First, thanks to everyone for the appreciative comments on "Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs". I wrote it to entertain you, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
As usual, I've put up a clearinghouse page about the story on my web site. I'm also trying something new with this story and putting up a deleted scene. I toyed with the idea of doing this for "Mallory", but the deleted scene from "Mallory" was deleted because it was boring. This is a fun scene that I had to delete because it became non-canon.
I was really tempted to use the image described here on my clearinghouse page, but that would have been tragically misleading. No mere words could ever be that awesome.
The contract I signed gives the story exclusively to Strange Horizons for 60 days, but after that I plan to release the story under a CC license. I'm working out the details with the editors now to avoid any confusion later.
Now some behind-the-scenes. My friend Kate Lascoutx, student and tutor of classical literature, came up with many of the dinosaur names in the story, especially "alethinosaur" ("truthiness lizard") and "bradupeithid" ("slow-stepper"). She also came up with an incredible name that I couldn't use ("Diopteron" - "brilliant flyer"). I asked Kate for these names and came up with my own (Thymomenoraptor is mine, thanks to an online Greek dictionary) to avoid the impression that dinosaur evolution stopped dead when the story's dinosaurs left Earth. New names that are still obviously dinosaur names accomplished this to my satisfaction without making it a huge plot point.
The main trigger for "Awesome Dinosaurs" was a certain class of rejection letter that corresponds to about #11 on the Context of Rejection: "This story didn't quite grab me." Or its less positive sibling, "Nice story, but it didn't work for me." I get this rejection letter a lot, and at one point in a Jamsetji Tata-esque fit of pique I said, "I will write a story about dinosaurs who drive monster trucks! Maybe that will grab you!"
"Write what you know" is a common cliche, and writing what you know will get you a coherent story but not, I find, one that goes around grabbing editors. I find my stories do much better when I write what I love. I know a thing or two about politics and asteroid mining and secret societies, but my stories on those topics aren't selling, and I'm starting to think it's because I don't love those things as much as I love the Internet, or video games, or dinosaurs.
The other influence, as I've mentioned before, was my disappointment that de Camp's classic story "A Gun For Dinosaur" is not about a dinosaur who buys a gun. I'd pictured it as a children's story, like "A House For Hermit Crab". The first scene of "Awesome Dinosaurs" is what I was hoping for from that story.
Finally, big thanks to my writing group for workshopping the story back in October, and to Jed for his editing comments.
Calca 1: One of my favorite Amar Chitra Katha comics is the one about Jamsetji Tata, founder of Indian megacorp Tata. It repeats a story (the accuracy of this story has been disputed) about an "unsavoury incident" that spurred Tata to build the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai around the turn of the 20th century (you may know this hotel as the one attacked in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks). I'd give you a picture of the panel, but Sumana has the digital camera, so here's a transcript.
Sign: ENTRY FOR EUROPEANS ONLY
Random Guy: Can't you read? You are not allowed in this hotel!
Jamsetji Tata: I will build the best hotel in this country!
Two panels later he's buying land for the hotel, and still going:
Guy #1: This is a good piece of land.
Guy #2: Yes! Beautiful view, fresh air.
Jamsetji Tata: I will build the best hotel in Asia.
The great thing about this attitude is its applicability to a wide variety of situations, not just to foreigners building foreigner-only hotels in your country.
My favorite ACK of all time is the one about Suyya, aka Annapati Suyya, a civil engineer and early proponent of crowdsourcing. I'll write about him later, but that's definitely a comic book worth owning.