Bizarro fiction

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Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird, and entertaining works. The term was adopted in 2005 by the independent publishing companies Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Press, and Afterbirth Books. Much of its community revolves around Eraserhead Press, which is based in Portland, Oregon, and has hosted the BizarroCon yearly since 2008. The introduction to the first Bizarro Starter Kit describes Bizarro as "literature's equivalent to the cult section at the video store" and a genre that "strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read."[1] According to Rose O'Keefe of Eraserhead Press: "Basically, if an audience enjoys a book or film primarily because of its weirdness, then it is Bizarro. Weirdness might not be the work's only appealing quality, but it is the major one."[2]

In general, Bizarro has more in common with speculative fiction genres (such as science-fiction, fantasy, and horror) than with avant-garde movements (such as Dadaism and surrealism), which readers and critics often associate it with.[3] While the genre may place an emphasis on the cult and outré, it is not without critical praise. Books by authors who have identified or have been identified as Bizarro have been praised by Lloyd Kaufman,[4] Michael Moorcock[5] and guardian.co.uk.[6] Bizarro novels have been finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award,[7][8] the Bram Stoker Award,[9] and the Rhysling Award.[10] A book of Bizarro criticism and theory was named Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2009 by 3:AM Magazine in Paris[11]

Origins[edit]

Bizarro literature can trace its roots at least as far back as the foundation of Eraserhead Press in 1999,[12] but the description of the literature as "Bizarro" is a more recent development. Previous terms used to refer to the burgeoning scene include "irreal"[13][14] and "new absurdism",[14] but neither of these was used broadly. On 19 June 2005, Kevin Dole II released "What The Fuck is This All About", a sort of manifesto for the then unnamed genre.[15][16][17] While the essay does not feature the word "Bizarro," subsequent discussion about the essay led to the name as well as the inauguration of the Mondo Bizarro Forum.

In his essay, "The Nab Gets Posthumously Bizarroized",[18] Tom Bradley traces the genre's roots back in literary history to the time of Vladimir Nabokov's "gogolization," and his cry of despair and horror at having his central nervous system colonized: "...after reading Gogol, one's eyes become gogolized. One is apt to see bits of his world in the most unexpected places."[19] Bradley claims the Bizarro movement is continuing and fulfilling that gogolization process, under the name "Bizarroization": "...we have been completing the preposterous project which [Nabokov] took over from Gogol nearly a hundred years ago.."[18] Bradley further asserts that Bizarro writers can trace their spiritual roots back to the letters which Ovid wrote while exiled on the Black Sea.[20][21]

Response[edit]

Author John Skipp and fellow small press author Eden Robins have written in praise of the do it yourself, self-promoting aesthetic.[22][23] Thirdeye Magazine, an online zine, reinforces the perception of Bizarro writing as purposefully absurd.[24] In the io9 article "Independent Publishers Who Are Reinventing The Future," co-editor Charlie Anders praised Bizarro publisher Eraserhead Press as one of their favorite independent presses.[25]

The British magazine Dazed & Confused stated that "The bastard sons of William Burroughs and Dr. Seuss, the underground lit cult of the Bizarros are picking up where the cyberpunks left off."[26]

Wonderland Book Award[edit]

The Wonderland Book Award honors the best in bizarro fiction each year. The award recognizes two categories: best novel/novella and best short story collection. The award is voted on[27] by bizarro authors and fans, and presented in the fall at BizarroCon.

Best Short Story Collection[edit]

2016: Berzerkoids – MP Johnson

2015: The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert – Rios de la Luz

2014: I'll Fuck Anything that Moves and Stephen Hawking – Violet LeVoit

2013: Time Pimp – Garrett Cook

2012: All-Monster Action – Cody Goodfellow

2011: We Live Inside You – Jeremy Robert Johnson[28]

2010: Lost in Cat Brain Land – Cameron Pierce[29]

2009: Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars – Cody Goodfellow

2008: Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere – Mykle Hansen

2007: 13 Thorns – Gina Ranalli

Best Novel/Novella[edit]

2016: I Will Rot Without You – Danger Slater

2015: Skullcrack City – Jeremy Robert Johnson

2014: Dungeons & Drag Queens – MP Johnson

2013: Motherfucking Sharks – Brian Allen Carr

2012: Space Walrus – Kevin L. Donihe

2011: Haunt – Laura Lee Bahr[28]

2010: By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends – J. David Osborne[30]

2009: Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland – Carlton Mellick III

2008: House of Houses – Kevin L. Donihe[31]

2007: Dr. Identity – D. Harlan Wilson[32]

Notable Bizarro Works[edit]

Most notable Bizarro works generally tend to come from the major Bizarro presses, most notably Eraserhead Press. Although there are many books that have qualities of Bizarro, such as William Burroughs Naked Lunch or Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves, a Bizarro work tends to be defined by its publication inside of the Bizarro scene, from between the years 2001, when the first Carlton Mellick III book was published, to the present.

