City in the Ice


There are very few places left in this world that haven’t been explored, mapped, and inhabited. The majority of the surface of the earth is known down to the millimeter. However, a few mysteries do remain. The depths of the oceans evade discovery simply because of their inaccessibility. Likewise, the icy stretches of the last great continent that continues to resist human knowledge: Antarctica. Recent archeological finds confirm that Antarctica was once at least temperate if not subtropical millennia ago. Various authors have recounted, through their fictions, stories relayed to them by survivors of the few successful forays into the icy continent’s heart. In 1819, the San Telmo, a Spanish ship of the line, was lost off the coast of Antarctica with all 644 aboard. Since then, tales have surfaced in rumor, fiction, and legend about the terrors haunting the vast wasteland surrounding the nether pole of the world.

The place was one of singular wildness, and its aspect brought to my mind the descriptions given by travellers of those dreary regions marking the site of degraded Babylon. Not to speak of the ruins of the disruptured cliff, which formed a chaotic barrier in the vista to the northward, the surface of the ground in every other direction was strewn with huge tumuli, apparently the wreck of some gigantic structures of art; although, in detail, no semblance of art could be detected. Scoria were abundant, and large shapeless blocks of the black granite, intermingled with others of marl, and both granulated with metal. Of vegetation there were no traces whatsoever throughout the whole of the desolate area within sight. Several immense scorpions were seen, and various reptiles not elsewhere to be found in the high latitudes.

from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)

…I beheld a schooner-rigged vessel lying in a sort of cradle of ice, stern-on to the sea. A man bulked out with frozen snow, so as to make his shape as great as a bear, leaned upon the rail with a slight upwards inclination of his head, as though he were in the act of looking fully up to hail me…and the instant I saw him I knew him to be dead. He was the only figure visible. The whole body of the vessel was frosted by the snow into the glassy aspect of the spars and rigging, and the sunshine striking down made a beautiful prismatic picture of the silent ship.
She was a very old craft. The snow had moulded itself upon her and enlarged without spoiling her form. I found her age in the structure of her bows, the headboards of which curved very low round to the top of the stem, forming a kind of well there, the after-part of which was framed by the forecastle bulkhead, after the fashion of ship-building in vogue in the reign of Anne and the first two Georges. Her topmasts were standing, but her jibboom was rigged in. I could find no other evidence of her people having snugged her for these winter quarters, in which she had been manifestly lying for years and years. I traced the outlines of six small cannons covered with snow, but resting with clean-sculptured forms in their white coats; a considerable piece of ordnance aft, and several petararoes or swivel-pieces upon the after-bulwark rails. Gaffs and booms were in their places, and the sails furled upon them. The figuration of the main hatch showed a small square, and there was a companion or hatch-cover abaft the mainmast. There was no trace of a boat. She had a flush or level deck from the well in the bows to a fathom or so past the main-shrouds; it was then broken by a short poop-deck, which went in a great spring or rise to the stern, that was after the pink style, very narrow and tall.
Though I write this description coldly, let it not be supposed that I was not violently agitated and astonished almost into the belief that what I beheld was a mere vision, a phenomenon. The sight of the body I examined did not nearly so greatly astound me as the spectacle of this ice-locked schooner. It was easy to account for the presence of a dead man… But the ship, perfect in all respects, was like a stroke of magic.

from The Frozen Pirate, William Clark Russell (1887)

…we beheld on the distant horizon ahead the spires of a mighty city; and the bearded man said to me: “This is Thalarion, the City of a Thousand Wonders, wherein reside all those mysteries that man has striven in vain to fathom.” And I looked again, at closer range, and saw that the city was greater than any city I had known or dreamed of before. Into the sky the spires of its temples reached, so that no man might behold their peaks; and far back beyond the horizon stretched the grim, grey walls, over which one might spy only a few roofs, weird and ominous, yet adorned with rich friezes and alluring sculptures. I yearned mightily to enter this fascinating yet repellent city, and besought the bearded man to land me at the stone pier by the huge carven gate Akariel; but he gently denied my wish, saying: “Into Thalarion, the City of a Thousand Wonders, many have passed but none returned. Therein walk only daemons and mad things that are no longer men, and the streets are white with the unburied bones of those who have looked upon the eidolon Lathi, that reigns over the city.”

from The White Ship, H.P. Lovecraft (1919)

For this place could be no ordinary city. It must have formed the primary nucleus and center of some archaic and unbelievable chapter of earth’s history whose outward ramifications, recalled only dimly in the most obscure and distorted myths, had vanished utterly amidst the chaos of terrene convulsions long before any human race we know had shambled out of apedom. Here sprawled a Palaeogaean megalopolis compared with which the fabled Atlantis and Lemuria, Commoriom and Uzuldaroum, and Olathoë in the land of Lomar, are recent things of today—not even of yesterday; a megalopolis ranking with such whispered pre-human blasphemies as Valusia, R’lyeh, Ib in the land of Mnar, and the Nameless city of Arabia Deserta. As we flew above that tangle of stark titan towers my imagination sometimes escaped all bounds and roved aimlessly in realms of fantastic associations—even weaving links betwixt this lost world and some of my own wildest dreams concerning the mad horror at the camp.

from At the Mountains of Madness, H. P. Lovecraft (1931)

Ideas that something still lies waiting to be discovered in the wilds of the last continent run rife. We explore the real and unreal in this volume, fiction and fact, as hard as they are to separate in the miasma of mystery that surrounds the City in the Ice.

