Fanfic / Unfinished Business
is a fan-made continuation of John Carpenter
's 1982 horror film The Thing
along its 2011 prequel
of the same title which was written by John Alexander Hitchcock
. While it is not the first attempt to pick up where the Carpenter film left off (officially there was both a comic book and video game sequel, unofficially there are countless other fanfics that also did this), but it was a deliberate attempt to break from the styles of such narratives, replacing the bleak atmosphere of the original films with an atmosphere of hope and optimism.
The narrative picks up where the 1982 film ended. Mac and Childs are the lone survivors of Outpost 31, and have been left stranded in the snow waiting to inevitably freeze to death. However, this does not come to pass, as a nearby Russian camp (the camp mentioned in the 2011 prequel) has spotted the fire and arrives with a medical team. Both men are carried back to the camp. Mac and Childs are initially paranoid of each other, but to their surprise, the Russians have reason to believe them. It turns out that a complete stranger by the name of Kate Lloyd had arrived only a few days earlier telling a similar story. For the sake of everyone's well-being, a blood test is performed on everyone, all of whom turn out to be human. Mac, Childs, and Kate realize that they now have the upper hand in the conflict, and with a series of precautions and the aid of the Russian base commander Yuri and doctor/biologist Vladimir, proceed to erect a plan to destroy the Thing once and for all- or at least to keep any future explorers from finding it.
Read it here
, though it is worth mentioning that it is really long.
A prequel story, titled Irina's Memoir
has also been published. This one chronologically takes place just after the 2011 prequel and during the start of the 1982 film. This story is written in the first-person as a recollection of Kate's arrival at the Russian camp, also providing a small amount of character development for Irina herself and some of the other Russians.
Provides Examples Of:
- The Alcoholic: Mac, naturally, given his character in the film. Also several of the Russians are seen drinking, though Miroslav is the only person who seems to do so excessively.
- Ambiguous Situation: The ending suggests the possibility that the Thing might not be entirely dead, but whether that is the case is for the reader to decide.
- And the Rest: Applied to Copper in this paragraph, for some reason:
MacReady nodded in understanding. He could recall a few times having help Nauls in the kitchen, often having to help wash the dishes alongside his teammates. Sometimes all of them- Blair, Fuchs, Garry, Bennings, Windows, Childs, Palmer, Norris, Clark and the rest would be helping Nauls with something.
- Ascended Extra: Pavel and Alexei, both characters who barely got a mention in Unfinished Business, have a much more prominent role in Irina's Memoir. Irina herself was also a supporting role in the Unfinished Business but became the protagonist of her own story.
- Bury Your Gays: Averted. Irina is the only explicitly gay character and she survives the events of both stories. In fact in Irina's Memoir it's even suggested she at least still keeps in touch with her girlfriend.
- Dramatic Irony: While exploring the Norwegian camp, Vladimir finds a body in a closet. Kate is unable to recognize it but suspects it could be Lars. Anyone who has seen both films knows that Lars was the only other survivor of the Norwegian camp.
- The Cameo: A somewhat interesting case in that several characters from the films make cameos- Clark, Copper, Windows, Bennings, Fuchs, and Colin... as corpses. There was also the Griggs-Thing from the prequel.
- Changing of the Guard: The story is initially told from Mac's point of view, but gradually expands to the point where he's just one out of an ensemble cast, even spending a large chunk of the story hung over whilst Childs and Kate become the main focus. Kate also has more of a supporting role despite being the central focus of the 2011 prequel. In fact if anything, both end up being more closer to The Lancer, while the role they took in their respective films as a leader to their group ends up being taken by Yuri.
- Continuity Nod: Unfinished Business is full of references to the Carpenter film and the prequel. Irina's Memoir literally ends right at the beginning of Unfinished Business, which is right where the Carpenter film ends.
- Discontinuity Nod: At the end, a rescue team investigating the remains of Outpost 31 is accompanied by a Norwegian doctor named Jans Bolen. A deleted scene in the Carpenter film gave this name to the Norwegian who was shot in the opening scene. Since it wasn't in the final movie, the prequel renamed the character Lars.
- A deleted scene from the Carpenter film involved a second body in the Norwegian camp, which appears in this story.
- Fatal Family Photo: Yuri is seen looking at a picture of his wife before risking his life trying to level the Norwegian camp. Subverted in that he ultimately survives
- Jerk Ass: Miroslav, though it's implied that he is only really such when he's had a bit too much to drink.
- The End... Or Is It?: The rescue team arrives months later at what little is left of Outpost 31 and finds what is implied to be the remains of the Bennings-Thing. Either it is completely dead and what happened remains a mystery, or there is still cellular activity in it and they could be infected.
- The Captain: Yuri.
- Everybody Lives: Well, unless you count the corpses of the people who died in the films.
- Fanservice: At one point an unusually sexy Irina seduces Mac while wearing a sparkling bikini. Subverted when she reveals herself to be a Thing. Double subverted when it turns out to be All Just a Dream by a hung-over Mac, and the first thing he sees upon waking up is a rather plainly-dressed Irina.
- Follow the Leader: Averted. Many of the previous efforts at continuing the story were much darker, often involving one of the two survivors either being revealed as or implied to be a Thing.
- Foregone Conclusion: In Irina's Memoir, as soon as the woman arriving at the camp is revealed to be Kate, it becomes clear to anyone who previously read Unfinished Business that she's somehow going to end up locked in a bedroom.
- Old Hero, New Pals: Out of the 11-person cast, only Mac, Kate, and Childs actually appeared in either of the films, with everyone else being original. Justified by the fact that they were the only survivors of their respective films, meaning they were the only ones who actually could be used.
