The title given the clue to this rather strange story within a story, as recounted by Peter Benton, reporter for a Toronto paper, on assignment to a far frontier of the Arctic reaches. Peter, who fell in line with others in making fun of an ancient and half mad alcoholic in a bar, suddenly saw through to the tragedy of the man himself- and turned defender. With a young woman, Mary, who took care of him when things got too tense, Peter was eventually the old man's Good Samaritan -- and as a result heard the strangest tale of his not unadventurous life. For Shepherd's later years were dominated by an almost obsessive determination to make man see that civilization was doomed- as it had been doomed ago- ""the time before this"". And with the passion of his desire to make himself believed he tells his story of the discovery of an ice mountain, of a strange skin-armored race of men, dead in their tracks from some unknown ray, immobilized (as were the inhabitants of Pom). In the course of their duties- within a giant refrigerator. Here science had progressed far beyond today's known reaches; here food in vast quantities for a non-existent ""human"" race was maintained in the greatest of deep freezes; here solar ray power activated the operation of elevators, shelves, etc., while human motion gave the orders. All this- gone and, before he could tell Peter how to find it for himself, the old man died. Oddly, horrifying convincing, as one reads. And the lesson there for mankind today.