(Unless otherwise noted, references to "the film" are
intended as references to 1982's
Blair is described as short and bald, as he is in the film.
In the story, there are 37 members at the Antarctic outpost
(seemingly all male, though we don't meet them all). In the
film, there are only 12 men.
The expedition that leaves the main U.S. base to investigate
a magnetic anomaly (and discovers the ship and creature in
the ice) is called the Secondary Pole Expedition (and also
the Secondary Magnetic Expedition). The temporary
camp the expedition sets up at the crash site is called the
Secondary Camp. In the
film, it is a Norwegian expedition that discovers the
ancient crash site.
In the story, the main protagonist is called McReady as
opposed to MacReady in the film script. He is the second-in
command of the outpost (after Garry) and is a meteorologist
(not a pilot as in the film; a character called Van Wall is
lead pilot here, and MacReady's character in the film seems
to be a fusion of the McReady and Van Wall of this story).
He is described as 6'4" and bronze-skinned, with a
The outpost is located directly on top of the South Magnetic
Pole and it seems the men are there mainly to study the
magnetic pole in various manners.
The crash site of the alien ship is a magnetic anomaly,
located 80 miles southwest of the outpost.
The ship is buried in only 100 feet of ice. It appears to be
quite a bit more in the film.
In the story, McReady mentions the Antarctic Ocean.
Nowadays, this is more commonly called the Southern Ocean
and considered the portion of the global ocean existing
south of 60 degrees south latitude.
McReady estimates the ship and the creature have been frozen
for 20 million years (as opposed to just 100,000 years in
McReady guesses that the alien ship got tangled in Earth's
magnetic field, causing it to crash.
The characters in the story frequently refer to the alien as
a thing, inspiring the titles of the filmed
versions of the story.
This story takes place during the spring season in
Antarctica rather than winter as in the film.
The cook is named Kinner (rather than Nauls as in the film).
The story comments that during a storm in Antarctica, it is
easy to get lost in just ten paces.
The story mentions both decanite and thermite charges.
As mentioned in the movie
study, thermite is a metallic powder that can generate an
extremely hot burst of heat when combined with a catalyst,
but I have not been able to find any real world reference to
what decanite might be. Seemingly, scriptwriter Bill
Lancaster got the term "decanite" from this story.
While burning the ice away from the buried ship with
thermite, the expedition sees three other dark blobs in the
ice that may have been other passengers besides
the one found, before the ice tumbles down against the
remains of the ship.
The outpost is referred to as Big Magnet.
McReady compares the frozen Thing they've found to the
frozen mammoths that have been found in Siberia. Siberia
covers most of northern Asia and has a largely subarctic
climate; frozen mammoth carcasses have indeed been found
there, with estimated millions more still buried.
The story reveals that Norris' first name is Vance.
It is suggested that the thawing and recovering Thing has a
degree of telepathic power which is causing many members of
the outpost to have dreams and nightmares about it.
Blair mentions the enzyme-molecule theory of viruses, but I
have not been able to find another reference to a theory by
that name in the real world.
The story describes what may be the "natural" form of the
Thing, which is similar to that depicted in
Barlowe's Guide to
Extraterrestrials (1979) by Wayne Barlowe; Barlowe's
the Thing in ice and
partially imitating a dog can be viewed at
Kinner mentions Boeing. Boeing is an American aerospace
company. In this story, it is likely referring to airplanes
used by the outpost rather than helicopters as seen in the
film; although invented in 1936, helicopters were not in
full-scale production until 1942 (the story was written, and
presumably takes place, in 1938).
Blair mentions the Ross Sea. This is a deep ocean bay in
The Thing-creature thawed out of the ice is described as
being about four feet tall.
The dog kennels are referred to as Dogtown as they are in
the film script.
The story describes the Thing as susceptible to flame and
electricity, as it is in the film.
One of the dogs is named Charnauk. Another is named Chinook
(which is also a breed of sled dog).
Blair mentions the possibility of the Thing imitating a skua
gull. The character also does so in the film script (though
it did not appear in the film).