- Lovecraft Lite: Compared to the very Lovecraftian film it was based on.
- The Leader: Yuri serves as a type II, though Mac and Kate do have qualities of this taken from their respective films.
- Mysterious Antarctica: Naturally, given the source material.
- Not a Morning Person: Irina, at least whe she's woken up late at night.
- Noodle Incident: The full details regarding how Kate was imprisoned are never fully elaborated on, though its mentioned that she had attacked Irina out of paranoia and it is implied that she may have done one or two other things.
- This was addressed in Irina's Memoir where it was shown she had a nervous breakdown similar to that of Blair in the Carpenter film- but the Russians were able to stop her before she could do as much damage, then locked her in Yuri's room for her own protection.
- No Name Given: Yuri's wife in the original story. Irina's Memoir revealed her first name to be Natascha.
- Nuclear Option: Discussed, but ultimately subverted. Yuri suspects that a nuclear strike would be the only way to completely destroy The Thing, but he quickly realizes that a) you have to have a very good reason to order a nuclear strike and b) it would mean having to tell the outside world about "The Thing", perhaps getting attention from certain parties wanting to use it as a weapon or scientists getting a little bit too curious (thus getting the Thing a few steps closer to getting out of Antarctica).
- Only One Name: Everyone save Kate Lloyd and R.J. Macready. Justified, as Hitchcock was unsure of how to write realistic surnames for the Russian characters, and Childs' first name was never stated in the original film.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Irina emerging in an unusually sexy attire, breaking her usual shy character and talking to Mac in plain English when it was established she couldn't speak it. Justified, as this is an indication that it was a dream.
- P.O.V. Sequel: Irina's Memoir.
- Shout-Out: "It's a Thing from Another World".
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Everyone in the Russian expedition team was loosely inspired by a character from the Carpenter film, and inherited some traits of them, if only filling out a similar job. In order of appearance:
- Irina (Nauls) is the cook, also a minority among the team (a woman this time, rather than black)
- Vladimir (Copper/Blair) is a biologist and physician, and is also much older than the rest of the team.
- Yuri (Garry) is the base commander, though his character arc is ironically the opposite of Garry's.
- Ivan (Norris) is the team's Geologist. He also gets to visit the crater where the flying saucer was buried.
- Nicolae (Palmer) is a mechanic and helicopter pilot.
- Alexei (Windows) is the radio operator.
- Miroslav (Clark) is the dog handler. He's also quite anti-social and has a vaguely similar physique.
- Pavel (Bennings) is the meteorologist.
- Supreme Chef: Mac initially builds Irina up as one after trying some of her cooking. Justified as he's spent months in Antarctica eating canned meat and frozen vegetables so he probably has very low standards. Then again, Irina could just be a better cook than Nauls was.
- Take That!: The whole story originated from a discussion on the IMDB boards. After hearing a fan talking about an idea for a sequel in which the survivors of both the films end up in the Russian camp but have to fight against the Thing again, Hitchcock realized that it would just be repeating the previous films and get pretty tiring. However, he liked the idea of the Russian base and bringing together the survivors of both films, and came up with an alternate idea for a sequel in which Mac and Childs are rescued by the Russians but must confront their paranoia before figuring out how to destroy the Thing once and for all. The idea was laughed at by the other users, who argued that a sequel in which the Thing barely appeared would be incredibly stupid. He then realized that even if John Carpenter himself were to read his suggestion and use the idea it would likely get butchered by Executive Meddling, and so decided to write it himself to prove them wrong.
- Team Chef: Irina.
- Translation Convention: Out of the eight members of the Russian team, only Vladimir, Yuri, and Ivan speak English (and even then, only Yuri and Vladimir speak it fluently). As a result, any portions of the story focused on the Russian characters is meant to have them speaking their own language with their lines translated. This is made clear by the fact that translated dialogue is marked by curved brackets.
- Played straight in Irina's Memoir, where the whole story was told from the perspective of a Russian woman who doesn't speak English.
- What Could Have Been: Hitchcock had toyed with the idea of shipping Kate and Mac, but eventually decided against it. He also considered pairing Irina and Yuri, but rejected this idea, and just to enforce it, he made a note that said Yuri was already married, and Irina's Memoir revealed that she was secretly gay, and already in a relationship.
- A few ideas for sequels were considered, an early one being a concept that focused on the rescue team having to fight off the Thing, which would have ended with the last survivor escaping to the Russian camp only to realize he has been infected.
- Hitchcock also started writing another idea for a sequel, which would have updated the setting to the present day. The concept would have involved an approach in the vein of Aliens, wherein a Canadian expedition is suddenly attacked by the Thing and loses contact with a nearby supply camp. The base's second-in-command discovers that the Canadian post was located near the site of Outpost 31, leading them to call Mac, Childs, and Kate back to participate in a rescue mission alongside a small platoon of UN soldiers and a scientist named Dr. Carrington who may or may not have been descended from the character of the same name in The Thing from Another World. The team would arrive at the outpost and find one survivor amongst the Canadians, who would become a prime suspect of infection, but one of the soldiers turns out to have been assimilated, resulting in mass paranoia whilst Carrington would attempt to go to whatever lengths to study the Thing. The idea was abandoned as Hitchcock was dissapointed with the results.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Averted. While Yuri's usually shown as a decent man, he beats Kate pretty hard, though to be fair the latter had gone crazy and was destroying everything and needed to be stopped. He made up for it by giving her his room.
- Understatement: When it's mentioned that there were communication problems and Alexei couldn't reach Outpost 31, Irina said it was just as well because "they were having their own problems".