26 Best Books About Antarctica
Read fascinating books about Antarctica before your trip. Our collection of the best non-fiction and fiction Antarctica books and novels will give you wanderlust.
Explore the adventurous history and present of this beautiful continent and learn more about how climate change affects its very existence and ours. You’ll find here fun, engaging, and inspiring novels set on Antarctica that will introduce you to a whole new side to its natural phenomena and wild animals.
However, if you prefer fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi you’ll also find here some thrilling, romantic, Young Adult, and funny reads. Because some of the best books about Antarctica are fiction books. You can learn while also going on epic journeys and explore fictional worlds set on our coolest continent.
If you’re a sucker for classics and vintage reads you’ll also find here some great Antarctica books by some of the most accomplished and popular authors who ever lived on our planet.
Fascinating Non-Fiction & Fiction Antarctica books that will give you wanderlust
26| The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe | Gothic fiction, Nautical fiction, Lost world | 1838
Poe lived a fairly short but very productive life. In his forty years, the poet was incredibly active, he sort of created modern macabre and was a leading figure of the USA romanticism.
Despite being highly regarded, he struggled a lot in his life and finished only one novel (besides the many poems and critics). This one novel brought a lot of attention to the white continent; Antarctica.
As Poe fans are used to, this novel is astonishingly odd and surreal, with strange characters and a unique style.
We follow a young adventure seeker, Arthur Gordon Pym, who boards a whaling ship going down south.
On his journey Murphy’s law is more present than one could imagine; whatever could go wrong, does, often leaving very little chance for Pym to survive.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe is a one of a kind novel about unlikely adventures and odd people. The book proved to be so captivating, it inspired a large number of authors even in the 21st century.
25| At The Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft | Horror fiction, Science Fiction, Lost world | 1936
Highly admired horror fiction author H.P. Lovecraft had a captivating imagination that brought us numerous scary but utterly entertaining books. He had and still has a large number of fans, who just cannot get enough of his weird fiction novels.
At the Mountains of Madness is the thrilling story of an expedition to Antarctica in 1930. It is told by Dr. William Dyer of the fictional University of Miskatonic.
Everything went wrong when an exploring group loses contact with the main expedition.
Upon their search, Dyer and his group find the group members all dead and one missing. The expedition is threatened by creatures that resemble the ones that are mentioned in myths. Could they be an alien life form that claims ownership over the continent?
Fun fact, it was published as a series in Astounding Stories (a science fiction magazine), because it was rejected due to its length.
At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft is unquestionably among the scariest horror fiction books set on Antarctica.
24| Land of Wondrous Cold: The Race to Discover Antarctica and Unlock the Secrets of Its Ice by Gillen Wood | Non-fiction | 2020
Antarctica is a fascinating continent with so many questions about it. How old is it, how it began to form, and plenty more to answer.
Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has collected some of the most important facts about the icy continent on the south.
He doesn’t just get deep into its history and important role in evolution but also discusses its present and future. It offers an amazing insight into the past nearly 30 million years, how species have evolved, and the significant role it plays in plate tectonics.
You can also learn about current expeditions and experiments that help us understand this beautiful place better. When it comes to the future, Wood offers a little help with what to expect and how climate change is going to affect the ice caps and us.
Land of Wondrous Cold: The Race to Discover Antarctica and Unlock the Secrets of Its Ice by Gillen Wood is definitely among the most revealing 2020 nonfiction books about Antarctica.
23| Antarctica: A Call to Action by Sebastian Copeland | Non Fiction, Photography Collection | 2008
One of the world’s top adventurers and best known environmental activists is probably Sebastian Copeland. Especially if you enjoy nature and adventure photography. He has been all around the world trying to raise awareness to our planet’s most vulnerable regions.
You can also watch some of his lectures online. When he set out to magnificent Antarctica, he felt compelled to speak up for this ecosystem as well.
His book contains plenty of data to convince readers and also stunning photos that support Copeland’s words; Antarctica is a magical place and it needs our help.
Readers who are new to the topic of preservation and how the polar’s function can learn a lot from this book. It is easy to understand and not for a moment condescending or insulting. Copeland simply wants everyone to take the matter seriously and do their part, however little it is.