Although Bizarro is a DIY genre that gets little media attention, a notable Bizarro work is often one that has broken past the barriers of the genre and received wider attention in literature and media.

Title Year Author Publisher ISBN Pages Notes
Satan Burger[33] 2001 Carlton Mellick III Eraserhead Press 9780971357235 236
The Baby Jesus Buttplug[34] 2003 Carlton Mellick III Eraserhead Press 0972959823 104
Angel Dust Apocalypse 2005 Jeremy Robert Johnson Eraserhead Press 0976249839 184

Authors[35][edit]

  • Querus Abuttu[36]
  • Andrew Wayne Adams
  • David Agranoff
  • Kirsten Alene Pierce
  • Forrest Armstrong
  • Michael A. Arnezn
  • Brian Auspice
  • Steve Aylett
  • Laura Lee Bahr
  • David W. Barbee
  • Duncan B. Barlow
  • Maxwell Bauman
  • Amanda Billings
  • Vincenzo Bilof
  • Lori Bowen
  • Christopher Boyle
  • Tom Bradley[37]
  • Dave Brockie
  • G Arthur Brown
  • Jeff Burk[38]
  • Justin A. Burnett
  • Hugo Camacho Cabeza
  • Leza Canotral
  • Lance Carbuncle
  • Brian Allen Carr
  • Nathan Carson
  • Shane T. Cartledge
  • Adam Cesar
  • Autumn Christian
  • Michael Cisco
  • Alan M. Clark
  • Scott Cole
  • Edmund Colell
  • John Wayne Comunale
  • Garrett Cook
  • Jase Daniels
  • Nicholas Day
  • Rios de la Luz
  • Robert Devereaux
  • Jaime Dunkle
  • Andre Duza
  • Russel Edson
  • Brian Evenson
  • Amber Fallon
  • Karl Fischer
  • Constance Ann Fitzgerald
  • Andy de Fonseca
  • Chris Genoa[39]
  • Eckhard Gerdes[40]
  • Garvan Giltinan
  • Larissa Glasser
  • J. F. Gonzalez
  • Matthew T. Granberry
  • Devora Gray
  • Gerri R. Gray
  • Jamie Grefe
  • Michael Griffin
  • Justin Grimbol
  • Nikki Guerlain
  • Douglas Hackle
  • Mykle Hansen
  • Eric Hendrixson
  • C.V. Hunt
  • Gabino Iglesias
  • Emma Alice Johnson[41]
  • Jeremy Robert Johnson
  • Kirk Jones
  • Stephen Graham Jones
  • Michael Kazepis
  • David James Keaton
  • John Edward Lawson
  • Michael Sean LeSueur
  • Edward Lee
  • Christopher Lesko
  • Marc Levinthal
  • D. F. Lewis
  • Kelby Losack
  • Steve Lowe
  • Tom Lucas
  • Nick Mamatas
  • Spike Marlowe
  • Eric Mays
  • Shane McKenzie
  • Chris Meekings
  • Carlton Mellick III[42]
  • Adam Millard
  • Brent Millis
  • Jonathan Moon
  • Christine Morgan
  • Charles AUstin Muir
  • Kyle Muntz
  • Don F. Noble
  • Jeff O'Brien
  • J David Osborne
  • Riley Michael Parker
  • Christoph Paul
  • William Pauley III
  • Cameron Pierce[43]
  • Sam Pink
  • Pedro Proença
  • Andersen Prunty
  • Katy Michelle Quinn
  • Steven Rage
  • Liv Rainey-Smith
  • Tony Rauch
  • Dustin Reade
  • Matthew Revert
  • Sam Richard
  • Jason Rizos
  • Jennifer Robin
  • Tamara Romero
  • Michael Allen Rose
  • Kris Saknussemm
  • Bradley Sands[44]
  • Tiffany Scandal[45]
  • Michael J. Seidlinger
  • Kevin Shamel
  • Jeremy C. Shipp
  • John Shirley
  • Bix Skahill
  • John Skipp[46]
  • Danger Slater
  • Bryan Smith
  • Andrew James Stone
  • Alyssa Sturgill
  • Madeleine Swann
  • Kevin Sweeney
  • Molly Tanzer
  • Bruce Taylor[47]
  • Anthony Trevino
  • Violet LeVoit[48]
  • Brendan Vidito
  • Athena Villaverde
  • Daniel Vlasaty
  • Grant Wamack
  • J.W. Wargo
  • Patrick Wensink
  • Wrath James White
  • Lee Widener
  • Caleb Wilson
  • D. Harlan Wilson[49]
  • Jason Wuchenich

