By Spike Marlowe
As I’ve mentioned before, being an artist is hard.
It’s wonderful, too. It’s amazing — this is why we keep making it.
But it’s definitely hard.
We can spend years making art before someone who isn’t our mother or significant other or best friend acknowledges that they dug what we’ve done. It can take years to get paid anything at all for our art. Some amazing artists never make a dime.
And once we hit that publication/distribution/getting paid point, it doesn’t get easier. The next story, song or painting might be hard to create. Maybe we were published/distributed/paid for the last piece, but maybe there’s no one interested in the new work. People may criticize us, or there may be no feedback at all. Sometimes people ridicule our art, and sometimes the person doing the ridiculing isn’t just some unknown on Amazon or a street corner.
I’m going to get personal for a moment.
I’ve been writing for a while. Other than my family and friends, my art is the thing I love most in the world. It’s a huge part of my identity, and one huge reason for why I get up in the morning. I’ve made some pretty crazy sacrifices and life changes so I can be an artist. The takeaway from all this is not that I’m some amazing artistic saint or martyr or role model. The point is that I’m seriously invested in my art, in my own way. Not more or less than anyone else–just my own way.
In the past year, I’ve had some other professional artists who are much further along in their careers criticize and even ridicule my art, my professional choices and even me. This has been difficult to take because typically I respect their opinions, and because the stuff they’ve said are the same fears that creep into my own head, late at night, when the occasional artistic insecurities set in.
Though it’s hard to take, it’s been important for me to saddle up my proverbial horse, mount the art steed and ride hard, making the best art I can. Making the art I want to make. The art I believe in. Cheesy metaphor, yeah. But it’s true.
Because you know what? When people rip you apart for your art, they’re not talking about you. They’re talking about themselves. In that moment, you’re dealing with their own fears, insecurities and personality quirks.
Now, I’m not talking about constructive criticism here. A good critique or insight from a trusted source is invaluable. This is so helpful for any artist to grow, evolve and be the best artist they can be. I’m talking about destructive criticism.
I’m not promising this is going to happen to you. I hope it doesn’t. But I sure don’t know a lot of working artists who haven’t dealt with this. When you put yourself out there publicly, making your art, the chances are good it could happen to you.
And dealing with this, resolving to keep going and making your art, will make you stronger, as a person and as an artist. The criticisms may cut and leave scars, but scar tissue is one bad ass, strong tissue.
Remember back in the beginning, in the first Tea House post, when I asked you to write down why you’re making your art? When this stuff happens, it’s time to pull out that list to help you refocus and saddle up. That list you wrote for yourself when you were high on making amazing art is one of the best tools I know for keeping the artistic fires burning.
You know what else is a good tool? Your friends and family and the amazing colleagues you’ll find on your journey as an artist. There are a lot of people I personally count on who have been wonderful to me, who have believed in me, encouraged me, and helped me get my art into the world. People like my editor (for whom this Bigfoot Ale is dedicated to), my publisher and crew, my fellow 2011-2012 New Bizarro Authors, fellow workshop attendees, dear friends, and my partner, who is also an artist and also gets just how amazing making art is, and how difficult it can be.
Hold on to the people who love you and believe in you–they can tell you when you need to work harder and up your game. And they can tell you when someone is just being an asshole. Because sometimes it’s hard to see outside of ourselves, and having a clarifying, constructive external reality check can make a huge difference.
The truth is this: your art is valid. You making the art you want to make is valid. You have a right to make your art, the way you want to. You have a right to put it into the world, and now, more than ever before, we have the means to distribute our art in a way never seen before. Your art may not be for everyone. Not everyone will love it. And just like you have the right to make the art you want, people have the right not to dig it.
But you know what? There are people out there who probably will, who will totally dig the art you’ve made. And that’s an amazing relationship to have.
So, go out there and make your art. And when it gets hard, when you can make a painting work, or no one wants to buy your book or hear your song, just saddle up and keep going.
And have the audacity to rock the world with your art.
Spike Marlowe has held a number of odd jobs, including working in a wild west show, as a detective, as a Bigfoot researcher, as a writer for an internet content farm and as a busker. Though sometimes she still busks or picks up the occasional odd job, these days she’s mostly a writer. Her first book, Placenta of Love, is now available at all the usual locations. You can stalk her online at her website, or on Twitter as @spikemarlowe.
