Antarctica

A Classic that Looms Large in Science Fiction Horror

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Who Goes There? (The Thing) by John W. Campbell

5 star

5 Stars

Originally published by John W. Campbell as a novella in the August 1938 edition of the magazine Astounding Science-Fiction under the pen name Don A. Stuart, “Who Goes There?” spawned the body horror fiction subgenre and three versions of the movie The Thing. The plot is familiar to millions of fans of the 1982 John Carpenter film. Campbell pioneered the concept of an alien creature that invades and assimilates human hosts and then kills them as it jumps from host to host. The story’s theme has been replicated in dozens of movies and books from horror classics like The Blob and The Fly to zombie apocalypses. “Who Goes There?” is arguably the granddaddy of them all.

Campbell’s story is timeless. Its narrative is filled with scientific theories and observations about human behaviors still valid eight decades later. Some of the technology and language he used is dated, but much of the plot is relevant and has been retold in other tales of horror both modern and classic. The ending in this story is different from what The Thing movie fans would expect, but the characters like the pilot, MacReady, are all too familiar.

“Who Goes There?” deserves five stars and is a must-read for anyone who enjoys science fiction, horror, and contemporary classic literature.

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‘Thirst’ is a Thirst Quenching Thriller

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Thirst by L.A. Larkin

5 star

5 Stars

I’ve been a fan of Antarctica thrillers since John Carpenter’s 1982 horror film “The Thing” kept me up at night for a week after I watched it. In her nail-biting thriller “Thirst,” Author L.A. Larkin taps a similar vein of man (and woman) versus the unknown in the dreaded white and often hellish isolation of Antarctica. Her story about an attack on an Australian research station near Pine Island Glacier by terrorists offers spine-chilling suspense that rivals the frozen dread haunting “The Thing.” When the terrorists attack the station and kill most of its inhabitants in a secret operation to exploit the protected continent’s resources, it falls on maverick glaciologist Luke Searle and station leader Maddie Wildman to stop their attackers from committing an unthinkable act that will devastate Antarctica and the world.

The author writes in an easy-to-read, fast-paced style that makes this thriller a breeze to read. An environmental specialist who visited Antarctica to gather research for this book, Larkin paints a realistic portrayal of Antarctica. The combination of the two results in one of the more unique novels I’ve read in a setting infrequently used in the genre. The action is relentless with some scenes that help make the main characters more realistic. One can sense the animosity between Luke and Maddie that softens as the novel progresses. While the evolution of their relationship is predictable, it’s still plausible. The penultimate chapter could have been written for a James Bond movie, while the final one brings the story to a close that makes the reader wish it would continue.

If I have any qualms about the story, it’s the overuse of stereotypes. Although their Chinese ethnicity is a change from the stereotypical “bad guy” found in so many thrillers, the villains are caricaturized at times with bloodthirsty ambitions for power, inhuman cruelty, and issues with filial piety that leaves no room for redeeming traits. While this is no different than endless stories featuring villains who lack personality, making them more multi-dimensional would have improved the book.

“Thirst” is a great read. I give it five stars and recommend it to anyone looking to read a thriller off the beaten path (in this case, Antarctica), an environmental-themed story, or an action-packed novel with shades of “The Thing” and James Bond’s “Die Another Day.”

Thirst is now available at:

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