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Authors: Alan Dean Foster

The Thing

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THE THING

Towering cliffs of solid ice rose from the canyon they were exploring. They knew it was here. Fear rode the moaning wind on swirling razor-like flakes. On a muffled word from Bennings, Childs activated the nozzle. The tip of the flame-thrower sprang to life. Bennings was scanning the cliff's jagged crevices when something clutched his ankles. He looked down and barely had time to scream as his body was yanked below the surface of the ice . . .

TWELVE MEN
Trapped in the Antarctic.

ELEVEN
Discover the intruder.

TEN
Battle the alien force.

NINE
Agonize for the answer.

EIGHT
Desperate to be spared.

SEVEN
Consumed one by one.

SIX...FIVE...FOUR...THREE...

They will all die.
Unless something, anything stops

A TURMAN-FOSTER COMPANY PRODUCTION

JOHN CARPENTER'S

"THE THING"

starring KURT RUSSELL

Screenplay by BILL LANCASTER

Special Visual Effects by ALBERT WHITLOCK

Special make-up Effects by ROB BOTTIN

Music by ENNIO MORRICONE

Director of Photography DEAN CUNDEY

Associate Producer LARRY FRANCO

Executive Producer WILBUR STARK

Co-Producer STUART COHEN

Produced by DAVID FOSTER & LAWRENCE
TURMEN

Directed by JOHN CARPENTER

A UNIVERSAL PICTURE

Based on the story "Who Goes There?"
by JOHN W. CAMPBELL, JR.

THE THING

Copyright © 1982 by Universal Pictures, Inc.
All rights reserved.

A Bantam Spectra Book
First Printing February 1982
Second Printing July 1982

SPECTRA and the protrayal of a boxed "s" are trademarks of Bantam

Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted

in any form or by any other means, electronic or mechanical,

including photocopying, recording, or by any information

storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from

the publisher.

For information address: Bantam Books.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that

this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed"

to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received

any payment for this "stripped book"

ISBN 0-553-20477-7

Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam

Doubleday Dell publishing Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the

words "Bantam Books" and the protrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S.

Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada.

Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10103.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

CONTENTS

Title

Copyright

Dedication

About the Author

THE THING

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

For my niece, Shannon,

With a great deal of love,

And so the kids at school will finally believe

you . . .

The worst desert on Earth never gets hot. It boasts no towering sand dunes like the Sahara, no miles and miles of barren gravel as does the Gobi. The winds that torment this empty land make those that sweep over the Rub al Khali seem like spring breezes.

There are no venomous snakes or lizards here because there is nothing for them to poison. A bachelor wolf couldn't make a living on the slopes of its Vinson Massif. Even the insects shun the place. The birds who eke out a precarious life along its shores prefer to swim rather than fly, seeking sustenance from the sea rather than a hostile land. Here live seals that feed on other seals, microscopic krill that support the world's largest mammals. Yet it takes acres to support a single bug.

A mountain named Erebus stands cloaked in permanent ice, but burns with the fires of hell. Elsewhere the land itself lies crushed beneath the solid ice up to three miles thick. In this frozen waste, this gutted skeleton of a continent unlike any other, only one creature stands a chance of surviving through the winters. His name is Man, and like the diving spider he's forced to carry his sustenance on his back.

Sometimes Man imports other things to Antarctica along with his heat and food and shelter that would not have an immediate impact on an impartial observer. Some are benign, such as the desire to study and learn, which drives him down to this empty wasteland in the first place. Others can be more personal and dangerous. Paranoia, fear of open places, extreme loneliness; all can hitch free and unwelcome rides in the minds of the most stable of scientists and technicians.

Usually these feelings stay hidden, locked away behind the need to concentrate on surviving hundred-mile-an-hour winds and eighty-below-zero temperatures.

It takes an extraordinary set of circumstances to transform paranoia into a necessary instrument for survival.

When the wind blows hard across the surface of Antarctica, the universe is reduced to simpler elements. Sky, land, horizon all cease to exist. Differences die as the world melts into blustery, homogeneous cream.

Out of that swirling, confused whiteness came a sound; the erratic buzzing of a giant bee. It cut through the insistent moan of the wind and it was too close to the ground.

The pilot let out an indecipherable oath as he fought the controls. The helicopter struggled to gain altitude. Whiskers fringed the man's cheeks and chin. His eyes were bloodshot and wild.

He should not have been walking, much less guiding a stubborn craft through wild air. Something unseen was compelling him, driving him. A recent horror. It overrode common sense and rational thought. There was no light of reason in the pilot's eyes. Only murder. Murder and desperation.

His companion was bigger, tending to fat. Normally he lived within the purview of a fine-grain microscope and composed lengthy dissertations on the nature of creatures too small to be seen by the naked eye.

But he was not hunting microbes now. His demeanor was anything but composed. There was nothing of scientific detachment in his voice as he shouted directions to the pilot while staring through a battered pair of Zeiss binoculars. Across his thighs rested a high-powered hunting rifle, the 4X scope mounted on it a clumsy parody of the elegant instruments he usually worked with.

He lowered the lenses and squinted into the blowing snow, then kicked open the door of the chopper and set the restraining brace to keep it open. The pilot growled something and his companion responded by raising the rifle. He checked to make sure there was a shell resting in the chamber. The two men argued madly, like children fighting over a plaything. But there was no note of play in their voices, no innocence in their eyes.

The wind caught the machine, throwing it sideways through the sky. The pilot cursed the weather and struggled to bring his craft back to an even keel.

Ahead and below, a dog turned to snarl at the pursuing helicopter. He was a husky and malamute mix, but still looked as out of place on that cold white surface as any mammal. He turned and jumped forward just as a shell exploded at his heels. The sound of the shot was quickly swallowed by the constant, uncaring wind.

The chopper dipped crazily in the whirlpool of wild air. It continued to fly too close to the ground. An inspector would have recommended revocation of its pilot's license on the spot. The pilot didn't give a damn what anyone watching might think. He didn't care about things like licenses anymore, now his sole concern in life was murder.

A second shot went wild and hit nothing but sky. The pilot slammed a fist into his friend's shoulder and pleaded for better aim.

Panting heavily, the dog topped an icy rise. It found itself confronting an alien outcropping. The sign had been beaten up by the weather but still stood, its foundation imbedded in ice as solid as stone. It shifted only slightly in the wind. It read:

BOOK: The Thing
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