“When a covert mission sends Oscar, a low-ranking employee in the Bureau of Ice Prognostication, to the arctic, he must confront the perils and pains of a life lived under the veil of secrecy. Fram is an extraordinary meditation on the critical flaws in the systems we hold dear, and the human costs of those flaws. Steve Himmer writes with such uncommon intelligence and sorrow and grace, I would follow him anywhere—into the arctic and beyond.”~Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me, The Isle of Youth, and What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
“A miniature bureaucratic epic somewhere between David Foster Wallace and Jules Verne, Fram is a funny, sharp-eyed, fantastical inquiry into one of the great questions of modern life: where do we really go when we go to work?”~Will Wiles, author of The Way Inn and Care of Wooden Floors
“Steve Himmer’s Fram arrives in the garb of a DeLilloesque polyurethane shell, savvy and hilarious about the pervasiveness and hypnotic allure of artifice and Big Data, all of the signal-fizz of contemporary America. But under that lurks the pulse of naturalism, an unabashed zeal for exploration and adventure and the magnetic tug of the raw, open wilderness, and in this unique, timely, and highly-entertaining amalgam, he invents a north that is ever reinventing itself.”~Tim Horvath, author of Understories
Oscar is a minor bureaucrat in the Bureau of Ice Prognostication, a secret government agency created during the heyday of the Cold War and still operating in the present without the public’s knowledge. Tasked with inventing discoveries and settlements in the Arctic, then creating the paperwork and digital records to “prove” their existence-preventing the inconvenience and expense of actual exploration-the job is the closest Oscar has come to his boyhood dream of being a polar explorer. Fantasy becomes all too real when Oscar and his partner Alexi are sent on a secret mission to the actual Arctic, which brings them into a mysterious tangle of rival espionage that grows more dangerous the farther north they travel. The trip also allows Oscar to reconnect with his wife, Julia, from whom he’s grown alienated by years of lying about what he does for a living (a distance compounded by Julia’s own secret government job), leading both of them to discover what can be lost if we let one part of ourselves—or one part of a story—distract us from everything else the world offers.
Steve Himmer is the author of the novel The Bee-Loud Glade (2011) and editor of the web journal Necessary Fiction. His stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications including the Millions, Ploughshares, Post Road, Hobart, 3:AM Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review. He lives with his wife and daughter near Boston, Massachusetts, where he teaches at Emerson College.