"Frozen Hell" by John W. Campbell Jr. Review

In 1938, acclaimed science fiction author John W. Campbell published the novella Who Goes There?, about a team of scientists in Antarctica who discover and are terrorized by a monstrous, shape-shifting alien entity. The story would later be adapted into John Carpenter’s iconic movie The Thing (following an earlier film adaptation in 1951). The published novella was actually an abridged version of Campbell’s original story, called Frozen Hell, which had to be shortened for publication.

The copy I at least have a super long first word from the publishers about the author and what he wrote before and after this book came out. So it ended about that my copy was 300 pages long but the story itself was 150 pages. However I give my copy extra point for the fancy the illustrations which are pretty much super fun to look when you are read the story.

This book was was published in 1938 and when we look at this book from the 2020 perspective then we will see that this book isn’t that unique after all. Because because there are a lot of books and series / movies which are very similar in plots to this book. But when we look back at 1938 then this whole idea behind the plot was pretty fresh and not so overused as it is today. So keep that in mind.

This book since it was published in 1938 was more or less a part of the origin stories behind the whole alien concept we see today in movies, books and series.

As you can expect the characters in this book are pretty flat and boring. I personally had very hard time to separating them apart, because many of these characters are so much similar in behavior that it makes it hard to say who is who in this book. It almost feels like that the author didn’t care as much about the characters as he did about the whole plot. If you want me to be honest here I need to say that all character in this book feels like just different version of the same person.

The descriptions about the characters aren’t much better from the characters themselves. What the author does with the descriptions about the characters is pretty much “he have blue jeans on, and she have nice shoes on”.

The decisions which are taken by the character feels like decisions taken by a 2 year olds and not like decisions taken by scientist with hopefully some experience. 

Writing style is actually good. To be honest the writing the style was the best part of the whole book. The writing style was interesting, and it was keeping me interesting. But there are times where it felt like it was written by a 14 year old.

The dialogs in this book were pretty hard to follow up with, it almost felt like the author smoked too much weed before writing the dialogs in this book. Because there were times where the dialogs on the same page felt like the chapters were separating them.

I give this book 2 / 5

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