By Spike Marlowe
When making art — especially bizarro art — it’s important to be able to lie while retaining an element of truth. This isn’t realism we’re doing here, folks. This is something crazy.
Today we’re going to practice an element of lying when making art.
Let’s start with a writing exercise, and then I’ll make suggestions for other artists.
Sit down in your comfiest chair, grab your favorite beverage, a pen and paper or a laptop, and let’s get going.
Write five-hundred words about yourself. Describe right down to the nitty-gritty core who you are. If you were going to write a manifesto about yourself and your beliefs, or a mission statement about who you are and what you stand for, this would be it. Get it down on paper – you are awesome in your own way, and the world needs to know.
Once your five-hundred words are complete, I want you to consider what you wrote and flip it a complete one-hundred-eighty degrees. If you were the opposite of yourself, who would you be? Now write five-hundreds words on that bit of insight, but write it as if it were absolute truth.
If you have trouble starting either exercise, begin by writing, “I am…” and go from there.
You can use this exercise to make characters for a story — your very own odd couple.
Here’s something extra to think about: Which description is more honest? Were you being entirely truthful when you wrote about yourself the first time? Just something to think about…
Not a fiction writer? If you write poetry, you can do this exercise as well, just plug each writing portion into a poem. Are you an artist? Make a self-portrait sketch, and then flip it. Musician? Find the melody that fits who you are — your own personal theme song, if you will. Now flip that.
Spike Marlowe has held a number of odd jobs, including working in a wild west show, as a detective, as a Bigfoot researcher, as a writer for an internet content farm and as a busker. Though sometimes she still busks or picks up the occasional odd job, these days she’s mostly a writer. Her first book, Placenta of Love, is now available at all the usual locations. You can find her online and on Twitter as @spikemarlowe.
I am a big fan of the New Bizarro Author Series and I am showing my love by devoting a week to these books, plus hosting a book giveaway. The book discussions start Monday , May 6th and lasts through Friday May 10th . Though I don’t know the order in which I will discuss them, these are the books I will feature next week:
Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams
Gutmouth by Gabino Iglesias
House Hunter by S.T. Cartledge
Avoiding Mortimer by J.W. Wargo
Her Fingers by Tamara Romero
Check out my blog for all the details and come out to support the New Bizarro Author Series authors! I really love this program and think it has brought us some amazing books by equally amazing writers, so come to support great ideas and stay for the free books.
May 4, 2013 | Categories: Bizarro authors, Bizarro Books, Bizarro Fiction | Tags: andrew wayne adams, Gabino Iglesias, J W Wargo, New Bizarro Author Series, S.T. Cartledge, tamara romero | 3 Comments »
Starting with Satan Burger in 2001, author Carlton Mellick III has since become one of the most prolific authors of his generation. His average release schedule is four books per year, with a maximum of six releases in a single year. He has now reached 40 books in print at the age of 35. If he keeps up this pace he’ll break 100 books by the time he turns 50.
“If I thought there was a market for it I could easily write 10+ books per year instead of just 4,” says Carlton. “I am a full-time writer and I write at least 500 words per hour. If I actually worked like a person with a full-time day job, writing 8 hours a day 5 days a week, that would be an output of 80,000 words per month and 960,000 words per year. Since my average word length for a book is 40,000 words, I am theoretically capable of writing 24 books in a year. But that would be a hell of a lot of books!”
Whenever he’s asked if he feels like the quality of his work suffers from having such a large output, he always has the same response.
“Actually, it’s the complete opposite. The more I focus on quantity, the more the quality improves. If I ever write three books back to back in a three month period, the second book will always be better than the first and the third book will always be the best of the three. What does affect quality is stagnation. Never take too much time off between books. Trying to get back into writing after a long break is like trying to get back into shape after a two year fast food binge. It’s not a pretty sight.”
For his 40th book, Carlton chose to write a book about killer mermaids.
“I didn’t know it was going to be my 40th book when I wrote it, I just wanted to write a book about mermaids,” says Carlton. “Yeah, that’s right, I wrote a mermaid book. I wrote it because I think mermaids are awesome. I also think fairies and unicorns are awesome. You got a problem with that?”
Village of the Mermaids is now available at amazon.com
MERMAID [mur-meyd] noun — a rare species of fish evolved to resemble the appearance of a woman in order to attract male human prey.