Skuas are large, predatory
seabirds known to inhabit both temperate and arctic (and
Blair smashes all of the outpost's magnetos. This is the
source of Lancaster's "missing magneto" in the film script.
is a type of electrical generator that produces alternating
current via two rotating magnets.
Blair also goes into a fit of fear and paranoia during which
he smashes the base's transportation so the Thing cannot
escape in disguise, just as in the film.
In the story, Dr. Copper goes into more detail of how a blood
serum test would work to detect who was a Thing and who
wasn't, though I'm not sure if it would really work the way
he describes or not.
Benning (instead of Bennings as in the film) is an aviation
mechanic instead of a meteorologist as in the film.
In the story, it is Copper, rather than McReady, who has the
idea that even small pieces of the Thing could be
The group wonders why the Thing doesn't just become a bird
and fly away in order to escape the Antarctic and infect the
rest of the world. Copper speculates that the creature may
not have previously visited worlds which had a sufficient
atmosphere to have flying life forms which it could imitate.
In commenting on the Thing's possible telepathic abilities,
Copper mentions that a Dr. Rhine at Duke University has
proven that telepathy exists. This is a reference to the
real world Dr. Joseph Rhine, a botanist who developed an
interest in parapsychology and began scientific studies of
it at Duke
University and founded the
Journal of Parapsychology and the Foundation for
Research on the Nature of Man (now known as the
In the story, it is Blair's idea to let the creature thaw
out of the ice and it is possible he received the idea
telepathically from the creature in ice.
Garry mentions Byrd and Ellsworth. These are references to
Admiral Richard Byrd (1888-1957), who was one of the major
early explorers of the South Pole, and Lincoln Ellsworth
(1880-1951), who explored both the arctic and Antarctic.
The narrative mentions the Magnet Range. I have not been
able to find a real world reference to a "Magnet Range" in
Antarctica, though there is a mountain range by that name on
the island of Tasmania off the southern coast of
Copper points out that he believes the imitations are so
perfect that they would continue to behave just as the
original person would.
As in the film, Garry comes under suspicion and McReady
takes command of the outpost. Here, Garry does turn out to
be a Thing, unlike in the film. Clark is also a Thing, again
unlike in the film. On the other hand, Norris remains human
throughout the story, whereas
in the film
he is revealed as a Thing.
McReady almost became an M.D. before switching his studies
to meteorology. He actually graduated from medical school
but never started his required internship, having diverted
The story uses the term "morphia" for the drug morphine. "Morphia"
was simply an earlier term for the drug, still in use in
1938 when the story was written.
The crewmembers are depicted playing chess and poker,
similar to the film.
Van Wall comments that the majority of the crewmembers must
still be human or the Things would gang up on the minority
of humans left. This is similar to MacReady's statement in
the film that he knows some of the remaining crewmembers
must still be human or they'd all just attack him now.
The crewmembers decide to watch some movies as a diversion and a man named
Caldwell says, "Goody, goody--a moom pitcher show." As far
as I can tell "moom pitcher" is slang of the time for
Discussing the film reels they have available in the
outpost, McReady mentions "Popeye and trick ducks". Popeye,
of course, is a character who has
been around since 1929 in comic strips and in cartoons since
1933. I presume that "tricky ducks" is a reference to Donald
Duck and Daffy Duck, who have populated cartoons since 1934
and 1937 respectively.
Instead of watching films, Caldwell suggests they play
Classifications, also known as Guggenheim. This is a simple
real world game as described
When Kinner is killed, his partial transformation into a
Thing-creature leaves him with deformed hands featuring three-inch
long talons. This is similar to Bennings' hands when he is
killed in the film.
Van Wall comments on the Thing's blood, saying, "The blood
will live--and try to crawl away from a hot needle, say!"
This is very similar to dialog spoken by MacReady in the
Before applying the hot needle test to his own blood,
McReady says, "...I'll try to show you what I already know."
This is similar to dialog he also speaks in the film.
In the story, Norris is the one who carries a gun on him,
rather than Garry as in the film.
Instead of building a ship, Blair is found to have been
building an anti-gravity harness.
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