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John Carpenter's



     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. Campbell

images/51novella.jpg      images/51novella1.jpg

Edward Knowlton contacted us with this fascinating piece of information about John W. Campbell's views on the Hawks/Nyby movie:

"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 insight.

John W. Campbell, Jr. Who Goes There? Chicago: Shasta, [1951]. Second edition. Superb inscription to Earl Korshak.

John W. Campbell, Jr. Who Goes There? Seven Tales of Science-Fiction. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, [1951]. Second edition. Presentation copy, with a superb inscription to Earl Korshak.  Octavo. [viii], [231], [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 variable.

Like the vegetable THING, however, we mutually hope This original may also spawn many, many copies of itself!

John W Campbell

John, 1951"

     You can read the complete 1938 novella  "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell hereThere 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?'

images/CoolStuffPics/TobiasKessler/german sleeve.jpg


Barlowe's Guide To Extra-Terrestrials

     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 here. (A huge thanks to David Williams for donating this book to the Collection & Archive!) 

Thingtext.jpg (208387 bytes)  WGTThingpic.jpg (157680 bytes)

The Thing - Novelization by Alan Dean Foster

     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:
Thranx Inc. 
P.O. Box 12757
Prescott, AZ

Movie Tie-In                U.S. 1st Printing              U.K. Edition


French copy of the novelization, a rare find indeed.

Italian version of the novel. 


 images/TobiasKessler/Novelization1982.jpg images/TobiasKessler/Novelization1982back.jpg images/TobiasKessler/Novelization1990.jpg

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 novelization

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 storytelling.

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... Directorial 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 Anne Billson


DARK WINTER by William Dietrich

     Dark Winter 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. 
     Dietrich 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...       
      Definitely recommended 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 ritual. 
     "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, no."
     "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 time. 
     "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.



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