The Ice Schooner

by Michael Moorcock
Reviewed date: 2005 Jan 10
Rating: 2
267 pages
cover art

It is a new ice age, and Konrad Arflane commands the ice ship Ice Spirit on a journey to the fabled city of New York. Arflane, through personal incompetence and bad luck, manages to nearly crash his ship and lose his crew several times before actually crashing his ship and losing his crew. But he finally makes it to New York, where he discovers not the Ice Queen of his primitive superstitious beliefs, but a technologically advanced society of scientists living in a hidden underground habitat.

This book feels like a cross between Robert Silverberg's Time of the Great Freeze and Alan Dean Foster's Icerigger. To be fair, The Ice Schooner was written before Icerigger, but Icerigger is still the better story. For example: the ice ships in Alan Dean Foster's novel are at least believable; Moorcock's ice ships sound exactly like regular sea-going ships with runners bolted to them, and his sailing vocabulary (what little there is) is entirely nautical in origin. Excuse me, but did it ever occur to anyone that a ship designed for the sea is not ideally suited for gliding on ice? It occurred to Alan Dean Foster but not, apparently, to Michael Moorcock.

The Ice Schooner rates only a two out of five.

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