I am trying to identify the author and title of a short story with the following plot.

A scientist narrates a story where s/he is called in to help the army investigate an unexplained phenomena. The army has cordoned off an area where a prairie home has appeared. It is surrounded by a dome that allows things to enter but not to leave. Briefing the scientist, the Army explains that it appears that it is a family of five with mother, father, son, daughter, and grandfather. They look completely normal and live an idyllic life of the 40s or 50s.

They continue to send probes in to investigate the dome and its proprieties. Not sure if this a time anomaly or another dimension.

An Army lieutenant, so enamored by their life runs through the barrier to join the family. The Family faces split into an unnaturally wide smile full of sharp teeth runs towards him and tears him to pieces & eats him. The grandfather then looks up acts as if he can see the forces gathered outside the barrier. He then retrieves a book and it looks as if he reads it out loud and the house and barrier disappear. The narrator worries that the aliens will return.

1 Answer 1


"Window" (1980) by Bob Leman.

From Project Gutenberg:

The plot of the story involves the discovery of a three-dimensional window on a Victorian-style house and family. The window is created in a minor military research experiment that goes awry. [...]

... their surprise turns to horror when the youngest member of the Victorian family rushes towards the man who crossed over, leaps for his throat... [..]

Before the researchers know what to do, the man in the Victorian-era window takes a thick, worn, Bible-like book, chants some words, and the window vanishes.

Also a Night Visions TV episode named "A View Through the Window/Quiet Please" (2001).

  • 1
    Text is available at the Internet Archive, as well as the original scan.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 15:00
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    In TV version a very interesting question (to me) is why the woman acts momentarily friendly to the Pullman character -- perhaps like the female firefly who "fakes" attractive signals to males of a different species, it is a predatory behavior -- she puts the human at ease long enough to get close. In the story, someone observes that despite their appearance, the creatures of this other dimension are less related to humans than spiders although that is quite a conclusion based on little evidence.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 19:15
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    @releseabe Just watched the episode and read the story from the link above. In the story, they are definitely grotesque and move with a "scuttling motion" and elicit comparisons not to spiders but to fleas ("she leapt at him with the agility and eye-dazzling quickness of a flea") and reptiles ("She watched with eyes as cold as a reptile’s").
    – Andres F.
    Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 13:39
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    @AndresF. Hard to imagine which is worse: to be flea or spiderlike. I think fleas are terrible things while spiders seem to have at least some sort of sentience.
    – releseabe
    Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 19:49
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    @AndresF. Never been bitten by a spider afaik but once i visited a house too soon post fumigation (for a dog had previously lived there). The fleas were biting in their death throes and I itched for a month iirc.
    – releseabe
    Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 23:26

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