South Pole Station is a portrait painted with the whole palette—science and politics; art and history; love and frostbite—and all of it crackles with the can't-make-this-up details of life at the bottom of the world. What starts as an (extreme) travel adventure turns into an (extreme) comedy of manners and then things get (extremely) real and you (will definitely) cry. Sometimes it turns out a place was just waiting for the right person to tell its story; I think South Pole Station was waiting for Ashley Shelby.”

—Robin Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

USAP training "passport" for incoming Polies.

USAP training "passport" for incoming Polies.

“Turn the pages of Ashley Shelby's debut novel, South Pole Station, and meet the scientists, researchers, misfits, lovers, medics, plagiarists, cooks—and the handful of wannabe artists—who populate her marvelously vivid and insular society at the bottom of the globe. This is a terrific book: one that you can live in deeply while you're reading, only to reemerge after the final chapter, grateful and blinking, wondering where in the heck you are.”

—Julie Schumacher, national bestselling author of Dear Committee Members


“Ashley Shelby's debut South Pole Station is an absolute treasure. She's somehow written an infectious beach read about the coldest place on earth AND a stunning treatise on family, grief, creativity, and science. This book hits all the best notes of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Catch 22 and has the warmth and wit to carve its way into even the iciest of hearts.”

—John Jodzio, author of Knockout

South Pole Station Winter-Over Crew, 2003 (including Lacy Shelby). Credit: Joy Culbertson and Karina Leppick.

South Pole Station Winter-Over Crew, 2003 (including Lacy Shelby). Credit: Joy Culbertson and Karina Leppick.

“I was dazzled by Ashley Shelby’s South Pole Stationa terrifically witty, insightful, and satisfying novel, peopled by memorable misfits thrown together in a hothouse of conflicting interests in the frozen Antarctic.”

Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen

Pole alumna and former production cook Lacy Shelby, circa 2003.

Pole alumna and former production cook Lacy Shelby, circa 2003.

“Prepare for the big chill! Ashley Shelby’s mismatched cast of characters are all powerfully drawn to the South Pole, each for their own reason; Shelby charts their respective courses with sensitivity, intelligence, and grace. Here is a brave, original novel about leaving the known and familiar world in order to find it again.”

Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The House on Primrose Pond

South Pole Station is the brilliant story of artist and lost soul Cooper Gosling. In Antarctica, she meets the misfits and margin-dwellers with whom she has to navigate the webs of belief and knowledge, grief and hope, loneliness and love. South Pole Station reminds us that sometimes we have to go to the end of the earth to find what is within us.”

Frank Bures, author of The Geography of Madness

And Some Early Reviews

“Shelby makes serious statements about scientific quests, climate change, politics and people in extremis, but it's the "Polies" who undergird the story...With South Pole Station's satire, science, wry wit and warmth, Ashley Shelby has written one of the best novels of the year."Shelf Awareness

"Shelby's first novel, based on a short story that won the Third Coast Fiction Prize, skillfully weaves science, climate change, politcs, sociology, and art...All readers of fiction, particularly those interested in life in extreme climates, will find [South Pole Station] appealing."Library Journal (starred review) 

"[A] smart and inventive first novel...Hovering over all is Cooper’s sort-of “spirit animal,” the British explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who wrote the Antarctica classic The Worst Journey in the World. This new book would no doubt confound him but, in the end, bring him delight." Kirkus Reviews

"This is a fascinating novel, loaded with interesting history of Antarctic exploration, current scientific operations, and the living and working conditions of those folks brave enough to endure six months of darkness and six months of daylight." Publishers Weekly