“I have always been interested in Antarctica as more than just an extreme and utterly unique environment. It’s also a meeting place of people from very different cultures, where conventional notions of empire fail.”

Meet Dr Sean Williams

Dr Williams was born in the dry, flat lands of South Australia, where he (usually) still lives with his wife and family and a pet plastic fish. He is the author of 50 books for readers of all ages, over 140 short stories across numerous genres, the odd published poem, one recipe (“Big Bang Brussels Sprouts”), and even a sci-fi musical. He once modified a form of Tai Chi for sci-fi fans (Sci Chi) and also likes making up new words. He has won numerous literary awards and has written several New York Times bestsellers.

Arts Fellowship project

Australian speculative fiction author Dr Sean Williams was awarded the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship in 2016.

He travelled to Antarctica to research an alternate history novel based on the Heroic era of Antarctic exploration, depicting a meeting of heroic Antarctic expeditioners and future explorers.

“My novel will explore the encounter between a young Douglas Mawson, other famous Antarctic explorers including Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, and a survivor of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds during a delayed version of the Discovery Expedition,” Dr Williams said.

The 1901–04 British Discovery Expedition launched the Antarctic careers of many who became leading figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. The expedition was a celebrated success, even though it needed an expensive relief mission to free Discovery and its crew from the ice.

Australian Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, who hailed from Dr Williams’ home state of South Australia, led the first Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–1914 several years after the Discovery expedition.

Tragedy also struck Mawson’s expedition, with two deaths and Mawson’s remarkable survival after falling down a crevasse and making his way back to base alone.

Find Dr Sean Williams’s work

Find out more about Dr Sean William's experience in Antarctia on his Antarctic Blog.