by John W. Campbell
This is why, in some literary circles, science-fiction gets so little respect. Campbell had a great idea – malevolent, alien life force, frozen in Antarctica for millennia, is thawed by a small group of unwitting scientists – and he put his pen to paper. But Campbell had one problem: He could not write. Let me rephrase that: Campbell writes abominably. He never uses an adjective when two or three will do, he indulges in hyperbole, and he garbles grammar. Huge chunks of the novella are incomprehensible. I have no idea how Who Goes There? found a publisher, but I can see why Hollywood found it attractive. Campbell’s premise was one that filmmakers could build upon – and improve with very little effort (The Thing movies are based on this story). Yes, in this case, the movies really are better than the book.
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