3 of 5 stars.
A remote scientific expedition sets the stage for this tale of horror and scramble for survival. Drawing from Lovecraft’s warning against meddling in the seemingly barren, frozen extremes of this planet, a professor takes 3 grad students and a pilot/guide to Melville Island in the Arctic Ocean to look for fossils before oil interests destroy the landscape.
Creepy vibes and a noted lack of any native lifeforms sets the early mood for the group laden with limited supplies. After their first night huddled together under tarps against the Arctic winds, the men emerge to find all supplies missing and bare footprints littering the basecamp.
The hidden threat keeps upping the stakes and consequences as the group is pulled apart and re-united under changing circumstances and dwindling hope. As the food reserves and water are used up, or taken, the group’s perspective and energy is compromised. . .
“On Ice” appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing in Burnt Black Suns (Hippocampus Press, 2014). I’d previously read Strantzas’s “Emotional Dues” which also utilized an unseen threat, or monster, to stage a horror story.
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