"The windswept grasslands, the freezing deserts, the dew-spangled forests of Antarctica constitute the greatest mystery on Earth. Longest-isolated, strangest in culture, latest discovered by the foolish and arrogant powers of Europe, the great Polar Continent crowns the imaginations, and the nightmares, of half the world."
"The sicaripod (top right), known from circuses and zoological gardens, is the most famous of Antarctica's predators. Though a marsupial, the sicaripod is only distantly related to the kangaroos of Australia, having evolved bipedal saltorism convergently as an energy-saving strategy on the chill plains of its homeland. Strange as it may seem, these intelligent, vicious carnivores have been domesticated by the Tsalal people into pets, similar to dogs. Dogs, however, are not known to steal and eat their masters' children with quite the regularity of the sicaripod."
"Spoken of only in whispers and police reports, the shupa (top left), is a slow moving, parasitic relative of the sicaripod. Its saliva, full of narcotics, anesthetics, and coagulants, is prized by doctors for medicine, and junkies for recreation. Rumors of even more perverse uses of this animal have yet to be confirmed."
"Another paradoxical domesticate indicates perhaps the paucity of mild-mannered carnivores on the harsh southern continent. Called "devils," these little marsupials are superb exterminators of vermin. Unfortunately they also have a tendency to swarm, and in this state their dangerous nature cannot be exaggerated."
"The hive monkey (center) is a staple of Antacrican agriculture, for it is the labor of these social little primates that makes collection of wingseeds possible. The Northern world has been eager to adopt hive monkey labor, to the point where they have become something of a pest in North America and Eurasia, supplanting native racoons, squirrels, and monkeys. Non-Antarctica have been less enthusiastic adopters of large, hairless "concubine" monkeys."
"So-called mothbeasts (lower left), more properly pyrotheres, take the place in Antarctica of the cattle, yaks, and buffalo of the Northern Hemisphere. Strong, hardy, catholic in diet, these creatures still form the backbone of many Tsalal, Yag, and Leng industries. Their trunks, tightly-coiled for heat-retention, whiskers, and large eyes lend these creatures their name in Northern languages."
"Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of Antarctica's megafauna is its giant ground-sloths, and even more impressive are the men and women who ride them. Across the desert of Leng and the Ptarh highlands, nomadic tribes may spend their entire lives on these huge, shaggy creatures. Their skills at rocketry, honed for millenia, are formidable."