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Bizarro Starter Kit. Bizarro Books, 2006. p.5
  2. ^ O'Keefe, Rose (2 October 2005). "Bizarro FAQs – What is BIZARRO? – Discussion Areas – Mondo Bizarro – Message Board". Yuku. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  3. ^ Randy Henderson (21 April 2010). "Fantasy Magazine » Bizarro Fiction 101: Not Just Weird for Weird's Sake". Fantasy Magazine. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  4. ^ Kevin Touch (21 May 2010). "Ass Goblins of Auschwitz at horroryearbook.com". horroryearbook. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  5. ^ Michael Moorcock (15 June 2010). "Curiouser and curiouser". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  6. ^ Damien G Walter (16 July 2010). "Bizarro fiction: it's terribly good". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  7. ^ "The Philip K. Dick Award – winners by year". Philip K. Dick Award. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Steve Aylett Website - interviews section - WWW.STEVEAYLETT.COM". STEVEAYLETT.COM. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Horror Writers Association – Past Stoker Award Nominees & Winners". Horror Writers Association. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  10. ^ Mike Allen. "Rhysling Anthology and Awards: 2007". Science Fiction Poetry Association. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  11. ^ Put It Down in a Book by Tom Bradley, The Drill Press, 2009
  12. ^ "About « Eraserhead Press". Eraserhead Press. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  13. ^ Blu Gilliand (1 August 2009). "Dark Scribe Magazine – Feature Interviews – D. Harlan Wilson: Keeping It Irreal". Dark Scribe Magazine. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  14. ^ a b Stephen Thompson (19 August 2008). "The Specusphere – Irrealism and the Bizarro movement". The Specusphere. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  15. ^ Kevin Dole 2 (28 June 2005). "What the Fuck is This All About? – Articles & Essays – Discussion Areas – Mondo Bizarro – Message Board". Yuku. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  16. ^ Kevin Dole 2 (24 August 2007). "So What the Fuck Is This All About?". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Kevin Dole 2". Bizarro Central. Archived from the original on 29 July 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  18. ^ a b Bradley, Tom. "The Nab Gets Posthumously Bizarroized". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  19. ^ Gogol, Nikolai (1995). The Overcoat and The Nose. Translated by Ronald Wilks. Penguin Books.
  20. ^ Bradley, Tom (2008), The Dream People, archived from the original on 24 July 2008, retrieved 10 April 2008
  21. ^ Bradley, Tom (2009). Put It Down in a Book. The Drill Press. pp. 3–19.
  22. ^ John Skipp (21 March 2008). "BIZARRO-MANIA!!!". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 21 March 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  23. ^ Eden Robins (23 November 2009). "Bizarro Fiction: Stout Hearts and Strong Stomachs". Ecstatic Days. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  24. ^ Jeff Siwanowicz (3 November 2007). "It Came From Below The Belt". Thirdeye Magazine. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  25. ^ Charlie Anders (20 November 2009). "Independent Publishers Who Are Reinventing The Future". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  26. ^ Dazed & Confused, September 2007, p. 64
  27. ^ "Wonderland Book Award – Final Ballot 2015". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  28. ^ a b "Wonderland Book Award winners announced!". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  29. ^ "2010 Wonderland Book Award". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  30. ^ "2010 Wonderland Book Award". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  31. ^ "House of Houses by Kevin L. Donihe | Odd Things Considered". www.oddthingsconsidered.com. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  32. ^ "D. Harlan Wilson". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  33. ^ "Bizarro Books". Bizarro Central. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  34. ^ results, search (23 February 2004). The Baby Jesus Butt Plug. Portland, OR: Eraserhead Press. ISBN 9780972959827.
  35. ^ "Bizarro Authors". Bizarro Central. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  36. ^ "Querus Abuttu". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Tom Bradley". Bizarro Central. Archived from the original on 8 December 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  38. ^ "Jeff Burk". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  39. ^ "Chris Genoa". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  40. ^ "Eckhard Gerdes". Bizarro Central. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  41. ^ "Bizarro Authors". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  42. ^ "Carlton Mellick III". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  43. ^ "Cameron Pierce". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  44. ^ "Bradley Sands". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  45. ^ "Tiffany Scandal". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  46. ^ "John Skipp". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  47. ^ "Bruce Taylor". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  48. ^ "Violet LeVoit". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  49. ^ "D. Harlan Wilson". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

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