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Who Goes There?

The Novella That Formed the Basis of 'THE THING'
Narrated by: Steve Cooper
Length: 2 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Who Goes There?, the novella that formed the basis of the film The Thing, is the John W. Campbell classic about an antarctic research camp that discovers and thaws the ancient body of a crash-landed alien.

©1966 John W. Campbell (P)2009 Rocket Ride Books

Critic Reviews

“John W. Campbell is the most powerful force in science fiction ever.” (Isaac Asimov)
"One of the finest science fiction novellas ever written." (Science Fiction Writers of America)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More Human Than Human

This is a fantastic and terrifying study of what fear and paranoia can do. I know I'm not infected but I'm not so sure about you. Are you sure about me?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic.

Just as suspensful as the movie. (By John Carpenter) It definitely sheds light on why movie goers and critiques who may have read the book said that his movie was a 'splatter fest' as The Thing in this book is more peaceful. Waiting to the very last moment to strike in self defence. It definitely gives a new perspective and it's fun to see the story beats that lead to the film. Unfortunately short, but a great listen.

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Profile Image for Old Hippy
  • Old Hippy
  • 03-10-2016

Astounding ... Incredible ...

So unbelievably good! Up there with anything from Matheson, Asimov, Clark. Great economy of words, while weaving intense suspense. Makes the two movies that followed feel like pale imitations. Also, terrific narration, gripping.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joel D Offenberg
  • 21-05-2010

An Absolute Classic!

The plot is quite simple: a scientific expedition isolated in Antarctica discovers a long-frozen alien ship, and a long-frozen alien corpse...

"Who Goes There?" is one of the top science-fiction novellas ever published. Well written, carefully thought out plot, (mostly) realistic characters and setting. Although the plot revolves around alien monsters, the interplay of the human characters makes the story very real and very well-balanced.

In addition to being a great story in itself, many of the themes and concepts have crept into many places in sci-fi and horror. The 1950's movie, "The Thing," and John Carpenter's later remake, are (loosely) based on "Who Goes There?".

William F. Nolan's narration is good, if a little slowly-paced. He is hampered by the fact that there are about a dozen speaking characters (all men), and making them all sound distinct is rough. I think a professional narrator might have done a better job, but Nolan's narration is more than acceptable.

The audiobook edition opens with a 6-or-7 minute introduction written by the narrator which provides background on Campbell, the story and "The Thing." Useful, but longer than needed.

33 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Todd (Toad) Vogel
  • Todd (Toad) Vogel
  • 10-10-2016

Pretty cool

I love old sci-fi! I had never heard of this one before. Apparently it was quite popular. Although it's an older story it still holds up quite well today!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Noe
  • 13-01-2011

Scary arctic adventure - great narration.

I was so glad to see this wonderful story finally available in audio. An intelligent, frightening, and engaging tale of the discovery of an E.T. frozen in the arctic. And, of course, the "thing" is neither completely dead nor very friendly ... A pioneering early SF story that has been imitated many times but is a refreshing listen in its original form, especially with a wonderful narration by Steve Cooper. Bravo, Audible, for bringing this to audio!!!

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AudioAddict
  • 25-02-2016

Classic Sci-Fi Novella. Good, Not Great.

STORY (alien sci-fi) - As the summary mentions, this books is about a frozen alien which is thawed by members of an arctic science expedition. Oops.

There is lots that is good about this story -- the way the alien was discovered, its unique traits and the way it tries to survive and grow. The scientists have a monster on their hands, and they must figure how to contain it and keep it from spreading to the populated world. The story is suspenseful and ends well. My biggest complaint is rooted is that I was underwhelmed by the description of the creature itself. I just couldn't get into a blue wormy alien with three red eyes. I guess I'm spoiled by the "advancement" of alien monsters over the last 70 years.

PERFORMANCE - I have no real complaints about the performance, but there is nothing spectacular about it either.

OVERALL - This reads like a B-movie, but it's still entertaining. No cursing or horrific gore. Just a scary monster that turns people against each other and causes death and mayhem. Not recommended for young children, obviously, but recommended for males/females who like sci-fi.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bette
  • 22-05-2011

Wonderful story!

This is a great preamble for those who have not watched The Thing or The Thing From Another World. Or those who have to give you greater insight. It's amazing how this story is so ahead of its time and how it still holds one enthralled. A great, tight little SF thriller that will hold your interest until the end. Highly recommended!

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jim "The Impatient"
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 30-07-2011

Classic

This is a classic and is recommended by "Must Read 501, Sci Fi" This was written in 1938 and you should keep that in mind when reading it. I believe three movies have been made from this Novella. This is about an alien ship that lands on earth before man even exists. The ship gets buried in Antarctica. Each and every cell in the alien body is an entity in itself and can duplicate other living beings. If one cell escapes and gets into our population then it will take over the world. The whole concept of this story is just so freaking cool.

31 of 43 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • bet
  • 19-11-2014

great idea, bettered by Carpenter.

Any additional comments?

This is a classic story done several times in the film format, and not always successfully.

