The Short Story That Inspired The Thing Is About to Get Longer

Kurt Russell is easily the best-known version of The Thing, John Carpenter’s 1982 film.
Kurt Russell is easily the best-known version of The Thing, John Carpenter’s 1982 film.
Photo: Universal Pictures

When people think of The Thing, usually they first think of the 1982 John Carpenter film. But that film was based on another film, 1951's The Thing from Another World, which itself was based on a 1930s short story titled “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr. And now, the origins of The Thing are about to go one level deeper.


The Verge has uncovered a fascinating Kickstarter campaign for a book called Frozen Hell, which is touted as “The Book That Inspired The Thing.” It, too, was written by John W. Campbell Jr., which seems confusing until you hear the story.

Author Alec Nevala-Lee was researching an upcoming book and found that Campbell Jr. had referenced the fact that “Who Goes There?” was a shortened version of a longer novel. No one had ever seen that novel but there was a reference to it being sent to Harvard. So Nevala-Lee went hunting, and eventually found the unpublished manuscript to Frozen Hell, which is an extended and expanded version of “Who Goes There?”

Long story short, to try and get that book into the hands of fans, it went onto Kickstarter with the modest goal of $1,000. Well, that happened and it’s now raised well over $30,000 with almost 40 days to go. That means there are all kinds of excellent stretch goals to make the release even cooler, and that you will absolutely be able to read it one day.

For more on this story, the book, and more, head over to the Verge or the Kickstarter itself.



Good thing there wasn’t a prequel movie made in 2011 about the Norwegian base and their encounter with the alien creature. It would have been worse if they also named that movie with the same title as the 1982 film. Luckily no such thing happened.