In 1938 John W.
Campbell Jr. writes the short story "Who Goes There?" In 1951
Howard Hawks brings the short story to film with his interpretation
"The Thing From Another World", directed by Christian Nyby. In 1981 screenwriter Bill
Lancaster returns to "Who Goes There?" and writes a script based
on the short story for a movie version of Campbell's original novella.
Alan Dean Foster writes a novelization of Lancaster's script and in
December 1981 John Carpenter starts to shoot his film, THE THING, released
in June of 1982. 15 years later in 1997 Anne Billson writes a British Film Institute
book covering Carpenter's classic giving it extremely high praise.
Who Goes There? - by John W.
Edward Knowlton contacted us with this
fascinating piece of information about John W. Campbell's views on the
"I found this at the heritage auction for the
2012 October 3-5th rare books sales. I found it interesting because I always
wondered if John W. Campbell, Jr. ever had reservations about the original movie
The Thing From Another World (1952) and it being a vegetable creature.
Tturns out he did, very interesting to read thoughts back then. I lost the bid for the
book, it went for thousands (way out of my league) but kept this info and
John W. Campbell, Jr. Who Goes There? Chicago: Shasta, . Second edition.
Superb inscription to Earl Korshak.
John W. Campbell, Jr. Who Goes There? Seven Tales of Science-Fiction. Chicago:
Shasta Publishers, . Second edition. Presentation copy, with a superb
inscription to Earl Korshak. Octavo. [viii], , [1, blank] pages.
Publisher's beige cloth, spine lettered in green, dust jacket. Jacket spine a
bit sunned, and with some minor rubbing and soiling to jacket. Still, a bright,
fine copy. This edition was issued to coincide with the release of the classic
1951 science fiction film, The Thing, directed by Christian Nyby (there is
mention of the film on the front panel of the jacket).
The book is inscribed to "first fan" Earl Korshak, who was an editor for Shasta
Publishers. The inscription mentions the film version of the monster, and
indicates a bit of dissatisfaction with its "vegetable characteristics" in
Howard hawks first motion picture of 'The Thing From Another World'. This was
the first edition of the second printing featuring the motion picture tie-in and
cover art. Inscription:
To Earl Korshak -
Preface To The Second Edition:-
Although The Mysterious Murderous Monster, Movie wise may manifest many
vegetable characteristics, the original, herein described, remains more
Like the vegetable THING, however, we mutually hope This original may also spawn
many, many copies of itself!
John W Campbell
You can read the complete 1938 novella
"Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell here. There has
also been much speculation that Campbell's
novella was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's 1931 short story "At the
Mountains of Madness".
Tobias Kessler sent us
this scan of the cover of the German edition of 'Who Goes There?'
Barlowe's Guide To
Here are a couple
of pages from "Barlowe's Guide To Extra-Terrestrials"
featuring the alien found in John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes
There?" You can also view the cover of this book in the
Outpost #31 Collection & Archive
huge thanks to David Williams for donating this book to the Collection
The Thing - Novelization by Alan Dean
Alan Dean Foster has
contacted Outpost #31 and offered to sign copies of The Thing novelization
(or any of his books) for fans. He simply asks that the novel to be signed be sent to him with the appropriate return SASE and he will gladly sign it and ensure that it is returned.
More info is available on his website here: www.alandeanfoster.com
The address is:
P.O. Box 12757
U.S. 1st Printing
French copy of the novelization, a rare find indeed.
Italian version of the novel.
Tobias Kessler has sent us these scans of (L-R) the front and back covers of the
1982 German edition of Alan Dean Foster's novelisation of The Thing and the
front cover of the 1990 edition.
István Feher has sent
us these remarkable scans of the sleeve of the Hungarian novelisation of The
Thing, together with these details:
Publisher: Valhalla Páholy Kft.
Hungarian translation: Zsolt Szántai
Cover art by famous hungarian fantasy artists Zoltán Boros and Gábor Szikszai (http://www.boros-szikszai.com/home/ )
A review of the Alan Dean Foster
by Eric Slyter
As far as I'm concerned, the novelization is a must-have for any fan of "The Thing". While
basically an embellishment of Bill Lancaster's script, it is still an excellent piece of dramatic
Without risking giving away too many details, there are several scenes that appear in the
book that do not make it into the movie. Some of these scenes, such as some with Blair, give
insight as to the biology and nature of the Thing, and it seems shameful that they didn't get
used in the movie to better explain how and why some events were happening. Other unused
scenes could've been used to increase the tension and drama, and still others were some
flat-out action sequences that would've been stellar had they made it into the movie (such as
the ending). The unused scenes, together, paint a more complete picture of the men and the
monster, and even go so far as to answer some of those burning questions that Thing fans
often find themselves asking after they've seen the movie.
