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Book Review: John W Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” aka “The THING”

The Thing

Just found this novella a few weeks ago and was thrilled to get another chance to read it. I’d read it once before many years ago, but I had thought it lost and was delighted to find it was simply among my books in storage.

Mr. Campbell did a wonderful job of creating a terrifying science fiction tale of isolation and the old ’10 Little Indians’ theme. In the lonely antarctic, a team of researchers are slowly realizing that the remains they brought in from a wrecked spaceship they’d found in the ice is still alive. Even more alarming is the fact that it can infect and duplicate any life form, by entering the victim’s body and replacing every cell in that target body, allowing it to devour and become that person/animal.

The rest of the humans must find a way to figure out who’s been taken over and what this ‘thing’ wants, before any migrating birds come to stay at the base and move on to other parts of the world.

John Carpenter’s version of this story “The Thing” is very close to Mr. Campbell’s actual story, but liberties were taken and the novelette is still worth reading. I highly recommend anyone who is a fan of science fiction and mystery to check out this spine-tingling tale.

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