Antarctica: A Call to Action by Sebastian Copeland is one of the most beautiful collection of photos about the continent while also educating readers.
22| My Last Continent by Midge Raymond | Adventure fiction, Romance novel | 2016
Love is everywhere. If something My Last Continent has taught us is that fact. No matter where you are, what you do, because love is going to find its way through the cracks and make you do things you never thought to be capable of.
Deb and Keller spend a few weeks in the frozen continent every year to study penguins. Over the years they have grown so fond of the icy plains, they consider it their true home. Even though they get to spend only a short time there during their research.
It is not just the place they feel very close to, but each other as well. Before the next deployment. Deb boards the ship without Keller but on the way to her post, a distress signal comes from a cruise liner that hit an iceberg. In the middle of the rescue, it turns out Keller is on the sinking ship as well.
My Last Continent by Midge Raymond is definitely among the most exciting romance books set on Antarctica. Besides the touching love story, readers also get a well-researched background on environmental changes.
21| The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard | Memoir, Speculative fiction, Travel literature | 1922
At the beginning of the 20th century, two explorers were racing towards the South Pole. Norwegian leader of the Antarctic exploration Roald Amundsen and his team beat British Robert Falcon Scott’s team by 34 days.
After they made it to their destination, returning was just as a difficult task as getting there. A blizzard hit the last British team and they all died of starvation or froze to death.
Apsley Cherry-Garrard was the youngest member of Scott’s team, who first wasn’t accepted by Scott. But later he proved to be determined and useful enough so he finally could join the team.
He also took part in the search for the five members who were lost. His description of the conditions and what they have been through is shocking. It is definitely going to be a memorable read for everyone.
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard offers insight into one of the most famous expeditions in history. It is surely amid the most revealing Antarctic exploration books.
20| The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander | Travel literature | 1998
Caroline Alexander possesses probably the most knowledge about the famous and demanding Antarctic expedition that took place in 1914.
She is the curator of the exhibition with the same name at the American Museum of Natural History. Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 people set out to write their names in history books.
Their goal was to cross the southernmost continent on foot. Well, it is no ordinary task, knowing how other explorers have ended up in the freezing cold.
Live through the grueling story of Shackleton’s survival with fascinating photos and illustrations that allow readers to walk with the explorer in those inhuman conditions.
The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander is surely one of the most informative Antarctic exploration books.
19| Antarctic Navigation by Elizabeth Arthur | Adventure fiction | 1995
Inspired by Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic expedition, Elizabeth Arthur has written one of the best Antarctica exploration fiction books. Antarctic Navigation has a strong female lead, who follows her extraordinary dreams.
We are going back eighty years before Scott has first set foot on the icy continent.
Morgan Lamont is unstoppable when it comes to realizing her dream of exploring Antarctica.
The book is fairly long, nearly 800 pages, which means Elizabeth Arthur has covered everything to make this story whole.
You are going to get to know Morgan Lamont, what her passion was ignited by, the world, and of course, the journey through to the South Pole.
Antarctic Navigation by Elizabeth Arthur is definitely amid the most remarkable historic fiction books set on Antarctica.
18| The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick | Psychological Fiction, Romance novel | 2016
Helen Sedgwick debuted with a really special book that without a doubt is going to first break then heal every reader’s heart.
This charming and eventful story of two lovers whose every moment in their lives lead to the research station on Antarctica.
The story is about Róisín, an Irish astrophysicist, who is fascinated by the stars and what the sky may behold and the passionate French chef Francois. They meet to find love at one of the most unlikely places on Earth.
The story teaches its readers, how significant our past is, how much we can learn from it. It also serves as a great example of how much better our lives can be if don’t try to forget, but use our experiences.
The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick is a captivating book, surely the best in the magical realism books partly set on Antarctica.
17| South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby | Psychological Fiction, Humorous Fiction | 2017
South Pole Station was highly praised by critics (won multiple awards) upon its publishing. It was named the best humorous fiction of the year and it surely didn’t disappoint readers either, although we think it is a little underappreciated.
Cooper Gosling finds out that she would make a great survivor on the south pole. Since she has nothing much to be enthusiastic about in her life she makes an easy decision.