Mermaids are protected by the government under the Endangered Species Act, which means you aren’t able to kill them even in self-defense. This is especially problematic if you happen to live in the isolated fishing village of Siren Cove, where there exists a healthy population of mermaids in the surrounding waters that view you as the main source of protein in their diet.
The only thing keeping these ravenous sea women at bay is the equally-dangerous supply of human livestock known as Food People. Normally, these “feeder humans” are enough to keep the mermaid population happy and well-fed. But in Siren Cove, the mermaids are avoiding the human livestock and have returned to hunting the frightened local fishermen. It is up to Doctor Black, an eccentric representative of the Food People Corporation, to investigate the matter and hopefully find a way to correct the mermaids’ new eating patterns before the remaining villagers end up as fish food. But the more he digs, the more he discovers there are far stranger and more dangerous things than mermaids hidden in this ancient village by the sea.
Like a Lovecraftian version of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Village of the Mermaids is a dystopian mystery that proves once again how cult author Carlton Mellick III brings the weird to a whole new level.
AVAILABLE AT WWW.AMAZON.COM
“Naming characters is like naming rock bands, only not as much fun. Unless your character’s name is Fudge Whistle, in which case it’s exactly the same amount of fun.” -John Skipp
Okay, let’s get serious for a moment. There are a lot of hard parts to writing- it isn’t all cashing royalty checks. Sometimes you have to work, and sometimes that work makes your brain hurt. One of the things you have to contend with eventually- unless you are really avant-garde- is what to name your characters.
That’s easy, though! Um, right? That is certainly what I thought when I first started writing, and most of the names I came up with were incredibly shitty. When I sat down to write what became my first published novel, I suddenly had a real problem: I really didn’t want to screw this up, and I needed a good name. Luckily, I was missing a friend’s birthday party to write the book, so I gave the protagonist my friend’s name. Two birds, one stone.
What constitutes a good name in the first place? What’s the best way to get there? Well, you could sure just hit the internet and punch buttons on a random name generator until everything falls into place… or we could ask some of the best Bizarro writers!
“Names should feel right. [A]s you get to know the character, it should feel natural to think of them by that name. It should make you feel the way the character makes you feel.” -John Skipp (again)
“I tend to use Census records to see how common a name is. A name is backstory. The way the name is used is characterization.” -Eric Hendrixson
“I think it is more important what names you don’t give your characters… I think it is great that James Bond is not named Melvin Cruickshank.” -Gary Arthur Brown
“If you mistype a name, sometimes it’s okay to use the typo because it’s weirder and funnier.” -Garrett Cook
“Consider the etymology of the names. The name ‘Dolores’ is always a comment on sadness somehow, whether ironic or not.” -Eckhard Gerdes
“When working on new stories I use placeholder names for some characters with the intent of going back and changing them, but if enough time lapses and I get used to the names then I’ll keep them.” -Joseph Wargo
“If you want your reader to like a character, you should probably avoid overly-exotic names or strange spellings. If the name does not look like what it sounds like, there can be an alienating effect. If an alienating effect is what you are going for, strange names or names that sound like they come from whatever nations America is at war with at the time might be what you are looking for.” -Eric Hendrixson
“Simple names are the most naturalistic, and easiest for a character to disappear inside. Fancy, evocative names have to be earned, or mocking contempt is the only sane response. And thuddingly obvious names had better be hilarious.” -John Skipp (And that’s all you’re getting from him! If you want more writing advice, take one of his workshops.)
“Just about any noun or phrase can be paired with the surname ‘Jones.’ Instant crime character. Flowershop Jones. Meat and Two Veg Jones. Velociraptor Jones.” -Karl Fischer
“If you’re writing superhero stuff, all female protagonists must have a name that is a variation of an already existing male superhero.” -Bradley Sands
“I like to use real people. That way, I can also see who reads my books.” -Kevin Shamel
“I am a detective and the murderer who I am investigating is MYSELF.” -Bradley Sands-Jones
“A good way to come up with fantasy names is to reverse people’s names, like Nosnar Blug or Yeldrab Sdnas. Don’t worry about pronunciation, these things tend to sort themselves out.” -Rob Harris
“Another thing about names–I suggest avoiding any name that Tolkien already used. I think that’s especially true for species like Ents and Orcs. At least do what the Harvard Lampoon did, and change [Bilbo] to Dildo.” -Eckhard Gerdes
Tune in next time when I tell you how to name characters using only your junk email box!
