The chapters that became Working North are stories either told to me by trusted fellow workers or I personally experienced working in the Canadian and American arctic. As a welder and a boilermaker, I worked on drill rigs, radar sites, and pipelines all the way from Cape Dyer on Baffin Island in the east, then along a line roughly parallel to the Arctic Circle west to Prudhoe Bay Alaska.
These are a sampling of the stories in Working North:
I really did shoot a Polar Bear. But he was trying to eat me. And after he tried to kill two other workers; and after he smashed a window and broke into the offices; and after we fought him off for three days. The only thing that saved my ass was two huskies who battled the bear as he tried to attack me.
I have never watched the entire movie Titanic, and I never will. Because I actually was on a ship in the Beaufort Sea that struck an ice-floe and was sinking. To re-live that experience even vicariously, is something I never want to repeat. Write about it, maybe.
I climbed all over a ghost ship. An abandoned freighter that was high and dry on a beach one day and disappeared into the fog and wind the next.
These are just three of the stories I came back home with. I’m under no illusion that my writings are great literature, but these are really great stories. Enough that Working North DEW Line to Drill Ship won the award for The Best First Book By a Manitoba Author when it was issued.
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“Ranson skilfully recreates his northern experience in strong; crisp stories that are humorous; quirky and unique.
Working North makes it clear why Ranson was moved to “pity the southerner who has never seen an arctic sun skipping along the earth gathering all the colours of the prism and turning the land a warm purple.” Working North is an engaging and entertaining read for inexperienced southerners and northern travellers alike.
See the North as few have seen it — through the eyes of author Rick Ranson as he worked on the DEW Line and drill ships in the Arctic. In ‘Working North’, the characters, landscapes, and perils of the North combine with its beauty and mystery to make rich, fascinating tales.”