15

I think this was the final story in a collection of short stories, or possibly formed a coda to a longer single story.

A man is trying to cross a large ice range, based on stories of what might be on the other side. Others had tried and failed, died, or never returned. Many people believe there is nothing on the other side, or perhaps that the ice goes on forever. He sets off at a certain time of year - presumably the warmest/when the ice is at it's lowest. His journey is a gamble, as he doesn't know how far he will have to go or if there is even anything on the other side. The season begins to turn and the temperature drops, and he is cut off from retreating. Eventually he makes it over the ice range and there are indeed green lands and people on the other side.

The world it was set on may have been flat, or perhaps somehow ringed with ice - or it may simply have been that this land was cut off somehow.

The tech level was not advanced, though I do not believe it was a particularly fantastical setting. Low fantasy perhaps.

I read this a long time ago - perhaps 15-20 years, and I'm afraid I have no idea where.

2
  • 3
    The 2007 book en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_the_Gap by Harry Turtledove has some similarities to what you you are describing. I.e. 'light' fantasy, low-tech, explorers crossing what has until then been an inaccessible land blocked off by an ice range, etc. It is also about the right time range being 14 years ago. It is not really a collection of short stories. But, there are several narrative threads and overlapping plot lines which could seem like a series of short stories.
    – beichst
    Jun 2 at 18:14
  • It wasn't so involved a story as this - I remember that it ended mysteriously, with his arrival on the other side but little or nothing else. That said, what you've described is definitely similar in nature, so I will see if there were perhaps any short stories from the author that were perhaps exploring the idea or a prequel of sorts. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Will
    Jun 2 at 22:21
8

Your story closely resembles Arthur C. Clarke's The Wall of Darkness (1949).

In that story, among the ices of the South lies a Wall, created in one night from a fog of magic in ages long forgotten. If we replace "Wall" for "ice range" in your question, the match is almost perfect:

  • A man is trying to cross a large ice range, based on stories of what might be on the other side. Others had tried and failed, died, or never returned. Many people believe there is nothing on the other side, or perhaps that the ice goes on forever. He sets off at a certain time of year - presumably the warmest/when the ice is at it's lowest.

All correct. As said above, the planet has a very cold, inhospitable south pole, and there rises the Wall. What lies on its far side, nobody knows, and no one came back to tell.

  • His journey is a gamble, as he doesn't know how far he will have to go or if there is even anything on the other side. The season begins to turn and the temperature drops, and he is cut off from retreating.

This, too (actually, he doesn't consider retreating).

  • Eventually he makes it over the ice range and there are indeed green lands and people on the other side.

(This does not check - I misremembered. As @JRE points out, he sets out from a cold, mountainous region, and arrives at a cold, mountainous region).

  • The world it was set on may have been flat, or perhaps somehow ringed with ice - or it may simply have been that this land was cut off somehow.

All three check. Which happens because

the world is actually shaped as a Moebius strip, and now Shervane is the only man in the world understanding that the Wall has only one side. Crossing the Wall brought him back to the point whence he had started.

1
  • 4
    Shervane's trip across the wall of darkness doesn't take long. His friend (who designed and managed the building of the tower) waited for Shervane at the last platform below the level at the top of the wall. The workers stayed and waited as well. Minutes, hours at the most. No time to retreat to the North. Also, no green lands when Shervane comes back. The wall is in a cold, mountainous area where Shervane's tower was built. He comes back to the same cold, dark, mountainous region he left.
    – JRE
    Jun 4 at 11:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.