Hello, my name is M.J. Preston, I am an independent author, amateur photographer and even occasional ice trucker. I would like to welcome you to the introductory post for this blog Ice Road Musing 2016. Before I get to the meat of what this blog will be about, let me tell you a bit about how I got here in the first place.
In 2012 and 2013 I ran the ice roads, hauling twin "Super-B" tankers carrying diesel fuel from the RTL Tank Farm in Yellowknife to the Ekati Diamond Mine, which sits just below the arctic circle. The two seasons I ran the ice were a grueling seven day-a-week grind that spanned a six-week window. Each season ran from the beginning of February into mid-March and by the time it was over, trust me, I was ready for some much needed rest.
Those two seasons were also an inspiration for my second science fiction-horror novel Acadia Event, which tells the tale of alien invasion north of the 60th parallel. I could think of no other setting which to tell a story of alien invasion. The north has been the backdrop to some wonderful horror and science fiction tales. Whether it be John W Campbell's: "Who Goes there?" turned into the cult movie THE THING by John Carpenter or the graphic novel 30 Days of Night by Steven Niles and Ben Templesmith, brought to the screen by producer Sam Raimi and directed by David Slade.
Not only was the isolation and claustrophobia an intricate part of the inspiration for my novel, but there is a mystique and beauty in the north that is like no other. Whether it is the curtains of the Northern Lights twisting in unseen currents or the pastel skies that color the dawn and dusk in hues of pink, orange, blue and red. I knew this was the place. My muse (bastard that he is) kept prodding me as we beat our way up and down the ice. There were times when I felt I would explode, overwhelmed by the tsunami of ideas that seemed to wash over me. I also knew I had a unique opportunity to write a story swathed in personal experience.
After that first season I got down to work on the first draft, plugging away and developing a cast of characters with whom I would become intimate for the next two years. By my second season, my eyes and ears were attuned to everything around me. Whether the cracking ice beneath my wheels, the whispering arctic winds cutting across the open tundra or the whistling of a turbo accented by the diesel growl of a hungry engine.
Last year, I published Acadia Event and it has received some fantastic feedback. It is a book I am very proud of and it will always be my connection to the north.
Now that I will be returning to the north, I have decided to record this ice road season in what will be a three prong interactive journey.
- First of all, I am going to post a weekly blog assisted by my good friend, Jake Anfinson, who will edit the disastrous mess which I will be dictating to my computer via voice to text. I am confident that when it gets to you it won't read like reading the ramblings of a drunkard.
- Along with writing a weekly blog I will be taking plenty of photographs, which I will also share with you here on this blog.
- And finally, I am going to shoot video, which I will upload to YouTube and link back here.
It is my hope to give you a voyeuristic view of the Ice Road without all the scripted drama you'll find in a network reality show. The people you see and read about, many veteran truckers, will be brought to you in rough cut, giving you an honest outlook on the ice road season. For those of you who have read Acadia Event, this will be your opportunity to get a glimpse into the world that inspired the story. Every time a new segment of this blog is added a new button will apear at the top of this page in the menu section.
I will start this blog in Edmonton Alberta, where I will take you through some preliminary run up to the ice. When we depart for the north, I will take you along until we reach Yellowknife (YK) and then the real adventure begins.
I hope you'll join me.