Moving to Antarctica with the support of the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program she meets a group of misfits and odd people. Cooper soon realizes that she has found a new home but fitting into a group of misfits doesn’t come easy.
Ashley Shelby has a great sense of humor and writing style, which makes South Pole Station one of the most hilarious Antarctica fiction books.
16| The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier | Psychological Fiction, Fantasy Fiction | 2006
We have already included Brockmeier’s imaginative book in our collection of best fantasy audiobooks list. However, The Brief History of the Dead definitely deserves a spot on this list as well.
The book is very thought-provoking and exciting throughout with some mysteries that make you scared for the souls that occupy The City. What happens to the dead who are forgotten?
In the meanwhile, Laura has to find a way to survive in a research station in the middle of freezing Antarctica. There is no power and there is only one way for her to make it alive; she has to embark on a journey through terrible conditions. It is a struggle of life and death, does she have what it takes to find help?
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier is a very exciting and emotional book with plenty to learn from it about how we deal with the loss of someone and our memories. It is surely among the most remarkable fantasy books set on Antarctica.
15| Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke | Science Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy Fiction | 2015
Widely beloved YA fiction author Cassandra Rose Clarke has moved towards science fiction for adults lately and it proved to be an amazing idea.
She has a very good sense of creating unique characters and fogging the plot with mysteries. This time she takes us to Hope City in Antarctica, where life is controlled by a gang. Well, at least their food supply during winter, which is power in the coldest city on Earth.
Hope is protected by a large glass dome to make conditions closer to survivable. Not only humans inhabit the city, but there are also androids as well.
Life is about to change drastically under the dome, some fractions are not satisfied with their options. We follow four completely different individuals, whose motivation couldn’t be more contrasting.
Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke is hands down among the best YA science fiction books set on Antarctica.
14| Icy Passage by Ann Gimpel | Romance novel, Thriller | 2015
USA Today bestselling author Ann Gimpel has created something very remarkable considering her talents are rather in fantasy.
Icy passage is actually a superb mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which makes it great for lovers of both genres. As Gimpel fans might expect, there is a strong romance in the story, which will certainly make everyone’s heart pound faster.
If you enjoy paranormal abilities, romance, and action, then you are going to love this book.
Dr. Kayna Quan decides to go on an adventure in Antarctica as a medical officer on a Russian research ship. There she gets into some real adventures and meets an irresistible scientist.
Icy Passage by Ann Gimpel is one of the most exciting paranormal fantasy romance Antarctica exploration books.
13| Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica (Terra incognita) by Sara Wheeler | Non-fiction, Travel literature | 1996
Have to admit, if we had to hike through the cold continent tomorrow, we would have some reservations. Still, thanks to Sara Wheeler we get to take a look at this dangerous but beautiful place from another perspective.
She has spent seven months there, with passionate scientists and environmentalists, who could tell a story or two about the beauty of Antarctica.
Prior to picking this book up, we were convinced the southernmost corner of the world is mesmerizing and now we got confirmation on that.
You are going to read and see the best of this white land and its inhabitants.
Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler is certainly the most delightful of all books about Antarctica.
12| Pym Novel by Mat Johnson | Fantasy Fiction | 2011
Out of admiration of Poe’s only finished novel and a great idea Mat Johnson created something amazing.
Poe’s stunningly odd novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket served as an inspiration for him to write Jaynes’ adventures.
When he doesn’t get tenure, he decides to go as far away as one can get, and he manages to do so.
With his companions, all black, they get into adventures that surely going to make you think (twice) about doing the same.
Mat Johnson has a fascinating sense of humor, style, and satirical wit.
He doesn’t let anyone get away, all demographics get a piece of him, be it race or politics, even religion.
If you are looking for laugh-out-loud Antarctica fiction books, you should definitely pick Pym up.
11| Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica by Fen Montaigne | Travel literature | 2010
We don’t think there is a more widely beloved creature on Earth than penguins. They are adorable and have some pretty neat qualities, which make them even more likable.
Environment protector, lover and enthusiast writer Fen Montaigne felt it important to bring these adorable creatures’ dramatic fate to our attention.
