Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

'Who Goes There?'

Did anyone else see this...

A giant lake buried more than two miles beneath the Antarctic ice has been found to contain a "surprising" variety of life.

...and immediately think of this?

The giant meteorologist spoke again. "The problem is this. Blair wants to examine the thing. Thaw it out and make micro slides of its tissues and so forth. Norris doesn't believe that is safe, and Blair does. Dr. Copper agrees pretty much with Blair. Norris is a physicist, of course, not a biologist. But he makes a point I think we should all hear. Blair has described the microscopic life-forms biologist find living, even in this cold and inhospitable place. They freeze every winter, and thaw every summer - for three months - and live.

"The point Norris makes is - they thaw, and live again. There must have been microscopic life associated with this creature. There is with every living thing we know. And Norris is afraid that we may release a plague - some germ disease unknown to Earth - if we thaw those microscopic things that have been frozen there for twenty million years.

From 'Who Goes There?' by John W. Campbell Jr (writing as Don A. Stuart), published in 1938 and acclaimed as one of the finest science fiction novellas ever written. It has been filmed three times as 'The Thing From Another World' (1951) and 'The Thing' (1982 and 2011).

The text can be found online here (usual caveats apply).


  1. "...and immediately think of this?"

    Well, actually, I thought of this:



  2. Thank you, Julia; it's absolutely brilliant!

    (And that bonus track too; an embarrassment of riches!
    'And hear the lamentation of the women')