A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay – THE REVIEW

I wasn’t surprised by the existence of a book called A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay in the world. Or it’s painfully high sales ranking on Amazon. At only 15 pages, Hunter Fox’s story of dinosaur homosexuality may be, word for word, the most profitable piece of writing of the year. But I did wonder, aloud on Twitter, why it was so successful. I should not have been surprised to be sent an intelligent answer.

Phronk writes odd speculative fiction, such as his first novel, Stars and Other Monsters: The Last Vampire Novel. He writes a lot of odd things, actually. He wrote a PhD dissertation about the psychology of horror films. He gets paid to write about technology and abuse words like “synergy,” “leverage,” and “utilize.” Buy enough of his novels and he’ll stop inflicting that on the world. He also wrote Baboon Fart Story, an experiment in publishing. John Scalzi sarcastically called it “arguably the highest achievement of humanity.” That blog, Putting Weird Things in Coffee, about putting weird things in coffee? That is also written by Phronk. As is Phronk.com, strangely enough.

“it seems like there might be an important message about race and economic inequality hidden in this story about financially-savvy dinosaurs taking over the world”

I HAVE no idea what kind of dinosaur the billionaire is in Hunter Fox’s short story A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay. Other works of cryptozoological erotic literature, such as Christie Sims’ Taken by the T-Rex, explore the logistical challenges of initiating and carrying out sexual relations with a dinosaur. Fox, however, takes a more minimalist approach. All that matters is that the billionaire is gay for humans; it’s almost incidental that he is also a vaguely greenish-purple thing with claws.

The helicopter pilot is definitely a pterodactyl though.

Fox describes himself as “growing into an experienced novelist,” despite none of his stories being over 15 pages long. His confusion with the word “novel” extends to many other words as well. He uses commas like they’re going extinct, and seems to find the most awkward way to word a sentence before committing it to e-paper. Observe:

“I grabbed his cock with my hands and began rubbing it in circles while I sucked on his shaft.”

I picture some kind of “pat your head while rubbing your tummy” thing going on here, but I’m really not sure what is supposed to be happening.

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Perhaps the writing can be forgiven if there is an underlying meaning to it all. Indeed, it seems like there might be an important message about race and economic inequality hidden in this story about financially-savvy dinosaurs taking over the world. We learn early on that the main character, John, has a father who is a bigot and can’t tolerate dinosaurs in positions of power. However, if we follow the real-world analogue too far, it gets very questionable very quickly. The billionaire dinosaur is just as bigoted (“how do you think we as a species have risen so quickly to the top?” he asks rhetorically, apparently referring to all dinosaurs as a species), and John later comes to agree with his intolerant father. Awkward.

So I’ll be clear: A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay has no intrinsic redeeming qualities. It is horribly written, morally questionable, and even the sex in it seems like an afterthought.

But there’s something appealing about all this, isn’t there?

The title alone is delightful, tapping into deep-seated cynicism about post-50-Shades erotica and today’s publishing industry. Its unjustifiably high Amazon ranking delights and frustrates traditional authors and self-published authors alike. And the horrid writing only underscores how ridiculous it is that this bizarre artifact even exists.

There is an underlying meaning to it all, but it lies in the reactions to the book rather than the book itself. Just look at the reviews, which are more enjoyable to read than the story, but could not have existed without the story having been written. The mere fact that it is successful has meaning and appeal. It’s the Kardashian of crappy erotica.

I found a similar extraction of delight from the terrible when I wrote Baboon Fart Story (a novel consisting of the word “fart” printed 100,000 times), and saw its own hilarious reviews. My pal Leonard Delaney taps into it with his “erotica by a virgin” series. There are many other examples, and I dig deeper into the ironic enjoyment of crappy things over on my blog.

A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay probably isn’t worth three bucks to the average person, but its existence is a wonderful, and maybe even important, thing. Let’s mock it, sure, but we’re getting enjoyment out of that mockery, so if the point of a book is to entertain, Hunter Fox has done an admirable job.

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There is no such thing as exposure

There is one absolute and inalienable fact about creativity; your success as a creator is 100% dependent on how good you are.

I say this as a pre-cursor to talking about one of the most pernicious problems creators are faced with. Being asked to work for free.

The shady types who make these requests rarely phrase it this way. Instead, like Juan Luis Garcia, who provided concepts for Spike Lee’s new Oldboy movie for free, you’re asked to work in exchange for “exposure”.

There is no such thing as “exposure”. if you believe there is, as many creators and artists of all kinds clearly do, it means you are operating on a faulty paradigm. And the cause of that fault is not understanding the opening statement of this blog.

Your success as a creator is 100% dependent on how good you are.

The entire concept of exposure is built on the denial of this fact. On the assumption that your writing, or artwork, or music, or app, is already good enough. And that the only reason it hasn’t rocketed to the lofty heights of success we all dream of is that it hasn’t had the right “exposure”.

It is so much easier to believe this. Because as long as you can keep telling yourself that “exposure” is the problem, you can duck the hard truth. You aren’t good enough. Not yet. And the only way to change that are the hours of hard work and toil it takes to get good at any creative discipline.

So much easier instead to focus on “exposure”. So much easier to blame nepotism in your industry, or a lack of money and time, or any of the forms of self delusion creators place between themselves and that absolute and inalienable truth: your success as a creator is 100% dependent on how good you are.

If anyone ever asks you to create in exchange for “exposure”, say no. Don’t explain yourself or bother negotiating. If they come back with an offer worth the value of your creation, then OK. Otherwise don’t waste your time. Instead, get back to your studio or desk or wherever it is you do the hard work of creating, and get better.