On the latest edition of Rune Soup Gordon read an essay by Ursula Le Guin on her love of the old stories of Antarctic expeditions. It was a beautiful exposition on the power of place. As someone who has never read much Le Guin it was a pleasant surprise to come across this piece.

I myself have always had an interest in these bygone explorers who seemed to chase after things simply because they were there. While in real life I am a model, introverted homebody, in books I am a regular armchair advernturer. In particular, Robert Falcon Scott’s journey has always captured my imagination, not least because of the pure tragedy of it. Le Guin as well sees Scott’s quest as somehow the most true. True because he admitts failure and refuses to deviate from it.

A little research shows that not only did she write this essay but she also wrote a short story that was inspired by the likes of Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. Sur, proports to be an unpublished account of an expedition to Antarctica, the first ever to reach the South Pole, mounted in August of 1909 by a group of women. Clearly, I am going to have to track this one down. It may just make it onto next year’s syllabus.