He has collected all the facts that make understanding the issue easier for everyone. Bill Fraser has been doing research at the western Antarctic Peninsula for over three decades and more specifically Adélie penguins.
Their habitat is in danger, irreversible damage has been done, it is warming rapidly and there is very little time left to act.
Montaigne aims to find a way to make changes as rapidly as possible, so we can save species like these adorable penguins and even humanity.
While the book is from 2010 it is still a very relevant issue if not even more than it was ten years ago.
Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica by Fen Montaigne is an eye-opening book about Antarctica and its future.
10| ICE (Dr. Leah Andrews and Jack Hobson Thrillers #1) by Kevin Tinto | thriller | 2015
We get to know a smart and unstoppable archaeologist in Dr. Leah Andrews, who unearths some secrets that will change the world.
When she opens up a Native American passageway, she finds rare crystals, that can only be found in the icecaps of a mountain chain in central Antarctica.
To figure out how and why Native Americans got into their possession, she has to go to the south pole herself. The only person who would be able to guide her there is her husband, whom she hasn’t spoken to for a while.
The adventures begin, but because these crystals are in the interest of others as well, they have to hurry and be careful.
ICE by Kevin Tinto is definitely a great adventure thriller, one of the most exhilarating books set on Antarctica.
9| Sun at Midnight by Rosie Thomas | Fiction Romance novel | 2004
If you are looking for lighter reads, that are not necessarily going to more than simply entertain you, then you should pick up Sun at Midnight.
Every person is in need of a little warmth in their heart and Rosie Thomas has written a story, which helps readers gather themselves after a breakup.
Alice said yes to an invitation to perform research in Antarctica following a heartbreak. She just wanted to get away as far from Oxford as possible.
Well, there is no further than the south pole, where only a few people get to set their foot on.
Upon arriving at the research station, she finds herself crammed in a small place with eight-man and another woman. As hard as it is at the beginning, strong feelings are ignited as she gets to know James.
Sun at Midnight by Rosie Thomas is among the most entertaining romance fiction books set in Antarctica.
8| The Final Warning (Maximum Ride #4) by James Patterson | YA Science Fiction Adventure fiction | 2008
Everyone is familiar with James Patterson’s works, because he is the most productive authors out there. If there is a topic or premise you have in mind, probably Patterson has done it at least once.
He is a great writer in almost all genres, but probably his YA fantasies are the most exciting.
Maximum Ride’s adventures have already captivated millions of readers and the fourth book of the series takes us to a faraway and cold land; Antarctica.
She is able to fly due to a government experiment. She is out there to support a group of scientists, who study the causes of global warming. Max has friends with similar abilities, and someone is after them. Can she survive in such impossible conditions?
If you’re a writer or the kind of bookworm who loves to learn more about writing and hear more about the process of their favorite authors you should check out James Patterson’s writing Masterclass.
The Final Warning by James Patterson is without a doubt among the most thrilling YA fiction Antarctic research books.
7| Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica by Jesse Blackadder | Historical Fiction | 2013
Nearly a decade ago nations were trying to put their hands on the Antarctic sea as it was the best whaling territory.
While many were preoccupied with that, a Norwegian whaler giant is set to take her wife to the icy continent to be the first woman stepping on the white land.
There are another two women, one of them wouldn’t be here if her husband didn’t pass away.
All three of them are on the ship with a different motivation but may write history together.
The journey is demanding, but are they over the worst part yet?
It is a superb story of three women with completely different backgrounds and personalities.
Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica by Jesse Blackadder is a fascinating historical fiction book about Antarctica and the first few women who ever visited.
6| Atmospheric Research in Antarctica: Present Status and Thrust Areas in Climate Change by Neloy Khare | Non Fiction | 2019
It is one of the latest, therefore the most up to date book published about geomagnetism and aeronomy, middle atmospheric studies, and global and climate change studies.
Naturally, it is not a children’s read, you are going to find hard facts and research results. If you can handle science, then it can be a pretty interesting and revealing book.
You are going to learn a lot about the current levels of pollution and what impact it has.
Since the first research station was built, humanity worked hard to gain a better understanding of what the atmosphere is exactly like in Antarctica. Now we get some answers even to questions probably not everyone thought of asking.
