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Science Fiction novelette by Howard Waldrop. * * * * 1/2
My name is Paul Linberl. I am twenty-six years old, a graduate student in ornithology at the University of Texas, a teaching assistant. My name is not unknown in the field. I have several vices and follies, but I don't think foolishness is one of them.

The stupid thing for me to do would have been to follow her.

She stepped off the bus.

I followed her.

Mr. Linberl makes his fateful decision after an elderly woman sitting behind him on the bus recognizes a picture in a book he is reading.  The trouble is, the picture is of a dodo.

So, Linberl goes tooling off for the wilds of northern Mississippi looking for birds which were supposed to have become extinct 350 years ago.  He's jeopardizing his career on a wild goose dodo chase.  But I guess this is just something he has to do.  Read the story1 to find out if Linberl gets to print his article in Scientific American!

"The Ugly Chickens" won the 1980 Nebula Award for best novelette.  I thought I had originally read it in Omni magazine but I must have bought Terry Carr's Universe 10 anthology at some point and read it then.  Later on, Harry Turtledove made "The Ugly Chickens" his selection for Martin H. Greenburg's anthology My Favorite Science Fiction Story.

Good choice, Harry. "The Ugly Chickens" is one of those stories that makes science fiction worth all the bother.

1For a time, the entire story is printed at http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/waldrop/.  Still under copyright by the author.

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