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Greetings Strange fam! You know, back in May, when there was a pandemic and stuff, I thought things would be different in August. By then, I thought the pandemic would be completely gone. We would find our masks, stuffed in the back of a drawer, and we would laugh a silvery laugh as we threw them away. We would no longer feel "that way" about hand sanitizer. Fam, those were naive and stupid thoughts. The pandemic is still here. I currently live a hop, skip, and a jump away from over a hundred containment zones. And this one kid who lives nearby starts screaming whenever she sees me wearing a mask. (She could just be screaming at me in general. That’s probably what she’s doing, now that I think about it.)

Anyhoo, I thought this would be a good time to revisit some nice, old-time radio sci-fi. There is something very comforting and harmless about this kind of sci-fi; aliens were usually just bipeds with accents and outer space was filled with woowoo sounds. It was a gentler time. Today, we are going to listen to something called A Gun for Dinosaur from X Minus One. This first aired on March 7, 1956. And if we’re lucky, it will feature outer space, woowoo sounds, and a dinosaur with a gun. Let’s do this!


First, we have an ad for a new NBC show which doesn’t sound that interesting to me because I am not from America.

Why do I think that a show called "A Gun for Dinosaur" will be about outer space though?

We open with a … bar? And Mr. Rivers ordering a whiskey with no soda or ice.

Mr. Rivers organizes safaris into different time periods and the other guy is Mr. Something. That’s not very nice of me but anyway.

Mr. Something was hoping to get himself a dinosaur head, but Mr. Rivers says he’s too small. Which seems kind of rude, no?

Wouldn’t you need an awfully big wall to put up a dinosaur head? And wouldn’t it smell?

Mr. Rivers thinks Mr. S is too small to handle a big gun, like a gun for shooting elephants, for example.

Ew don’t shoot elephants what the fuck!

I have a sinking feeling there will be no woowoo outer space or aliens with English accents. This is making me more upset than it should.

Now Mr. Rivers is telling us a story about how he used to be in partnership with a … did he say a raja?

“He’s the hereditary monarch of Zhanpoor.” Fuck my life.

Well, they ran safaris using a time machine which was half-used for science and half-used for big game hunting. That is an interesting use for a time machine.

We now meet Mr. James who is a dude, like a real dude dude with a blonde named Bunny and everything.

Bunny apparently wants to come for a safari but ladies are not allowed because boobies.

I wasn’t hoping for much really. A small flying saucer. Mars, or the moon. A woowoo here. A pew-pew there.

Mr. James can’t understand why Bunny can’t go. After all she skis! She flies his airplane!

Mr. Rivers was like she can’t come and Mr. James said well, let me tell you and then he didn’t say anything.

Now some other dude has entered the office. He is a grocer and building a new house and he’s getting married. Congratulations bro!

I didn’t catch his name tho. Maybe we can call him Upcoming Grocer Dude.

Upcoming Grocer Dude wants a triceratops head so he is now practicing with the big gun and failing spectacularly.

Now that he has failed at shooting the gun, they are heading out to shoot some dinosaurs. GOOD PLAN!

Mr. James has arrived because he fought with Bunny so all the dudes are now going to enter the time machine and have a dude party with the dinosaurs.

And they’re off!

And they have arrived! Nice!

Wait, they sent the time machine back??? Omg, why though?

Somebody has shot something.

It’s Mr. James. He was not supposed to shoot but he is living his best life and saying I’ll shoot whatever I want because I’m Mr. James.

Now the Upcoming Grocer Dude is getting ready to shoot something but Mr. James has shot instead because he does not play well with others.

Must be cool to be a dude like Mr. James, no? It’s my dream actually.

Now they are going around being hunters but not actually shooting anything.

The Upcoming Grocer Dude has decided that he’d be happy with just a Duckbill head. I don’t know what that is.

When you Google Duckbill Dinosaurs, the first thing that comes up is an article that says "Enough with the Duckbill Dinosaurs." I had no idea it was such a sensitive topic.

Mr. James has once again shooted his shot and been a jerk.

Now they are all fighting and Mr. James said you call yourselves hunters and I’m the only one hitting anything and you know what fam? He’s not wrong.

Now they have found a dead triceratops.

Mr. James, who was not supposed to shoot anything, has once again shot something.

They are now being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which sounds like these suction toilets they had at Camp Caroline, waaaaay back in the day.

The Upcoming Grocer Dude is trying to kill this T. Rex and his gun is literally going pew pew pew.

RIP Upcoming Grocer Dude.

They are now going to track the T. Rex so they can collect his remains.

They have given up trying to collect his remains.

Mr. James said you shouldn’t have just left me here and then Mr. Rivers called him a stinking little swine and now they are fighting.

Mr. James is pointing his gun at them. Why does he want to kill them but? How will he get back? Think this through Mr. James!

“They can’t hold you for a murder 85 million years old. The statute of limitations you know.” Again fam, not wrong.

Unfortunately, Mr. James has been knocked out and now they are going to tie him up.

The time machine has returned.

Who goes back in time to hunt dinosaurs and sends the time machine back once they get there? I mean really.

Now Mr. James is like, I’m going to get you someday. For what though I don’t know.

When they returned, Mr. James went on his way and the other dudes paid everyone off and became broke. Why were they paying people off? Eh who cares.

Now some other guy is waiting to get a dinosaur head and he was waiting for the time machine and he said, hey Mr. James was just here because he left his wallet back 85 million years ago and it contained important papers so he is heading back there now to get it.

How can you not laugh at that?

Mr. James has gone back to when he dropped the wallet? I think? But everyone thinks he’s really waiting there to kill them so that then, when they go back in the past, he will be there to kill them even though that will happen in the future. I don’t know what’s happening, if I’m honest.

The time machine has now returned with some sort of mash which is Mr. James.

This is what happens when you create a time paradox. You get mashed by space-time forces.

“You’re not big enough to handle a gun for dinosaur.” THE END.

Wow. What the actual fuck you guys.


Stories about time travel and dinosaurs are sometimes fun and sometimes they are like this. On the bright side, Raja didn’t have a weird accent or strange “Indian” quirks so I was not compelled to rant about authentic representation et al., and I think that’s something we can all be thankful for, no?



Kuzhali Manickavel's collections Things We Found During the Autopsy, Insects Are Just like You and Me except Some of Them Have Wings, and chapbooks The Lucy Temerlin Institute for Broken Shapeshifters Guide to Starving Boys and Eating Sugar, Telling Lies are available from Blaft Publications, Chennai. Her work has also appeared in Granta, Strange Horizons, Agni, Subtropics, Michigan Quarterly Review, and DIAGRAM. She used to blog at http://thirdworldghettovampire.blogspot.com/. She's now at https://www.kuzhalimanickavel.com.
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