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September 2013

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Do the Right Thing!

I've been curious about this story for years, being a big fan of the 1982 John Carpenter film, THE THING, which was based on this novella, as was the 1951 Howard Hawk's version, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.

Basically, the story of John W. Campbell's WHO GOES THERE? revolves around an isolated outpost in Antarctica, where an alien vessel is discovered, as well as a frozen creature, which, once thawed out, has the ability to mimic cells and transform itself into whatever life form it comes in contact with. Once it is determined that the creature has the ability to turn into a man (complete with memories), the desperate men struggle to stop it before they themselves are absorbed and the creature can reach civilization and destroy us all!

Though some of the passages were a little unclear at times (probably due to the writing style of the time in 1938), I found the story to be quite enGROSSing (get it?
;-) and I was pleased to find that the core elements were actually used in Carpenter's film version, which was much more similar to this story than the Hawk's attempt aka James Arness as a giant carrot. Many of the character names were used in Carpenter's version (although their portrayal was different) but classic scenes like the Thing amongst the huskies, the blood tests, a character turning into a madman and having to be kept in isolation, the desolation of Antarctica, the growing paranoia amongst the  personnel, it's all here folks!

This novella is definitely more subtle than the visceral Carpenter film, and at times I had to re-read lines to clarify that a character had indeed been "outed" as "the thing." But the tension was definitely there and it had a nice 50s sci-fi pulp feel to it which I rather enjoyed.

So do the right THING and read this story! Get it here.


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