I found it funny that the intro criticizes Carpenter's screen play, because the things that Carpenter elaborated on (not really changed) were things I felt were missing from the story or didn't quite make sense as far as reactions and timing. Who watches Popeye during a crisis or lets a murderer get off with a slap on the wrist and a 'just don't kill anyone else, ok?" And while, yes...the Carpenter version is a bit gory, the novel version never really 'GOES THERE' if you catch my drift. Characters will walk into a room and say something like "It's messy when they melt." as though they are talking about the snow on their boots....so, Carpenter is head and shoulders above the novel for bringing this original horrific idea to life. Also, his beginning and end are pure genius compared to the novel.

If you are a horror fan, you must of course add this to your 'read' pile - it's well worth it. If you are gonna to watch a film version, stick with the John Carpenter/Kurt Russell vehicle - it's also a classic. And once you read the book, do watch the film - it's great fun, with many a classic line. My absolute favorite, which makes me burst into uncomfortable, stress reliving laughter, every single time, being....

..."I know you gentleman have been through a lot....but when you find the time....I'd rather not spend the rest of the winter...TIED TO THIS F**K**G CHAIR!!!"

It's just done so much better and more sensibly done than the novel! lol.

Enjoy!

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • The Kindler
  • 13-10-2016

Too Short

This was a really enjoyable short story. Nothing to surprising but still a good tale. The narrator was solid. My only issue was that it was too short. More time to develop the characters and the fear would have helped.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Calliope
  • 02-10-2016

Good short story horror flick

This is a good creepy short story -- I didn't particularly like the way it ended, but that wasn't enough to turn me off....I still recommend it. It's obviously dated, but not in any way that makes a diffenence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Wreckedlemon
  • Wreckedlemon
  • 06-10-2019

Wonderful if a little talky

Great book especially if you're a fan of the Carpenter movie - you can really see just how great an adaptation that film is.

Story starts at a spritely pace and barrels on from there. It is perhaps a little overflowing with adjectives at first but the tone settles down. My only (other) criticism would be there's a lot of time spent with characters standing around talking about what's happening - it's a lot but don't let that put you off. The characters are clear and well defined and the science in the fiction is surprisingly resonant. The audible reading is fantastic. Short two and a bit hours of sci-fi / horror goodness.

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  • jalf
  • 08-04-2019

Wonderful simple story that works so effectively.

Such a good story that dives into the paranoia of man in a very isolated place. If you enjoy the movie you'll love it but in no way is one piece dependant on it's counter part. Perfection of short story telling.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gaile
  • 03-02-2019

Classic.

Familiar story but only because it had success. A short listen, but worth while to see history of sci-fi

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DarkSkies
  • 27-01-2019

Old School Hard Sci Fi

The first thing you have to note is that this story is from 1938. It has all the problems that entails. Language feels less naturalistic. Characters are a bit samey and drawn in broader strokes with less nuance and development, and as it's a short story there isn't much time to change that. Some of the ideas inherent and unquestioned in the story (an all male arctic outpost for example) would be totally accurate and expected, not even drawing a comment back then. Now those things may seem a little odd.

Those are the negatives and they are all because it was written over 80 years ago.

The positives far outweigh those negatives.

The use of science and medicine wouldn't stand up for anyone knowledgable in those fields, but definitely place the story in sci-fi rather than space opera territory.

The central concept seems fresh and original even though it has been copied countless times.

The John Carpenter film version of "The Thing" is an amazing film and captures so much of the book that I was surprised by just how much of the book made it into the film. His approach was to (brilliantly) focus on the physical horror of "The Thing".

This story has those elements but felt to me to focus more on the psychological horror of what was happening. In tone it's more like the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In fact that is one of my favourite films, but after listening to this book I have to say that "Who Goes There?" probably captures the feeling of helplessness and paranoia even better than the film and certainly better than the book on which it was based. Maybe the 1978 version of Invasion would have been a better comparison.

Either way...if you can get past the problems this is an excellent, thought provoking, well done scary story.

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  • Skinbot
  • 20-01-2019

good but parts missing

seems to jump through certain chapters missing parts out.... other than that, good story and narration

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Will Sam
  • 20-08-2018

Chilling

Narrated well but it would be hard not to tell this story well! its excellent listen full of twists and turns in a brilliant setting. its The Thing, but set way before John Carpenter envisioned it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • "pcaldredbann"
  • 09-05-2018

Explains more than the film

Really enjoyed it. It was less visceral than the renowned film but explains a whole other side to the 'thing' while adding a lot more mystery to the story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sam hardie
  • 27-02-2018

Timeless Classic

excellent story, classic sci-fi. The narrator does a fantastic job. My only gripe is that a few parts seem to jump ahead a bit. If this was fixed it would be an excellent experience.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. N. A. Barnes
  • 25-06-2017

Who goes there?

The novella that inspired three movies. The Thing from another world, The Thing and it's 2011 prequel, also called The Thing. The audible version is well read and explains more than all the films put together. Very entertaining!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 15-05-2017

Great story

As a huge fan of the John Carpenter's Thing movie, I wanted to listen to the source material and wasn't disappointed - well worth a listen whether you have seen the movies or not