This is a guest post by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam.
“Triceratops” by Kono Tensei, translated by David Lewis, is about a father and son, a dimensional fault which allows them to see dinosaurs roaming their suburb, and the triviality of modern life.
An English translation of a Japanese story, published in The World Treasury of Science Fiction (1989), edited by David G. Hartwell.
When an unnamed father and his son are biking back to their home in the suburbs one day, they see a giant shadow pass; they try and rationalize and figure out just what type of animal it could be. When they try and tell the boy’s mother what they saw, she insists that they are playing a joke on her and is more interested in the TV.
When the father and son realize that the creature they saw was in fact a triceratops, and when that triceratops appears again, it seems that everyone in their suburb is too invested in their TVs and their daily lives to notice the dinosaurs.
The story only gets stranger, and more unsettling, from there. It’s a subtle, powerful story with an ending that leaves you thinking, whether the story suits your tastes or not. Definitely one to read on a day when you feel like being challenged, and definitely one to read at least twice; the surface-level story is easy to absorb, and the writing is certainly unaffected, but it’s the below-the-surface meaning of the story, the buried concept, that takes some thinking over.
This story is one of my favorites.
Where to read “Triceratops”
- The World Treasury of Science Fiction is out of print, but you can buy a used copy on Amazon.
- The story is also available online, for free, here.
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s fiction has appeared in magazines such as Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Daily Science Fiction. She reviews short fiction at Short Story Review. Visit her website: www.bonniejostufflebeam.com.