witty. And because she's a former journalist, the depth of her research and her eye for detail bring the setting and story to life in a striking way. I've written a more fleshed out review at www.ecolitbooks.com, which I encourage readers to check out. Or, take my word for it here: Bypass the EcoLit review and buy the book.(I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.)
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  • Cathy
    June 14, 2017
    South Pole Station: A Novel A place to fit in for those who don't fit in anywhere....this is an interesting tale of a ragtag group of offbeat people whom seem to have nothing in common, but bond over the one location so far from everywhere and everything that is "normal". Quite the quirky read with a fair amount of science thrown in. I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lynn
    March 22, 2017
    Thank you for making this title available. Unfortunately, the further I read, the more I was convinced that this was not the kind of book that I would enjoy. This is no criticism whatsoever of the plot, characters, writing style, setting, or the author. Merely a statement of my own preferences.
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  • Pamela
    February 7, 2017
    Interpersonal dramas and crises among the scientists and other workers at South Pole Station. Some funny moments and some lovely descriptive language.
  • Kathleen Duffy
    February 27, 2017
    I felt like some of the scientific jargon was a bit too technical for the novel's overarching audience. The book could've been shortened by a good 100 pages without losing quality. But, the story was otherwise well-scripted and engaging, and took readers on a journey to one of the coldest, most desolate places on earth. It certainly allowed for an interesting change of scenery...although I spent most of my reading time safely underneath a warm blanket!*NetGalley provided ARC in exchange for an h I felt like some of the scientific jargon was a bit too technical for the novel's overarching audience. The book could've been shortened by a good 100 pages without losing quality. But, the story was otherwise well-scripted and engaging, and took readers on a journey to one of the coldest, most desolate places on earth. It certainly allowed for an interesting change of scenery...although I spent most of my reading time safely underneath a warm blanket!*NetGalley provided ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Joyce
    February 9, 2017
    4 starsCooper Gosling wants to go to the South Pole to paint. Recovering from the recent suicide of her twin brother, she takes tests and answers hundreds of questions. Finally making it to the land of Amundsen and other famous and not-so-famous explorers, she immediately gets sick. She begins to meet the other “polies” in a war versus the scientists – and everyone else it seems. She befriends a young man whose aim is to take core samples to disprove the theory of global warming. The other scien 4 starsCooper Gosling wants to go to the South Pole to paint. Recovering from the recent suicide of her twin brother, she takes tests and answers hundreds of questions. Finally making it to the land of Amundsen and other famous and not-so-famous explorers, she immediately gets sick. She begins to meet the other “polies” in a war versus the scientists – and everyone else it seems. She befriends a young man whose aim is to take core samples to disprove the theory of global warming. The other scientists tease him, and play practical jokes (some a lot more serious than others), on him. They basically make his life miserable. Inter-relationships between people are very important when during the winter it is dark all the time and in the summer the temperature is about minus 31 degrees F. Witnessing the harsh conditions that people have to live in, it makes one wonder just how in the heck people survived all those years ago. Our polies have all the modern conveniences, like thermal underwear and reliable heating, whereas years ago they had layers of clothes and a fire to sit by. Just wow! The pole is both beautiful and forbidding; the descriptions of the landscape are very stark and wonderful. I want to thank Net galley and MacMillan-Picador for forwarding to me a copy of this great book to read.
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  • Jeanne O'donnell
    February 8, 2017
    To me this novel didn't have substance. It didn't go anywhere and I didn't feel part of the 'Pole' experience
  • Alexa
    June 27, 2017
    I really wanted to like this book. As it is, I'm not even finishing it. There's honestly nothing wrong with it but it just doesn't hold my attention. There are interesting aspects but it seems like the author introduces these and then just lets them go. I hate the emails between the MC and her sister. They're pointless, honestly. And the author is acting like there's big mystery about the brother. Yeah, I've figured it out already. I'm in the minority on this one, so if you're on the fence, do g I really wanted to like this book. As it is, I'm not even finishing it. There's honestly nothing wrong with it but it just doesn't hold my attention. There are interesting aspects but it seems like the author introduces these and then just lets them go. I hate the emails between the MC and her sister. They're pointless, honestly. And the author is acting like there's big mystery about the brother. Yeah, I've figured it out already. I'm in the minority on this one, so if you're on the fence, do give it a try. I wish you better luck than I've had.
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  • Lisa Workman
    April 30, 2017
    I am always fascinated by books on Antarctica. The first part of this novel was humorous and unexpected and I enjoyed the misfit characters. I would have given it 4 stars. But the second half of the novel was more steeped in heavy science and political controversy, and I had a much harder time pushing through this (I am certain that there are other readers to whom this would appeal). So the second half would've been 3 stars. I did like the main character throughout the book and found her be rela I am always fascinated by books on Antarctica. The first part of this novel was humorous and unexpected and I enjoyed the misfit characters. I would have given it 4 stars. But the second half of the novel was more steeped in heavy science and political controversy, and I had a much harder time pushing through this (I am certain that there are other readers to whom this would appeal). So the second half would've been 3 stars. I did like the main character throughout the book and found her be relatable. I received a copy this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
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