Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange & Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson
Synopsis: What goes on in Antarctica?
Is it the pristine but harsh frontier where noble scientific missions are accomplished? Or an insane corporate bureaucracy where hundreds of workers are cooped together in hi-tech communes with all the soul of a suburban office park?
Welcome to Big Dead Place, a grunt’s eye view of America’s Antarctic Program that shatters the well-worn clichés of polar literature. Here the heroic camaraderie and romantic desolation give way to sterile buildings populated by characters like a crazed manager who fills his boots with antifreeze, the greasepaint-obsessed worker Boozy the Clown, ghosts that haunt the food freezer, and horny employees who grab rare private moments coupling on the altar in the Chapel of the Snows.
The Foreword is by Eirik Sønneland, who claims the longest unsupported ski trek in the continent’s history. Also included is a glossary of Antarctic slang and bureaucratese, and 16 pages of color photographs.
Author Nicholas Johnson has worked as a fish-cannery cleaner in the Aleutian Islands, an office manager at a software company, a salesclerk at Banana Republic, a taxi driver in Seattle, an English teacher in South Korea, and as a valet at International House of Pancakes. He has spent five summers and two winters in Antarctica.
Published: April 2005 | ISBN-13: 978-0922915996
Mini-bio: Nicholas Johnson lived and worked in South Korea, New Zealand, Antarctica, Iraq, and Afghanistan He has also been published in Harper’s Magazine, by Granta.