Book Review: Who Goes There? by John Campbell

I’ve always loved the movie The Thing. As if the setting of Antarctica isn’t scary enough, add a shape-shifting alien to the mix and double down on the scares with the caveat — you can’t trust anyone.

campbellIt’s always a worry when you go back to the source material of a project you love. Will it hold up? Will it be like you remembered? Or will it fall short of what you’ve no doubt built up within your own head?

While writing has changed immensely since 1938 when this story was first released, I focused more on the story mechanics and general sense of mood and atmosphere than how many adverbs might be proliferating within the story. (And let’s be honest, this is what I loved about this story idea in the first place).

Thrilled to say not only does Who Goes There? hold up, but I’m baffled that an idea like this could have been written almost 80 years ago. For a short story it’s incredibly developed, and feels like just a part of a much greater whole. But its the sense of paranoia and dread, that subtle tickle along the back of your spine, that makes this story what it is (and is why it’s been translated to the screen so many times).

I could have used a stronger ending, and considering the material there were so many places to go with it, but overall this was as enthralling now as I imagine it was back in the 30’s. A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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