Customer Reviews


42 Reviews
5 star:
 (27)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning; A well-crafted novella that stands the test of time.
John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes There?" is a science fiction tour-de-force; a collection of 7 short stories which were primarily featured during the American magazine Astounding Science Fiction during the late 1930's. The legendary Isaac Asimov was quoted as saying that Campbell was "the most powerful force in science fiction ever, and for the first ten years of his...
Published on 5 Dec. 2011 by Mr. S A. Jones

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic? Welth,the films certainly were ...
I have the terrible feeling that swathes of fans of this "classic" novella are going to camp out here and give me a piece of their mind. I came to it as a huge fan of both Howard Hawks's take on the story (we all know that Christian Nyby had very little input in real terms) and John Carpenter's faithful rendition of the story. Interestingly, given that I would...
Published 11 months ago by Monsieur Binks


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning; A well-crafted novella that stands the test of time., 5 Dec. 2011
By 
This review is from: Who Goes There (Paperback)
John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes There?" is a science fiction tour-de-force; a collection of 7 short stories which were primarily featured during the American magazine Astounding Science Fiction during the late 1930's. The legendary Isaac Asimov was quoted as saying that Campbell was "the most powerful force in science fiction ever, and for the first ten years of his editorship he dominated the field completely" and I would have to second this sentiment. For any young pre-published novelist wishing to delve into this complicated and sometimes overly used genre, I would heartily recommend that they pick up this novella as, personally, it is a pure and utterly brilliant lesson in science fiction.

Who Goes There

The first of the seven short stories and, what I consider the lengthiest, is a claustrophobic horror set amidst the barren, icy wasteland of Antarctica. A team of researchers discover a crashed alien ship and, with that, an alien which had been frozen for, seemingly, billions of years. As a decision is made to thaw the creature out for study, it becomes apparent that The Thing is not dead. 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 leading to the team questioning who is human and who isn't.

Blindness

Perhaps the shortest of those included in this novella, Blindness charts the life of a scientist, a dreamer, of a journeyman wanting to succeed in finding an infinite source of power whilst, simultaneously, discover the mysteries behind atomic power. In order to achieve his dream, he concludes that the Sun must hold the greater powers of all and, together with his ever-trusting assistant; he sets about designing a spaceship which would be able to approach the sun and collect the data they need. His work eventually leads him on his ultimate space flight and, at a sacrifice, finds what he is looking for.

Frictional Losses

Following an alien invasion across the entirety of the world, the survivors look to rebuild, to start again and look to move forward amongst their diminished numbers. Unfortunately, whilst the alien invasion was repelled, human losses were great and worry sets amongst the survivors that a second invasion is very likely. Old Hugh Thompson spends his days scavenging the ruins of the larger cities, attempting to research and build parts for restoring an alien weapon; however, he stumbles across something completely different which ultimately saves the last of human kind.

Dead Knowledge

An expedition to a neighboring solar system, finds a research team on a seemingly abandoned planet much similar to our own; with vast cities of towers, automobiles, streets, pavements, parks and tropical, heated climates. Immediately on setting down do our intrepid travellers come across the realisation that the city is not inhabited but what could have caused the population to have fled? There are no signs of war, threat or terror, nor are there any signs of wildlife; there are no birds or insects to be found. On further exploration, only do we begin to find out the chilling event that befell a great and once powerful race.

Elimination

John Grantland, an American patent-lawyer, is approached by an arrogant young inventor who claims to have discovered how to revolutionize energy and how to apply this. In his dissuasion, Grantland tells the tale of a couple of inventors he came across many years back who developed a television set that was able to see the entire history of time from its explosive beginning to the many thousands of possible futures.

Twilight

Jim Bendell, travelling late one night, stops to pick up a hitch hiker - one with an especially curious tale; he is a time traveller from a distant future where man has made an efficient and endlessly powerful machine that takes care of their every need. The hitch hiker goes on to explain of how he has seen the Twilight of humankind's civilization, on the verge of extinction in a world where they lack curiosity, vigor and the ability to reproduce. Ultimately quite a simple tale, this, however, is well-written and beautiful.

Night

Night is a sequel to Twilight and follows the exploits of a traveller who has returned to Earth in early 20th century, recounting his time at Night of humankind's civilization upon which he finds the sun and the earth, frozen and dying. Again, similar to Twilight, this is simple tale constructed in an expert fashion.

Each and every one of Campbell's short stories are well crafted, succinct and an absolute delight to read and, given the years in which he wrote them - some 80 years ago now, they still stand the test of time and seem as fresh now as when they were first published. The stories themselves have also clearly inspired science fiction throughout its history and it is only unfortunately that Campbell didn't decide to turn any one of his ideas into a fully fleshed out novel given their originality and potential depth in character and story.

Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, I highly recommend purchase of this 244 paged paperback novella to anyone with a love for well-written books.

5/5
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic? Welth,the films certainly were ..., 2 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have the terrible feeling that swathes of fans of this "classic" novella are going to camp out here and give me a piece of their mind. I came to it as a huge fan of both Howard Hawks's take on the story (we all know that Christian Nyby had very little input in real terms) and John Carpenter's faithful rendition of the story. Interestingly, given that I would rate both of these films a full 5 stars without hesitation (itself an interesting stance considering how different they are), why I feel so unimpressed by Campbell's novella is curious to me. The story is short and to the point and I wonder if that is its first mistake. A huge cast of characters and a considerable amount of narrative is crammed into its too-few pages. I know I often berate books for being long. But I am now wondering if it is better to be a bit too long than woefully short. The story of how a group of scientists become prey to a shape-shifting alien entity and finally fight back (all the time, unsure of who to trust) is sketched in with deft strokes. However, unlike John Carpenter's adaptation, there is little in the way of suspense to act as a counterpoint to the abundance of ideas. Characters feel half-formed. I could accept this when it comes to some of the minor roles, but the lack of even one strong central persona to support the story left the whole piece somewhat lacking. Others may disagree, but I felt that I just didn't know these people and as a result didn't really care for them. This is a crying shame as the story itself is, without doubt, a classic and the fact that it perpetuated not one but two astonishing films (I won't mention the recent prequel that has more in common with the poorer aspects of the novella than its cinematic predecessors) makes it even more a shame that it is what it is. For anyone awaiting the summing up, what it is is a good outline for what could and should have been a great novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that made John Carpenter's 'The Thing', 28 Nov. 2000
By 
J. A. Griffiths "johnantoni" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Who Goes There? (Hardcover)
If you like scary stories then this is one for you. This book is a collection of 7 re-printed stories written by James W Cambell in the times when he was writing for 'Amazing Stories'. The first one 'Who Goes There' was used by Howard Hawks for the original 'The Thing', but the new John Carpenter version follows this in greater depth and is definately one for sci-fi collectors. One point though, don't read it alone!.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and holds your attention., 26 Feb. 2011
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Who Goes There? (Hardcover)
I have to say that I came to this novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell by seeing it on the credits of one of my favorite 50's Sci-fi movies with James Arness, "The Thing from Another World" (1951). Of course the movie had to stay true to its time and was loosely based on this story it still stands as a great presentation of its own. In 1982 John Carpenter took it on himself to add a few more of the original elements of the story. Unfortunately he had to bow to the gooey gory monster era and missed much of the original story including the fact that our antagonist was able to read minds and project thoughts. Not to distract from the two movies but it would be nice if someone tried again to portray this story. Carpenter also leaves his movie with an excellent potential for a sequel "Two things are better than one".

We find that thousands of years ago a rocket crashed and was buried in the Polar Regions. It was found due to a magnetic disturbance. On extraction there is an accident. We find a being from another world and another time. The being has powers of deception and shape shifting. Yet the story is not really of supernatural beings as it is of the people and their relationship to each other. As with many great mysteries it is always the last person you suspect. That is one of the strong points of Sci-Fi, not the technology as it will come about soon enough; what it is really about is how we deal with our fellow humans under duress.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are you when Nobody's looking?, 12 Jan. 2010
I was extremely pleased when my Sister in Law bought me this book for Christmas. I'd been trying to track down a copy ever since seeing The Thing in the 80's. And I have to say I wasn't disappointed. The story is incredibly well written and easily stands the test of time, though I won't type any spoilers here. As a seasoned sci-fi and horror book/film veteran there aren't many things that I find creepy, but the claustrophobic environment and escalating paranoia and desparation that is written so brilliantly by John W Campbell did genuinely make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. All in all an excellent read and very highly recommended. Have no hesitation, buy this book and you'll soon see "Who goes there?"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to follow,, 1 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Its a strange short story, I found it very disjointed, there where passages I had to read again and again, some parts where very confusing indeed. I did not feel tense while reading it or get any feeling of isolation. I also failed to feel any compassion or identify with any of the characters. The book had some good ideas, and had moments that make you think but overall I was disapointed, I am an avid reader and have read many books over the years, this one just did not do anything for me at all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars love it!, 11 Oct. 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Stevenage, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I got the audiobook version from audible.com and i DO NOT REGRET IT, great book, which lead to a great film.

