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What's more terrifying than a Halloween horror story? How about a thriller that's so eerily plausible it'll have you second-guessing the best of corporate motives right along with government assurances that global warming is just an ecological hiccup.
When a 1,000 square-mile section of the Larson Ice Shelf broke off the Antarctic continent in 1998 due to global warming, thousands read the AP story in their local papers. Only one was inspired to write a novel about the giant iceberg. Karen Dionne combined that incident with the greatest April Fool’s hoax in Discover Magazine’s history to create “a timely, terrifying thriller” (Dame Magazine) about an environmentalist who thinks he can alleviate the world’s fresh water crisis by melting Antarctic icebergs into drinking water – not realizing he’s about to unleash an environmental disaster with the potential to destroy all mankind.
“Filled with fascinating science and thorny ethical questions, Freezing Point takes horror to a chilling new degree,” Dame Magazine adds. “Its ingenious plot, genuine characters, superlative writing and nail-biting suspense will change the way you look at a bottle of water," according to Romantic Times Book Review – all without a drop of romance in the novel!
It takes a cold, calculating mind to come up with this kind of thriller material. Say the type of mind that creates a little Web site for writers and calls it Backspace. Or perhaps the type of mind that gets its owner ranked #11 worldwide in the "Expert" category of Minesweeper. (Yes, folks, sad but true.)
Let's take a peek inside this mind, shall we? (Oh, and if you're eating ... well, let's just say I wouldn't be.) Answer the questions that follow for your chance to win a copy of Freezing Point.
For the fourth time in as many hours, Zo shoved the Hägglunds into park, opened the door, and jumped to the ground. The moment her feet touched down, she bent double, retching her peanut butter and jelly sandwich onto the snow. Straightening, she wiped her mouth on her jacket sleeve and leaned against the vehicle’s track to catch her breath. Then another cramp seized her, and she bent forward again.
Once her stomach was empty, she climbed back into the driver’s seat, still hungry, still nauseated, and leaned her head against the steering wheel, thinking how ridiculous it was that something as normal as pregnancy should make a woman so sick. She eyed the remaining half of her sandwich; then looked down at the brown and purple Rorschach blot in the snow and sealed the sandwich in a zip-lock bag—force of habit, since the Antarctic climate was so dry an open bag of chips stayed fresh for months.
Shifting the Hägglunds into gear, she started forward with one eye on the flag line and the other on the GPS, the mountains on either side rising up out of the snow like miniature Himalayas. A pterodactyl-shaped shadow passed over the ground. Zo traced it back to an albatross flying overhead. Seabirds never came very far inland, which meant she was close. She was tempted to roll down the window to sample the salt-smell in the air, but the exterior readout of –2E F and the frequent spindrifts of snow counseled otherwise.
After another half hour of jostling and bumping, she arrived at the Larson. In front of her, the glacier pooled between two rocky promontories like melted ice cream, spilling carelessly out onto the ocean where at some indeterminate point it ceased being a glacier and became the Larson Ice Shelf. Viewed from a distance, the surface was deceptively smooth, but ice shelves floated up and down with the tides, grating against the rocks and opening up cracks and fissures capable of swallowing an entire fleet of Hägglunds. Icebergs the size of apartment buildings regularly broke off from the leading edge in a process that was as natural as the seasons. It was only in recent years that chunks as big as small countries had begun falling into the sea. Laymen pointed their confident fingers at global warming, but lacking definitive empirical evidence, scientists were divided. Zo’s physical survey was intended to add to their body of knowledge; unfortunately, one season’s data wasn’t going to amount to much of a contribution.
As she drove out onto the glacier, she followed her previous tracks closely, fully aware of the sacrilege she was committing by scarring the face of the object she’d come to study. For all its harshness, Antarctica’s was a delicate ecosystem where change came slowly and even a footprint lasted for decades. To her left, she saw movement, the usual welcoming committee of dark shapes scurrying low to the ground. She tapped the horn in greeting and congratulated herself for not shuddering. The rats weren’t the only ones capable of adapting.
1) What kind of vehicle does Karen typically drive, and why?
2) Zo obviously frequents the Ice Shelf often. Why doesn't she just stay home and keep her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the freezer like the rest of us? (10 words or less.)
3) Write a haiku using at least 3 of the following words: rats, albatross, iceberg, Hägglunds, Rorschach.
Like what you've read so far? Come back this weekend to read CHAPTER ONE of Freezing Point!