In his afterword to Avram Davidson’s short story ‘Full Chicken Richness’ in the Avram Davidson Treasury (1998), Gardner Dozois says it is one of two science fiction stories centred on the extinct dodo bird. The other, Dozois says, he won’t mention but leaves as a puzzle for the reader.

This puzzle stumped me, so: what is the other story? The only criteria we have are that it must have been published before 1998, possibly before 1997 depending on how long the book spent in press, and centres on the dodo.

  • Alice meets a dodo, but I don't know if you'd say it's central to the story.
    – DavidW
    Feb 18 at 4:09
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    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 19 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


Howard Waldrop's The Ugly Chickens won the 1980 Nebula for best novelette and 1981 World Fantasy Award for short fiction. It's about an ornithologist who encounters someone by chance who mentions not seeing those birds since she was a girl when she sees a picture of a Dodo in a book he's holding.

"I haven't seen any of those ugly chickens in a long time," said a voice close by.
A grey-haired lady was leaning across the aisle toward me.
I looked at her, then around. Maybe she was a shopping-bag lady. Maybe she was just talking. I looked straight at her. No doubt about it, she was talking to me. She was waiting for an answer.
"I used to live near some folks who raised them when I was a girl," she said. She pointed.
I looked down at the page my book was open to.
What I should have said was: "That is quite impossible, madam. This is a drawing of an extinct bird of the island of Mauritius. It is perhaps the most famous dead bird in the world. Maybe you are mistaking this drawing for that of some rare Asiatic turkey, peafowl, or pheasant. I am sorry, but you are mistaken."

It can be read online (with terrible formatting, alas) here

  • 1
    It can also be read in several collections that can be borrowed (for free but registration required) from the Internet Archive: archive.org/search?query=ugly+chickens
    – user14111
    Feb 18 at 4:03
  • Those are hardly the only two science fiction stories centred on the dodo bird. No doubt you're right that Waldrop's "Ugly Chickens" was what Dozois had in mind.
    – user14111
    Feb 18 at 8:06

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