I cannot find this short story about a lizard race who wants to help humans with advanced tech and evolved ideas.

The main thread of the story is to send a girl (and many other people) to another part of the galaxy. In that remote place, they will be trained and learn for years, before to be transmitted back to Earth. They put the girl on a machine, her body and brains are scanned and transmitted far away. When it is done, the "original" girl can be safely discarded.

But something went bad and for some fail, the girl was transmitted, but the original copy also stayed... terrified. For the reptiles this is just a bug on the system that can happen from time to time. The easy fix is to kill the original girl and discard the remains. For the girl... It is her life and she wants to desperately survive...

I think the tittle was something similar to "Think like a reptile", but cannot find it by googling.

Help appreciated to identify the book and author


2 Answers 2


"Think Like a Dinosaur" by James Patrick Kelly

The story postulates a transportation device (supervised by a dinosaur-like race of aliens) which can transmit an exact copy of a person's body to distant planets. The original body is disintegrated once reception at the destination is confirmed. In the story a woman is teleported to an alien planet, but the original is not disintegrated because reception cannot be confirmed at the time. Reception is later confirmed, and the original, not surprisingly, declines to "balance the equation" by re-entering the scanning and disintegrating device. This creates an ethical quandary which is viewed quite differently by the cold-blooded aliens who provided the teleportation technology, and their warm-blooded human associates.

I remember it from it coming up while answering Novel where power outage causes teleportation accident and the version on the sending side survives and becomes a fugitive

  • In the end the main character (one of the human associates) kills the woman by ejecting her from an airlock, and then is compelled to meet her again on her return to Earth.
    – DavidW
    Jan 4, 2020 at 5:36
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    Oh, great! It was dinosaur instead of reptile. I can remember almost the whole history but not the title... Weird
    – zameb
    Jan 4, 2020 at 7:34
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    This was also an episode of one of the The Outer Limits, with the same name as the story, which was what I immediately thought of upon reading the question. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Upper_Case
    Jan 5, 2020 at 0:10

Reminiscent of James Patrick Kelly "Think Like A Dinosaur".


The element of a failed transmission leaving the original behind is certainly present.

There is a plot summary here: http://www.supersummary.com/think-like-a-dinosaur/summary/

  • Yes, is that one! +1. Had to pick one as right answer tho
    – zameb
    Jan 4, 2020 at 7:35

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