A (fictional) British polar expedition discovers a rift in the Antarctic ice after a massive earthquake, revealing the ruins of a city designed by something other than humans. A single survivor of the expedition is found wandering the coast by a passing ship, nearly dead and totally insane.

A (fictional) British expedition is sent to determine the fate of the 1900 expedition. None return.

A second (fictional) British expedition is sent to determine the fate of the two previous expeditions. A single survivor relates what was found – a city in the ice, the remains of the previous expeditions – but the survivor is later found dead under mysterious circumstances, the body mutilated almost beyond recognition.

A (fictional) British survey expedition observes what appears to be a glacier of blood pouring into the sea off the Antarctic coast. Investigation reveals a huge cavern entrance. The ship is later found drifting at sea without a crew. The ship’s log indicates a landing party brought back something from the cavern, then the log ends.

A (fictional) Norwegian polar expedition disappears. Some of its dogs make it back to base, covered in a strange substance that causes those who handle them to hallucinate violently.

A (possibly true) secret Nazi expedition, following up on the reports of previous expeditions, ventures into the area and disappears. {based somewhat on Der Fuerher’s want of artifacts or relics to help him rule}

A (possibly true) secret Argentine expedition consisting of German expats and Argentine locals tries to find out what happened to the 1933 group. At the first sight of the city, the Argentines turn back. The Germans go on and disappear.

A (fictional) follow-up German aerial survey loses radio contact as it approaches the site of the city. Operation Highjump (actual event) leads to establishment of American base on continent but suffers extensive casualties. One plane lost “during a blizzard,” December 1946.

A (fictional) United Nations polar aerial survey sights evidence of German 1947 crash, sends out land party to investigate which vanishes.

A (fictional) French-Italian archeological expedition stumbles on information about the previous German expeditions and debates investigating the truth behind the reports. They decide to try but at their base three days later, they hear “a distant noise similar to an unearthly howling” that continues for several days, echoing across the icy landscape. The French decide not to pursue the reports. The Italians decide to go on and do not return.

Satellites find a massive gravitational anomaly in Wilkes Land, indicating a gigantic mass over one kilometer under the ice. (True story!)

While observing the November solar eclipse (actual event), some at (fictional) Jundo Station in Antarctica believe they see what appears to be something falling to earth in the direction of the pole. Investigators sent out from the base hear “strange sounds” and report by radio before disappearing.

Actual increasing global volcanic activity – some hypothesize it indicates subterranean movement, but what kind?

January 10 = a (fictional) Indian research vessel traveling near the epicenter of the earthquake that caused the real disastrous tsunami observes an island rise from the sea. Telescopic observation reveals the possibility of artificial structures on the island but by the time the ship reaches the location, the island has sunk back into the sea.

March 11 = A (fictional) Philippine ship off the coast of Japan sees an island rise from the sea and believes there is evidence of artificial structures on it. Again, the island sinks before it can be further investigated. Cause of Japanese tsunami.

September 30 = Vanuatu island Ambae is evacuated because of volcanic activity (true).


We want to know about the denizens and history of the City in the Ice. Is it a dwelling-place of the Old Ones? Are they still resident or have they abandoned its hoary edifices to the mercilessness of time?

Refer to the timeline. Your submission must fall somewhere therein and mention at least two previous events, whether fictional or actual. There are some other things to remember, things to avoid.

• Sexual content not inherent to the storyline. No pornography.
• Explicit description of torture or sacrifice, human or otherwise. As a plot device, there is a way to present this without resorting to splatter.
• Violence or abuse against a minor, infant to teenager.
• Overuse of profane language. People curse. But not every sentence.
• Hate language against a race, creed, or gender. Against monstrous races and gods, that’s okay.
• Quoting previously published material not in the public domain. This is a legal issue and will not be tolerated at all.

Please be advised, any stories that do not meet these guidelines will be deleted unread

• 3,000 to 10,000 words, double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font.
• First page of manuscript must contain name, mailing address, and word count.
• Email subject line to read “Story submission – [title]” and must contain a short biography (no more than 200 words), previous publications if any, word count and contact information.
• No reprints, simultaneous or multiple submissions.
• No poetry.
• Email submissions in RTF or DOC format only. Absolutely no DOCX files.

Email all submissions to with manuscript as an attachment.
Do not include the story in the body of the email.
Closing date for submissions is 30 June 2018.

Payment will be $25.00 per story, regardless of word count and will be made via PayPal whenever possible. If not, please advise upon receipt of contract as to preferred method. Direct any questions to Looking forward to seeing your work!