“Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse” by Andy Duncan

February 27, 2008 at 11:16 am (science fiction and fantasy, Short stories)

eclipse.jpg At present, I’m being greatly entertained by the stories in Eclipse One, which bills itself as an anthology of “new science fiction and fantasy.” In“Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse,” a precocious, eccentric Southern girl is brought together with a world-weary Catholic priest. In this story, Andy Duncan creates a scenario that is at the same time heartbreaking and hilarious. And it’s based on an incident that actually happened in the 1930’s and has been captured on film!

I read a review of Eclipse One as I was finishing Best American Short Stories 2007. Two terrific stories in that collection, “The Boy in Zaquitos” and “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” contain supernatural elements. The great pleasure I derived from reading them convinced me that it’s time – finally! – to take a look at what’s currently happening in the field of science fiction and fantasy. I have to say, I really like what I’m seeing. The originality, the quality of the writing, and the frequent and very welcome presence of wit and humor are all causes for celebration. (I’m primarily interested in short stories at the moment. Recommendations are welcome.)

I have more to read in Eclipse One, but I couldn’t wait to recommend “Reverse Chicken.” Among its other virtues, it features a really nifty surprise at the end, when the author reveals the true identity of the girl with the miraculous chicken.

Here is a poem by Andy Duncan entitled “The Genetic Engineer Throws a Cocktail Party and Drinks Too Much: A Sestina.”

aduncan.jpg [Andy Duncan]

9 Comments

  1. bluestar said,

    hi,
    do you know where on the internet i can read this story?
    pleae help me!

  2. Roberta Rood said,

    bluestar,

    It’s been my experience that contemporary short stories are virtually impossible to find full text online. This seems to be true, at least, of those that have been published by a commercial publisher.

  3. bluestar said,

    so you mean i have to buy the paper print? but it is a short story, in wich magazine or book is it published? do you know ?
    thank you for your reply

  4. bluestar said,

    hey i just found it in here:
    http://www.nightshadebooks.com/
    it’s a good site, i thought maybe you like it:D if you are a big science fiction fan like me.

  5. Roberta Rood said,

    Many thanks, bluestar, for finding this and passing it along!

  6. The beauteous Valley of the Hudson River, with a brief digression on the subject of chicken love « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] (I was likewise put in mind of Any Duncan’s wildly inventive story “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse.”) […]

  7. Big (or at least, interesting) doings at small presses « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] I already knew about  Night Shade Books from their excellent anthology, Eclipse One. Come to find out, Eclipse Two has recently been released by these inventive folks. Some the writers in these collections have a marvelous sense of the absurd; see “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse.” […]

  8. Celsius1414 said,

    A great story, memorable even without the “revelatory” ending, but emotionally satisfying with it.

    There’s an interview with Duncan about the story at Nightshade Books:

    http://tinyurl.com/AndyDuncanInterview

    • Roberta Rood said,

      Thanks for the comment, and the info concerning the interview. I”ve reserved Eclipse One at the library, so I can have another look at it.

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