Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thing One and Thing Zero

Book • THE THING • Alan Dean Foster • 1982
This is one of those books that has sat on my shelf for years. I've read it a couple of times, but I always seem to forget The Thing the novelization by Alan Dean Foster is based on a screenplay by Bill Lancaster which was in turn based on the story “Who Goes There” by John W. Campbell, Jr. I feel half ashamed, like what I read was not really a book at all. A novelization of a screenplay could be thought of as a printed version of scenes that have already been imagined for you. That’s why I’m glad my corpse brain can only remember for a short time. And, as luck would have it, novelizations usually come from the first draft. Screenplays go through re-writes and films get edited. The Thing by Alan Dean Foster is significantly different from the movie The Thing by John Carpenter. Insight into the thoughts of the characters is only the obvious benefit from reading the novelization.
The Thing is a great adventure exploring the minds of men, and a lesson on the effects of pressure and paranoia. Monsters and aliens from space always give me the heebie-jeebies. After all, these are not local residents from Dread Falls or members of Jitterbutter. These are creepy critters who can survive for hundreds of thousands of years entombed in ice waiting for the day they can invade your body on a cellular level… then break out of your body like it was nothing more than a cocoon.
What I’d really love to see is a prequel that depicts what the Norwegian scientists went through to get to the point where they were chasing down the sled dog. Needless to say, the Americans could have no idea that the dog was harboring a terrible alien inside. There’s so much mystery to the Norwegians’ story even though we know their end. How about it. Is somebody doing a prequel to The Thing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A prequel to The Thing is a great idea. I would be horribly depressed to see anyone but Carpenter do it though.