One very notable difference is the portrayal of the individual characters. In the movie,
MacReady is quickly and strongly established as the unspoken "leader" of the team from
the beginning, even though Garry is actually the team leader. This is not so in the book. All of
the characters are established fairly evenly, including MacReady. There is more tension this
way, as there is no "hero" to immediately cheer for. The idea of Mac being a "thing" in the
movie seems kind of preposterous, since he's spent the entire movie being the hero up to the
point wherein he's accused. While MacReady is a very enjoyable character, it's not a very
believable plot twist. In the book, there is much more uncertainty about who is and who isn't a
"thing", and this could've been applied to the movie with stunning effect. Lastly, a minor
difference but one that most people seem to comment on, the character of "Windows" is
known as "Saunders" in the book (and further known as "Sanchez" in the script).
This is not to say that I'm down on the movie in any way-- I still enjoy it immensely. However,
I do have to wonder if it could've been even better had Carpenter adhered more closely to the
script on which the novelization was based. Why he didn't is anybody's guess...
vision? Movie budget? Available technology? Who knows...
At any rate, this book is a thoroughly compelling read. I've read some of Foster's other
movie novelizations, and it is no wonder to me why he's a popular choice for doing so many of
them. Even if you've seen "The Thing" a dozen times (or more), his novelization will remain
entertaining and insightful.
The Thing - British Film Institute Review by
DARK WINTER by William Dietrich
is a murder/mystery novel by William Dietrich. It is set at the Amundsen-Scott
Station in Antarctica where 26 inhabitants are isolated for a
"winter-over". Cut off at the South Pole during the
permanent darkness of winter, the station's team members are mysteriously murdered one by
one. The mistrust and paranoia runs high, compounded by the isolation,
dark, and the cold claustrophobia of the Antarctic winter.
is an obvious fan of The Thing, mentioning the film several times
in his book. Throughout the story there are numerous parallels and tributes
to the film. One of the characters,
under suspicion, is banished to an outside building, "for his own good."
More than a few times in Dietrich's novel a person spookily calls out,
"Who's there?" echoing Fuchs in the film. Another
character yells, "Let's rush him!", while the climax builds in the dark shadows of the generator
room. A massive explosion marks the story's grand finale. Then the
darkness of winter....
There is even an exterior
cabin converted into a recreational getaway. Like MacReady's shack it
is set-up into a "penthouse pad of pleasure" complete with
tropical destination travel posters. The main character is named Jed,
which was the name of the Alaskan malamute that played the Norwegian dog
in The Thing. And the
list goes on...
reading for all fans of The Thing!!
Excerpts from the novel Dark Winter
Page 22: The plan after the
meal, he was told, was to watch The Thing, a perennial polar
"It is this American movie about an outer
space being infecting the bodies of polar scientists and killing them, one
by one," Molotov summarized with relish. "It is very funny. They
fight back with guns and flame throwers. Boom! Boom! Yet this" - he
held up a butter knife- "is as wicked as it gets at the real
Pole." He laughed. "Everywhere else in life your body is
taken over, by bosses, by advertising, by government, by nagging wife. Here,
"Yet you watch it anyway."
"It is, what you call it..." He made a
squeezing motion with his fingers.
"Inoculation," Nancy Hodge said.
"Yes! Yes! Inoculation against the fear. The
scare of being left here, for the winter. You know? The veterans know all
the lines by heart. You will see. It is lots of fun."
But Lewis was so weary he felt in danger of falling
into his plate of food. The thought of enduring a movie appalled him. After
embarrassing himself twice with dull responses that made him sound like a
half-wit, he finally excused himself to bed.
The others nodded without surprise. It took
"If you wake up and you are the last one
left," Molotov called after him, "don't be surprised. Then you
know the outer space being, the creature-it is you."
Page 30: "He said he liked
the movie The Thing."
"I think there's something in that film that
gets to our ex-Commie. The fact that no one can trust anyone."
Page 260: "If you're not
careful the Pole starts to take you over. Like the monster in The Thing,
except it's the Pole itself."
HIVE by Tim Curran
Another great read for genre fans! Tim Curran is
the author of HIVE a novel that is a sequel to Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of
Madness. Tim says he drew a lot of inspiration from THE THING - be sure to track
down and give his book, a very creepy, cold, claustrophobic read.
Page 262: Hayes had this mental
image of them arriving just behind him at Amundsen, shooting at him, trying to
kill him like those Norwegians in The Thing, trying to kill that infected
dog. He had a pretty good idea that what had happened to the supposed attackers
in the movie would play out pretty much the same in real life: LaHune would be
rescued and Hayes and Sharkey would be cut down like mad dogs.