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Literature / Cretaceous Roulette

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Cretaceous Roulette is a three-part short story by DeviantArt user "Agahnim" (real name: Jonathan Kane). The story follows a group of time travelers (Stephanie, Ahiga, Clay, Cerie, Stanislav and Karl) who travel back to the Cretaceous period to capture a Saurornitholestes (Called "The Stranger" in the narrative). It's all going smoothly until members of the group start mysteriously vanishing...

The author has said that the story "can be considered a reaction against the way dinosaurs are most often depicted in fiction. (Terra Nova, I’m looking at you.) It’s also a commentary on a lot of other aspects of human society, particularly the relationship between science and the media."


Part One Part Two Part Three

The story provides examples of:

  • Downer Ending: Word of God admits that it was meant to be open to interpretation, but with several of the main characters being RetGoned and the strong implication that the entire human race is doomed to suffer the same fate, the ending certainly doesn't feel too uplifting.
  • Five-Token Band: The time travelers.
  • Husky Russkie: Stanislav.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Karl is full of it.
  • Jerkass: Stanislav. He tortures small animals, does his best to make Clay and Cerie uncomfortable on their first day on the job, and generally acts like a bigoted asshole throughout the story.
  • Karmic Death: More like Karmic Ret-Gone for Stanislav.
  • Kick the Dog: Stanislav enjoys making the eutherians suffer as much as possible while feeding them to the Stranger.
  • Kissing Cousins: Stanislav thinks this is going on between Clay and Cerie, for no reason other than their race.
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  • Lawful Stupid: Karl will follow orders even if it means erasing humanity from existence.
  • Magical Native American: Played with. Stephanie wonders whether the Navajo (Including Ahiga) have inherent tracking skills. Karl dismisses this idea as racist.
  • Mistaken for Racist: Stephanie.
  • Multinational Team: The crew includes Stephanie (White American), Stanislav (Russian), Ahiga (Navajo Native American), Karl (Chinese), Clay, and Cerie (African American). This is lampshaded early on in part one.
  • No True Scotsman: Karl can't wrap his head around the fact that a communist would harbor racist attitudes.
  • Only Sane Man: Stephanie.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Karl gets offended when Stephanie mentions the genetic differences between geographically isolated groups of people.
  • Prehistoria: Averted. "The world 75 million years ago did not look that different from the present, really. There were none of the smoking volcanoes or steamy jungles that everyone liked to imagine it having."
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  • Prehistoric Monster: Averted. The largest prehistoric creature the team encounters is the size of a coyote. Stephanie makes it very clear that prehistoric earth is nothing like Jurassic Park.
  • Raptor Attack: Played with. Stanislav takes advantage of this trope to make Clay and Cerie feel uncomfortable, but the dromaeosaurs featured in the story don't hunt in packs, nor do they pose much of a danger to humans. Unfortunately, the company skimped on research and considers all "Raptors" "danger class three or higher". Even little Microraptor.
  • Ret-Gone: What happens to Ahiga, Clay, Cerie, Stanislav and possibly the entire human race.
  • Shown Their Work: Among other things, much of the behavior of the Saurornitholestes is based on actual published research, such as the discovery of trace fossils showing deinonychosaurs digging for prey and biomechanic studies on the range of motion and potential functions of dromaeosaurid hands.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Averted. How many people have heard of Saurornitholestes?
  • Title Drop: In part 3.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future
  • The Web Always Existed: Averted when Clay tries to update Facebook.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Stanislav beats up on Stephanie.
  • Xenofiction: The sequences told from the Stranger's point of view.


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