How can I find out more about McMurdo Station in Antarctica?
September 1, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

I enjoyed learning about McMurdo Station in Antarctica from Encounters at the End of the World: how can I find out more about that place and what it's like to live there? Ideally I'm looking for films or TV shows but also good magazine articles, books, websites, all either fiction or non-fiction (as long as the fiction is somewhat based in reality).
posted by Kirn to Travel & Transportation around McMurdo Station, Antarctica (18 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Big Dead Place, the book and the website.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:53 AM on September 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

A friend of mine blogged about her recent four month work at Palmer Station here. Warning: there's lots of Go Pro video with cute penguins and also station employees jumping into very cold water.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:03 AM on September 1, 2012

(Sorry it's not the same exact part of Antarctica, but still... penguins!)
posted by oceanjesse at 9:06 AM on September 1, 2012

Firstly, +1 for Big Dead Place (the book). That's the best recommendation you're going to get.

But if you've really only got a few minutes: here's a Pitchfork feature about the McMurdo music scene (no, really). And here's my favourite Youtube of all time.

John Carpenter's The Thing is of course not based in reality, but it seems to be the favourite movie about Antarctica of a lot of people who've actually lived and worked there. I get the feeling it does a pretty good job of recreating the look and feel of life down there.
posted by caek at 9:16 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber's two Whiteout miniseries (which have been collected in handy trade paperbacks by Oni press) are great crime comics set in that weird, dead world.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:17 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lucy Jane Bloedsoe's novel Big Bang Symphony takes place at McMurdo; she's a friend who spent two or three seasons there as an artist in residence. Kim Stanley Robinson has also been there as part of the artist-in-residence program, and wrote a novel: Antarctica. Sara Wheeler wrote the (nonfiction) book that turned me on to all things Antarctic: Terra Incognita; she was the first artist in residence. Her book doesn't take place solely at McMurdo, but there's a lot about it there.
posted by rtha at 9:32 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are a number of web sites that help people prepare for work in Antartica. Not McMrudo specifically, but it looks like the primary variant between Antarctic stations is how few people there are.

Here's a good link with some 1st hand background and lots of employer links. Most Antarctic hiring websites have pretty solid info on what it's like to live and work there, generally in a vain effort to ward you off.

Here's another link with some for 1st hand work experience.
posted by Ookseer at 11:06 AM on September 1, 2012

Beaucoupkevin beat me to the Whiteout books.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 11:22 AM on September 1, 2012

Someone just did an IAMA about it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:36 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just finished the novel, Where'd You Go Bernadette?, which has a chapter on this.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:54 PM on September 1, 2012

Not McMurdo, but Amundsen-Scott Research Station: Ice Bound by Dr. Jerri Nielsen. Incredible real-life story about her time over-wintering at the station.
posted by nanook at 12:54 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Icebound was also made into a TV movie.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:13 PM on September 1, 2012

Response by poster: That's all fantastic guys, thank you!
posted by Kirn at 3:56 AM on September 2, 2012

Not a narrative but it can be interesting to just browse through the images of McMurdo at
posted by XMLicious at 4:12 AM on September 2, 2012

I put up an Antarctica post recently.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2012

Best answer: I spent about twelve weeks at McMurdo or in the field nearby over the '09-'10 and '10-'11 seasons, doing research on the ice around there. The blog I wrote has a lot of science but also some posts on life at McMurdo:

Getting cold weather gear from the Clothing Distribution Center
Some photos of the journey and of the station
Sea ice safety training
Where to get coffee in Mactown
McMurdo weather conditions
Touring the McMurdo sewage plant

Traveling to McMurdo
The yearly re-supply ship
More on resupply

And a good friend of mine spent the whole '10-'11 season there as part of the medical staff, and blogged about it extensively. (Check the sidebar for Q&A about Antarctica and McMurdo.)

(Of course I'm happy to answer specific questions, if you have any; I think it's pretty fascinating myself.)
posted by fermion at 12:26 AM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also came in to recommend Terra Incognita, which I found highly entertaining.
posted by naoko at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks guys, that's brilliant.
posted by Kirn at 12:28 PM on October 1, 2012

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