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.
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.