“Who Goes There: The Original 1938 Novelette” by John W. Campbell, Jr. (ed Jerry eBooks, 2020)

"Who Goes There: The Original 1938 Novelette" by John W. Campbell, Jr. (ed Jerry eBooks, 2020)

"Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938, Volume XXI, Number 6

Who Goes There? is a science fiction novella by American writer John W. Campbell, Jr., written under the pen name Don A. Stuart. It was first published in the August 1938 Astounding Science Fiction.

The novella has been adapted three times as a film: the first in 1951 as The Thing from Another World; the second in 1982 as The Thing, directed by John Carpenter; and most recently as a prequel to the Carpenter version, also titled The Thing, released in 2011.

A group of scientific researchers, isolated in Antarctica by the nearly-ended winter, discover an alien spaceship buried in the ice, where it crashed twenty million years before. They try to thaw the inside of the spacecraft with a thermite charge, but end up accidentally destroying it when the ship's magnesium hull is ignited by the charge. However, they do recover the alien pilot from the ancient ice, which the researchers believe was searching for heat when it was frozen. Thawing revives the alien, a being which can assume the shape, memories, and personality of any living thing it devours, while maintaining its original body mass for further reproduction. Unknown to them, the alien immediately kills and then imitates the crew's physicist; with some 90 pounds of its matter left over it tries to become a sled dog. The crew discovers the dog-Thing and kills it in the process of transformation. Pathologist Blair, who had lobbied for thawing the Thing, goes insane with paranoia and guilt, vowing to kill everyone at the base in order to save mankind; he is isolated within a locked cabin at their outpost. A physicist is also isolated as a precaution and a "rule-of-four" is initiated in which all personnel must remain under the close scrutiny of three others."