I was a massive fan of john carpenters film, I bought it on three formats (hd-dvd,dvd and now blu ray) so i had to get to listening to the audiobook...it doesnt disappoint.

Has all the suspense of the film, you can't work out who is who, my only issue is that the scene they find out whos who is too short and felt abit rushed, I wish this was longer than it is, the story has so much more you could do with it
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Edition of a Small Novel, 20 July 2011
Was The Thing the first movie I ever bought on Blu-ray? I think it might just have been...

I'm an unabashed fan - what can I say? I must have seen John Carpenter's adaptation of Who Goes There? twenty times or more, all told - any excuse is a good excuse - and without fail, whenever in recent memory the credits have scrolled I've made a mental note to hunt out the tale upon which The Thing is based. Oh, and Howard Hawks' 1950s monstrosity The Thing From Another World. That too.

Yet till now, I never did...

...and I'm kind of wishing I never had, at all.

Because it's a pretty tepid novella. Even having made the usual allowances one must for fiction from another era, Who Goes There? seemed to me forgettable pulp - certainly not the "timeless genre classic" (p.10) Logan's Run author William F. Nolan describes in his punchy introduction. Its characters, of which there's something of an over-abundance, are to a one so thin as to appear transparent; and though the notional concept at its core, of an alien desperate to see its species survive after untold millennia frozen in a glacier, still hits home - particularly the shape-shifting and the subsequent paranoia Carpenter made so much of - Campbell seems leagues more interested in exploiting every last drop of the melodrama the premise entails, and haplessly documenting some talking heads talking nonsense.

Perhaps it wasn't always nonsense they were talking... perhaps it's dreadfully crass of me to assert as much. But even allowing for the foibles of such fiction in the late thirties, Who Goes There? is unequal to any variety of comparison with Carpenter's masterful adaptation. The bare bones of the story are there, at least, but the film fashions a body around those bones - developing the potential of certain threads of character and narrative Campbell seems profoundly uninterested in, and abandoning those others than simply do not work - where the author of the original novella is content to present a picked-clean corpse.

Rocket Ride Books, however, have gone above and beyond with this edition of Who Goes There? Let's give the small press start-up credit where credit's been duly earned, because Campbell's novella is but one part of the classy package they've put together - and were it that alone, I might still recommend it, whatever its failings, as a curiosity to fans of either film version.

But the Rocket Ride reissue of Who Goes There? goes the extra mile, coming complete with the informative introduction aforementioned, and a whole other thing: the spec script William F. Nolan wrote for Universal Studios' consideration in the late 70s, when they were sniffing around the idea of another adaptation. So not the screen treatment John Carpenter used a few years later - that was from the pen of the late and lamented Bill Lancaster - but a third distinct take on Campbell's tale; an iteration more straightforwardly science fictional than either of the others, and wreathed in Americana. I'm glad, ultimately, that Nolan's script wasn't the basis of The Thing, but assuredly it makes for a fascinating what if?

For collectors, then, the value-packed Rocket Ride edition of Who Goes There? should make for a no-brainer of a buy. It'll be a harder sell to those with less interest in the cinematic lineage of John W. Campell's original story - poised to continue, against all odds, in a very promising prequel slated for later in 2011 - though those potential readers too would be well advised to look beyond the pulpy melodrama of Who Goes There? itself to the pitch-perfect extra features and deleted scenes of this bounteous re-release.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for a classic SF horror film, 30 Dec. 2014
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Who Goes There (Kindle Edition)
This is a review of the Rosetta Books edition, consisting just of the single novella of the title (and which seems to no longer be available on Kindle).

This novella is the SF horror story that formed the basis for the various film versions of The Thing (from Outer Space). While it has tense moments, I think it takes too long to get to the point (despite being only 75 pages) and the long opening chapter contains a lot of scientific exposition that didn't grab me. The creature's powers are truly terrifying in their implications, but don't seem entirely consistent throughout. I also thought some of the dialogue was rather odd. Campbell, while a great SF editor, lacked the story-telling power of his most famous associate Isaac Asimov.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I still need time to read this book!, 19 May 2014
By 
Dr. Armando Fernandes (Porto, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Who Goes There (Paperback)
a) Perfect seller.

b) Good price.

c) Better than described!

d) When I finish to read this book, I will be able to comment its content.

(But John W. Campbell was not only the founder of "Amazing Stories" magazine, who was the first to publish Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and many other major FC writers, but also a first class FC writer also.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Who Goes There
Who Goes There by John W. Campbell (Paperback - 1 Dec. 2011)
£7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews