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Who Goes There? (Filmed as The Thing) Kindle Edition
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The "Base Under Sage" theme is one of the best of its type. An isolated frozen base, a limited crew, and restricted contact bring out the awfulness of the "Alien Within" threat, and the race against time picks up speed with each few pages. Spring is coming...can they defeat something that is so otherwordly, so against their understanding of Earthly biology? And is Spring the only thing they have to worry about? You may notice more than a few parallels with the ALIEN film, or perhaps if you are a true student of film, HORROR EXPRESS. Rest assured this is the original and I couldn't put it down. This is one of the few times where I caught myself reading faster and faster to see what was on the next page.
If I could, I would award extra stars for Campbell's use of "hard" science and atmosphere. You can smell the copper wires and hear the beep of machinery as you feel the cold creeping in through your shelter. The humans' machinery all exists and the alien technology is based on hard-nosed speculation with an icy eye to math and physics. Your IQ will not be in the least insulted in reading this book...nor will your inner psychologist fail to delight in the constant definitions of "I" and "me."
None of the 3 movies follow this novella closely throughout. But they all use a substantial part of the story. The third movie is a prequel of the second movie.
If you took the first part of the first movie and the middle part of the second movie and combined them, the story would be very similar to the novella by John Campbell.
This story starts with an alien creature having been brought back to base in Antarctica. MacReady then tells the story of how the alien was discovered and brought back. This part is incorporated into the first 'The Thing' movie from the 1950's. In the original movie, the alien is sort of an alien vegetable. Once the ice block melts and the alien escapes, the novella resembles a good part of what happens in the second movie. The crew knows that an alien life form has taken control of some of the living beings on base (humans and dogs). They devise a test in which to decipher who is an alien and who is still human. This testing phase takes up a good part of the novella. It becomes involved and often confusing. In the 1940's, many of the stories incorporated real science into the stories. Today this is pretty much considered 'hard' science fiction. Back then, I don't believe the term existed. They come to the conclusion that the alien is not necessarily malevolent. It is just trying to survive like any other creature. They attempt to stay in groups at all times because they don't believe the alien wants to give itself away. They also know that the alien creature(s) are just imitating life forms and probably can't be killed like humans or dogs because they wouldn't bleed the same. They are merely imitating earth life forms in order to stay hidden.
From here, they have to figure out how to survive the winter with no communications and nobody coming to base anytime soon and also how to prevent the alien was getting loose in the world or mankind could be eliminated. The ending is different than in any of the movies. Remember this is the 1940's when happy endings were the norm. Also, John Campbell, the editor, was known to insist on earthlings winning wars with aliens.
Also included is a script written by William Nolan. This script was either not used or changed substantially from the produced movies.
Overall, I give this 4 stars. It's rather short but gives you the extra script and an introduction. Not the best value at $15.95 at the time of this review. If it were priced lower I'd give it 5 stars.
I've always liked this movie. Having now read John Campbell's original story, I can say it is, in spite of some archaic prose, creepier than the movie. For me, anyway. Remembering when this novella was written, I was surprised at some of the references. The only drawback is that the story is too short! If you are a fan of classic horror, written or filmed, give this a try. I'll be sampling more of Mr. Campbell's work as soon as I can.
They want to thaw out the alien to do some research and shortly thereafter realize they have opened Pandora's Box. The creature is alive and could quickly mimic and turn all life on the earth into its own race. The scientists panic and while trying to make sure that the creature, or any of its creations, does not escape they begin to distrust everyone. A great quote from the book is, "We've got monsters, madmen and murderers. Any more `M'S' you can think of...?
If you like Sci-Fi and liked the movies of "The Thing" you have to read this. The story is more in line with the movie created by John Carpenter. You will not be able to stop reading it and you will certainly enjoy it. Several reviews talk about poor formatting but this version had very few problems and I enjoyed it immensely. I recommend it to you as a scary read!