Atmospheric Research in Antarctica: Present Status and Thrust Areas in Climate Change by Neloy Khare is the most thorough, recently published research books about Antarctica.
5| Scott and Amundsen: The Race to the South Pole by Roland Huntford | Biography | 2010
If you are looking for books on Antarctica and its two most famous explorers, then you should read Scott and Amundsen’s race for the South Pole.
British author and polar exploration fanatic Roland Huntford published a revealing book about the race to Antarctica to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic events.
Norwegian Roald Amundsen and British Robert Falcon Scott were determined to be the first people at the south pole.
It required a probing journey that only a few would survive and as it turns out, only a few did. It wasn’t just the race between two explorers; they were convinced that victory would show their home nation’s strength too.
Here, you can read both of the explorers’ unedited diaries to see for yourself in what inhuman conditions they had to overcome.
Scott and Amundsen: The Race to the South Pole by Roland Huntford is a fascinating book that shows the truth about the 20th century’s biggest exploration.
4| The Home of the Blizzard by Douglas Mawson | Biography | 1915
To show how widely popular Antarctica was at the beginning of the 20th century, here are the memoirs of an Australian explorer; Douglas Mawson’s. During his time in the permafrost, he has seen beauty, death, and endured conditions that aren’t meant for humans.
His diary is incredibly interesting, he talks a lot about his feelings and goes into the scientific parts as well. In the book, you can also find original photographs of wildlife and the three explorers, two of whom passed away during the journey.
Douglas Mawson was a very important figure in geology, science, and conservation, he was way ahead of his time.
The Home of the Blizzard by Douglas Mawson is one of the most thrilling and adventurous books on Antarctica and its exploration.
3| Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson | Science Fiction, Adventure fiction | 1997
Admired sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson has a passion for the coldest continent on Earth and he finally got to build a world on it in 1997.
Antarctica is not one of your typical science fiction books, there is some technology that would surprise people twenty years later, however, it is not focusing on that.
The plot actually is pretty slow, you may be wondering how can someone write 300 pages with nothing really happening. Still, it is remarkable how interesting the writing is, you are going to be addicted to this book after twenty pages.
The book strongly focuses on eco-terrorism as Wade Norton is sent to Antarctica to investigate an alleged environmental sabotage.
He comes across a group, who call themselves ecoteurs, who are planning an attack against humans to finally rid the continent from them.
Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson is a one of kind sci-fi book that will become one of your new favorites, even if you are not a science fiction fan. It is one of the few fiction novels about Antarctica that will make you want to live more consciously to preserve nature.
2| Born to Ice by Paul Nicklen | Non Fiction, Photography collections | 2018
Paul Nicklen’s name may be familiar from National Geographic (photographer) or because of his TED Talk as he is actively prompting people to be more conscious.
He is a well-known ocean conservationist and now he wants to focus on the polar regions. You can learn a lot about both poles, through mesmerizing photos and powerful words that will make you feel like walking on the crunchy frozen snow.
You are going to be swept off your feet by the beauty of Antarctica and the Arctic and their inhabitants. It is a great book that would make a fantastic present for all nature lovers because it is just as meaningful as eye-catching.
You may also find it interesting that the foreword was written by actor and environmentalist Leonardo Dicaprio.
Born to Ice by Paul Nicklen is one of the most remarkable photo collection books on Antarctica and the Arctic.
1| An Antarctic Mystery by Jules Verne | Adventure fiction | 1897
French novelist Jules Verne is unquestionably the father of the modern adventure fiction genre.
He has written some of the most remarkable stories, that have and definitely will conquer the world for centuries to come.
He was one of the many fans of Poe’s only novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and Antarctic Mystery is actually a sequel to Poe’s novel.
Well, it turned out so great, everyone was obsessed with the two-volume novel. A year after its publication in 1897 it was translated to English and swept the world.
It is narrated by the wealthy American adventurer Jeorling, who plans to return to the USA from the Kerguelen Islands. On his way, he crosses paths with odd people, gets into unlikely adventures, and of course, mysteries await to be solved.
An Antarctic Mystery: Large Print by Jules Verne is surely the best of all Antarctica fiction books as it is full of surprises and keeps its readers on the edge of their seats.
Thank you for reading!