Book Review: Fram

Fram by Steve Himmer
Available January 13, 2015
I received an ARC from the publisher.
A fantastic romp with an ending that couldn’t make sense any other way. Oscar, a bureaucrat made dry and brittle by a life of paperwork and duplicate copies, lives in his imagination. He nurtures a childhood dream of being an arctic explorer, something he vicariously fulfills by working at the U.S. Bureau of Ice Prognostication, an agency created to counter the Soviet’s Cold War threat. The agency never died, nor did Oscar’s dreams.
He spends his days living those dreams by imagining what might be discovered in the Arctic then generating the reams of paperwork to prove that these “discoveries” are real. Towns, schools, mining companies and paper mills, even hot springs are all drawn onto the vast emptiness of the ice. At home, he communes with decades of old National Geographic magazines that trumpeted the original polar explorers’ journeys.
When Oscar is sent on an actual mission to this place he has only ever dreamed about, he becomes entangled in a snarl of espionage and rival agencies. As he digs deeper into the secrets and strangeness, he discovers that the arctic expanse of his marriage has been as important an element in his life as the actual region. At the end, readers will know that there could have been no other resolution to the bizarre journey that is Oscar’s life.

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