“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 (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

“Shelby is very good on social interactions at the end of the earth, and  South Pole Station crackles with energy." The Washington Post

Throughout witty, often hilarious scenarios, Shelby expertly weaves in the legitimate political and environmental concerns of climate change faced by the worldwide scientific community today. Shelby’s exploration of the human spirit continuously digs deeper, ever in search of answers to all of life’s important questions— scientific and otherwise." Bookpage

"A lovely, satirical, and emotionally complex novel about coming to terms with heartbreak and re-finding one’s self through art." LitHub's "16 Books You Should Read This July"

"If you like literature that transports you to exotic locales beyond the reach of commercial airlines and enables you to view hot topics from cool new angles, South Pole Station is just the ticket...Shelby's writing is pithy and funny, and her band of eccentrics are scrappy loners who are best suited to the company of other loners.... In this unusual, entertaining first novel, Ashley Shelby combines science with literature to make a clever case for scientists' and artists' shared conviction that "the world could become known if only you looked hard enough." ―Heller McAlpin, National Public Radio

Under the Dome at Amundsen-Scott in the '02-'03 season, mid-winter greeting. Credit: Jason Medley

Under the Dome at Amundsen-Scott in the '02-'03 season, mid-winter greeting. Credit: Jason Medley

*Just when you think you’ve seen all the books, along comes a comedy of manners about climate change starring a ragtag team of cultural misfits at the edge of the world. Shelby’s novel grew out of a(n award-winning) short story, but its scope is capacious." The Millions' Most Anticipated: Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview

"A ramblingly entertaining first novel...day-to-day dramas provide a vivid notion of what it's like to live in a frigid landscape that's dark for six months of the year, 'a place where you went to become unreachable.'" Alida Becker, New York Times Book Review  

"Urgent, funny, and beautifully written...[South Pole Station] is rife with fascinating and piercingly funny dialogue about the meaning of the scientific method, the importance of NSF funding, and how both art and science can lend insight into the workings of the universe."  Chicago Review of Books

South Pole Station Winter-Over Crew, 2003 (including Lacy Shelby) during medevac. Credit: Jason Medley

South Pole Station Winter-Over Crew, 2003 (including Lacy Shelby) during medevac. Credit: Jason Medley

"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

“Shelby's first novel eschews easy choices and treats interpersonal relations, grief, science, art, and political controversy with the same deft, humorous hand. Readers will find characters to love, suspect, and identify with among Cooper's fellow Polies and won't forget them easily." Booklist

"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) 

"Shelby captures the particular powderkeg that is created when a bunch of oddball humans are trapped together in a small, hostile environment with no means for escape, where the only outlets are work, play, and each other. Like Cooper, to stay that long in Antarctica, you have to have a funny way of looking at the world." Brit + Co

"Set in the vast yet claustrophobic reality of Antarctica, the novel’s first delight is in its vivid depiction of sub-zero life...The second delight is the clear message that science is not belief. It’s science...Shelby, who lives in Minneapolis, keeps more than a few story lines thrumming here, yet a keen eye for character and a sharp ear for smartass dialogue keeps the strands straight." Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Shelby catches the ironies and ludicrous trivia that can balloon out of control. Dire consequences in ludicrous circumstances let us laugh anyway. She captures nuances with a phrase, a situation, someone's appearance...nice work, especially for a first novel." The Buffalo News

"Shelby...writes about technical topics and geographical setting with confidence and compelling detail. South Pole Station also includes the absurdity and humor befitting its eccentric and appealingly unorthodox cast of characters." Bookreporter

"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

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

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

“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

Things my family has said about South Pole Station

“Oars and paddles are different tools.”—Dad

"Couldn't you have slipped in a couple 50 Shades kind of scenes?" —Mom

“I used a page from the manuscript for scratch paper for math homework and I saw a swear word on it.”—Hudson, age nine

“This is boring. Can we play Legos?”—Josephine, age seven