Resistance is Futile: Peter Watts’s “The Things”

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Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Peter Watts’s “The Things,” first published in the January 2010 issue of Clarkesworld. Spoilers ahead.

Trigger warning for rape as a (possibly very apt) metaphor.


“Mutinous biomass sloughed off despite my most desperate attempts to hold myself together: panic-stricken little clots of meat, instinctively growing whatever limbs they could remember and fleeing across the burning ice.”


The scene is Antarctica, and a US research station in turmoil. Our narrator gives no name for itself but many names for the “skins” it’s currently “being”: Blair escaping into a rising storm, Copper rising from the dead, Childs guarding the main entrance. Not that names matter; all biomass is interchangeable.

This world ...