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The birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica Hardcover – 1983


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press; 1st edition (1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038527811X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385278119
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,993,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This is well written, but I can not recommend it.
Jedidiah Carosaari
Written in 1983, it manages to paint a near perfect picture of our world from the 1990s on.
Jersey Kid
The characters are flat, and I simply did not care what might become of them.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
I've been thinking about this novel lately. Something about reading
plenty of William Gibson (COUNT ZERO, MONA LISA OVERDRIVE, BURNING CHROME),
and thinking about outcasts of society making their way in a decaying
world.

I stumbled up TBOTPROA when researching Antarctica for a stage
adaptation of "Who Goes There?" This novel is a dark tale of outcasts,
refugees at sea when the world has its 19th nervous breakdown. Drifting
south, the narrator finds a new life amongst the ruthless new culture that
springs up at the end of the world. Elements of Norse myth and modern chaos
recombine under the shadow of a social apocalypse. Intimate and tragic,
this is a vision of the end of world that veers off course from
expectations. Though I've lost my copy, the story has stuck with me for,
what, 14 years or so. That says something -- only about two dozen or so
stories are locked away in my psyche. John's is one of them.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ugly Gentleman on June 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
It stays in your mind, this book. The birth, life, and death of one Skallagrim Strider, a man touched by the Fates in every way, who come to accept his place in it as the world around him deteriorates. People and wolves, gunboats and war, passion and cannibalism amongst the ice floes of the South Atlantic: they are but products of Nature and Fate. In the end, there is no remorse, no true lingering hate. Everything strange and macabre is really just an ordinary aspect of existence - acceptance of dark tragedy as only the ancient Norse could accept it.
An alternate story of our world, yet a very possible reality. Change the dates forward a few more years again, and it remains a very possible future. Gritty and detailed look at Fate.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jersey Kid on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is prescient. Written in 1983, it manages to paint a near perfect picture of our world from the 1990s on. A world where the utter contempt - no, complete and total disregard - for the masses is raised to an institutional level. It is an indictment of globalization; the new world order; UN peace-keeping and so forth and so on.

As civilization teeters on collapse and national boundaries are closed with governments doing nothing more than annoucing "Traspassers Will Be Shot!," a group of disaffected malcontents who had lived on the fringe even in the good times undertake a voyage to escape a glorious socialism that excludes all but a select few from benefits. What begins as a voyage of salvation rapidly becomes a journey rivaling Dante's descent in to Hell. The group - idealistic anarchists who are joined by extended family members and an egomanic opportunist in the guise of "the clear thinker," sail from from Sweden west and south, eventually arriving in Antarctica. The trip sees them pass through the Baltic, the English Channel and out into the Atlantic. Along the way, they are assailed by various forces and threats; all of which treat xenophobia as a normal state.

Their final destination is reached only after a brief sojourn on South Georgia Island. This halt - at what may be the last place on the planet where life is normal - ends abruptly when the rot of jealousy and corruption overtakes them. Moving on, they land in Antarctica, which they find has become the dumping ground for the perceived riff-raff of the world. It is nothing less than a vast concentration camp administered by presumably earnest charities and aggressively pragmatic governments operating under the notion that liberal and progressive words can mask what is really underway.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Milos Tomin on November 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Writing from the point of view in the early 80's and fresh from the chaos of the 70's oil crisis Batchelor naturally used this experience to build his world which in SF terms would be classified as a "near future" narrative.
More accurately his book is that rare animal in the XX century a political fiction talking about the issues of freedom and personal responsibility in the face of antiutopian fictions like 1984 or The Brave New World and actual political utopian projects like the Soviet Union or Third Reich.
It is easily recognizable that Batchelor is writing from a Libertarian perspective and that would allow me to label the book as a 'Libertarian fable' however this book is much more.
Taking Sweden in the early 70's as the location of his books beginning the writer appropriates the heritage of Norse mythology and epic poems for his flawed hero and this imagery stays with the reader throughout the book in tone, names and a whole chapter that takes place during a 'berserk' war fury during which the Hero Skallagrim Strider commits many crimes.
However Batchelor posits his crimes against the political crimes of those who convicted not just the hero but millions to a fate worse than his. The metaphor of the 'road to hell is paved with good intentions' is aptly used here.
In the end the Hero is given a sort of a political redemption by becoming a "Republic of one" incarnating the libertarian ideal of personal responsibility and freedom in the wastes of Antarctic islands.
Fascinating read that will stay with you, slightly dated due to the basic premise of a breakdown in world social order by Oil crisis, racism and religious fervour. Otherwise, to the point, asking the most fundamental questions about the political animal-Man.
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