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I’ve seen krill accelerate toward the maw of Team Whale, streaming bubbles, a mute shrimp battle cry.” (p.140)

In Russell’s short story, “Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules for Antarctic Tailgating,” the narrator goes into detail about these Food Chain Games in the Antarctic between whales and krill. This story is very fantastical because it takes this wild, crazy idea that made into a sports-game-esque guide in how to be prepared for and how to have a great tailgate at this much-anticipated game. Right off of the bat, the fact that one must completely say goodbye to their family, leave their job, and prepare for their own death is quite extra for a game, but in this world, that is a normal measure in preparation for the games, doing this every time before another game. It is also fantastical that the narrator travels to the Antarctic so early for the games, saying, “Honestly, for the March game I like to get down to the Ross Ice Shelf by mid-January.” (p.136) The elements around the character in this world are fantastical, too, mentioning that the “water will taste a little like movie popcorn unless you doctor it with Tang or Crystal Light lemonade. (p.138) The krill below are personified very much as the narrator and others cheer them on from above. He says, “Do they understand what they are seeing with their shrimpy compound eyes? Yes. Definitely.” (p.140)  Another silly fantastic part of the piece is that Team Whale’s costume costs so much, like when he says that “Just the fin portion costs three thousand dollars.” (p.141) The narrator eats whale meat off of hot coalsUnknown
with his teeth, which is obviously far from our normal reality, but the character’s specialty. The fact that there is traffic in the straits is an amusing fantastical detail, imagining this world where many boats are trying to get to this game in the freezing Arctic with their boats. The skua eating the kid after Team Whale had killed him is pretty gross, but fantastical as well since birds do not eat human meat. Another fantastical thing is the fact you can “lose at tailgating” because tailgating in our normal world is something that is supposed to be enjoyable, no rules, and not at all competitive, but in this world, tailgating at this specific game has many requirements to survive and is very competitive. And, lastly, the quote “Krill will surge along either side of your boat in a rosy pregame warm-up. Lots of excitement in the frozen air.” (p.144) expresses the fantastic images of krill being able to do warm-ups for their games and the krill knowing what is going on, along with such excitement in such a cold environment.

This story is written in a first-person narrative, in which our narrator tells the readers step by step advice about how to go to these games properly. This first narrative creates a sense of personal closeness to the narrator and it is used in a very charming, humorous way as the narrator discusses his own experiences traveling and going to the games. It is a very convincing voice as he expresses his personality through the way he talks about the different aspects of the game and what leads up to it. The voice adds an amazing dimension to the story that makes it work and compelling to the reader.

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