“Who Goes There?” is a gripping science fiction horror novella written by American author John W. Campbell Jr. under the pseudonym Don A. Stuart. First published in 1938, this iconic story has had a profound impact on the genre, inspiring various adaptations, including the renowned 1982 film “The Thing” directed by John Carpenter. Campbell’s novella has remained an enduring classic, captivating readers with its suspenseful plot, psychological intensity, and thought-provoking themes.
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Set in Antarctica during an expedition, “Who Goes There?” begins when a team of scientists discovers a crashed spacecraft buried in the ice. They find a frozen extraterrestrial being, which they speculate to be a member of an alien civilization. In a rush of excitement and curiosity, the team brings the being back to their isolated research station.
Unknown to the scientists, the alien possesses the ability to imitate other life forms perfectly, infiltrating their ranks by assuming the appearance and memories of its victims. The creature’s shapeshifting nature creates an atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust among the crew, leading to an intense psychological battle for survival.
As the team realizes the danger they are in, they must uncover the alien imposter among them and prevent it from escaping to the outside world, potentially dooming humanity. The story delves deep into themes of identity, fear, and the fragility of trust in the face of the unknown.
“A masterful blend of science fiction and horror, ‘Who Goes There?’ keeps readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Campbell’s expert storytelling weaves an intricate web of suspense and terror that continues to captivate audiences decades later.” – The New York Times
“Campbell’s novella has aged like fine wine, retaining its eerie atmosphere and relevance. It remains an undisputed classic that showcases the very essence of sci-fi horror, inspiring countless writers and filmmakers in the genre.” – Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Review
“The profound exploration of human nature in the face of an alien menace is what sets ‘Who Goes There?’ apart. It’s not just a tale of monsters but a reflection on the darkness within each of us.” – Horror Literature Quarterly
“The place was a museum of the unexplainable. There were time-scarred skulls with rounded heads, and one with a bullet hole through the back of it.”
“I can be anything, you know. I can be one of you. I can be in anyone.”
“There must be no contact with that ship until we have taken every precaution we can think of. Every precaution.”
Q : Is “Who Goes There?” a standalone novella, or is it part of a series?
A : “Who Goes There?” is a standalone novella written by John W. Campbell Jr. It is not part of a series.
Q : What inspired John W. Campbell Jr. to write this novella?
A : Campbell drew inspiration from the idea of an alien creature capable of imitating humans, which he believed would introduce paranoia and uncertainty among a group of people.
Q : How does “Who Goes There?” compare to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”?
A : John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is a loose adaptation of Campbell’s novella. While the film captures the essence of the story, it takes creative liberties and expands on some aspects to suit a cinematic experience.
Q : Are there any other adaptations of “Who Goes There?”
A : Besides John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” there have been radio adaptations, graphic novels, and video games based on the novella.
“Who Goes There?” is a timeless masterpiece that seamlessly blends elements of science fiction and horror, leaving readers on the edge of their seats until the final page. Campbell’s exploration of fear, trust, and identity makes it a thought-provoking and chilling read that continues to stand the test of time. Whether you’re a seasoned sci-fi enthusiast or a fan of horror, this classic novella is a must-read for any lover of thrilling storytelling.