I’ve only read a few stories by Roberts, and interestingly this is the third with an icy setting, following his ‘The Ice Submarine’ and ‘Park Polar’.
Here Roberts puts a very ill-matched couple a couple of miles away from anyone in the Antartic, on a research station, and lets their close confinement spark off the story. There’s a lot of science in the story, as the narrator, in the opening sentences, describes how his companion, Roy, has indeed found the solution to the Fermi Paradox in the astronomical data they are studying. There’s also philosophy, with Kant’s ‘I think, therefore I am’ being a key point.
Things start to come to a head with some silliness over a letter, and then over some very strange behaviour from Roy, which opens up his colleague’s eyes to just what is out there, and what they are doing. Roberts neatly references Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ in a subtle closing section.