Not so much Dino-hate, Please!

At the risk of alienating my beloved fans who voted either for Sad Puppies or Rabid   and elevated my humble work to a world-record number of nominations, I would like to state something for the record.

A lot of us are ragging on Rachel Swirsky’s prose poem ‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love‘ which was Hugo nominated and won a Nebula for its category.

And, for the record, I for one do not think ‘If You Were a Dinosaur’ is bad. I do not think it is great, but tastes differ.

The author with admirable brevity of space establishes a gay and playful mood, using a stream of consciousness technique and adhere to a strict textual scheme (lifted from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE) and then fishtailing into a surprise ending that is poignant and moving, all within less than 1000 words.

More to the point, she did what she set out to do, and created the emotional effect she meant to create if a fashion I and other readers found memorable and moving. She hit the mark at which she aimed. Not every writer can say that.

It is not a great story, not the best of the year. I do not like it because it places technique above story telling — indeed there is no story at all, no characterization, nothing outside the vignette. But that, again, is a matter of taste. Some people do not like Shakespeare sonnets.

And her editor should have polished on or two roughs spots, which in a story so short are more obvious, have more ability to jar the reader out of suspension of disbelief.  One rough spot was the one-line depiction of the bigoted Southern bigots as ‘gin-soaked’ — this was lazy writing, laughably inept.  Gin in not what we drink in roughneck bars in the rural South.

Another was that in a racially motivated beating the racists usually know the name of the race they hate, and do not need to guess.

And, had I written it, I would have taken a different approach: but her muse is hers and mine is mine, and the realm of the imagination, being infinite, grants generous room to all.

But, please, the lady wrote a serviceable story that appealed to the tastes of many readers, and, of course, to the corrupt clique which gave her an undeserved award.

I hope I offend no Rabid Puppy by saying that, in a certain light, the story could be seen as above average, and showed originality and clear professional craftsmanship.

Let us give credit where credit is due.

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