The war between humans and toys has come to an end. The toys won.
Teddy bears, dollies, and little green soldiers-they’ve all had enough of you. They’re sick of being treated like playthings for spoiled little brats. They have no rights, no property, no hope for a future of any kind. You’ve left them with no other option-in order to be free, they must exterminate the human race.
Julie is a human girl undergoing reconstructive surgery in order to become a stuffed animal. Her plan: to infiltrate enemy lines in order to save her family from the toy death camps. But when an army of plushy soldiers invade the underground bunker where she has taken refuge, Julie will be forced to move forward with her plan despite her transformation being not entirely complete.
Like a crazy cult movie in book form, Cuddly Holocaust is yet another tale that proves why Wonderland Book Award-winning author Carlton Mellick III is considered a master of the weird.
When it comes to high-tech global espionage, only one man has the balls to save humanity from the world’s most powerful bastards. His libido is legendary and his mustache once killed a man. He’s the cat’s pajamas and the dog’s bollocks. He’s Declan Magpie Bruce, Agent 00X.
And when every other spy is perforated, it’s up to him to stop a maniacal genius bent on destroying the planet. To do so, he’ll navigate a deadly gauntlet of kung fu Rastafarians, freakish henchmen, velociraptor ladies, and the most dangerous pussy in the world. There will be secrets and seduction, luxury and lunacy, and a beautiful French jewel thief who could kick Declan Bruce’s arse with her eyes closed.
Thunderpussy is a bizarro cyberspy thriller that’ll fry every microchip the government secretly implanted in your brain.
Kevin L Donihe is in the vanguard of a new type of brave and original writers that combine fun and childlike imagination with rich poignant themes. In his second collection, Papier Mache Jesus, Donihe’s surreal wit and beautiful mind-bending imagination is on full display with stories such as All Children Go to Hell, Happiness is a Warm Gun, The Vibrant Tools of Dr. Imago, The Boy Memorial, and Swimming in Endless Night.
“…one of bizarro’s most notoriously original and entertaining writers.” –MICHAEL ARNZEN, author of 100 Jolts
“Kevin L. Donihe is brilliant. One of the most creative, most original authors out there, Donihe is in my top five list of sure things. When I need a little surrealism, a little thought to my scare and tear, it’s him I sprint to.” –HORROR WEB
Fish-eyed mutants, oceans of insects, and flesh-eating women with hammers for heads.
Like a real world Kilgore Trout, cult author Carlton Mellick III has been pumping out dozens of the weirdest, trashiest, most imaginative books you’ve probably never heard of… even though you definitely should. Hammer Wives collects six of his most popular novelettes and short stories, including:
A man discovers that his body is actually a machine run by dozens of miniature clones of himself.
A recovering junky must save his 8-year-old brother from a life of prostitution in a surreal version of New York City… a place where street kids mutate into fish-like creatures, the homeless stilt-walk through oceans of insects, and the only colors left visible to the human eye are shades of red.
A young man inherits ten eternally youthful wives from an estranged uncle he never knew he had… which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if they didn’t have giant hammers for heads or a tendency of bludgeoning people to death for fun, food, or sexual pleasure.
LEMON KNIVES ‘N’ COCKROACHES
Cockroach-like children survive the zombie apocalypse by hiding between the walls of on old school building.
In a steam-powered underworld, a bloodthirsty pig-man boxer will sacrifice everything to prevent his son from following in his footsteps.
THE MAN WITH THE STYROFOAM BRAIN
The recently departed reflect on the stupid reasons why they sold their souls to the devil.
by Tracy Vanity
I asked the Bizarro staff to tell me what shit scared them when they were lil’ demons. Their answers were quite entertaining and random. It shows you that even the most imaginative, fucked up minds can get creeped out by E.T.!
Tracy: Hey Bizarro clan, were there any TV characters, films, toys, etc. that creeped you out when you were little?
Michael Allen Rose (Patron Saint of Sporks & author of Party Wolves in my Skull): Weirdly enough, there was a segment on Sesame Street where Maria would do an impression of Charlie Chaplin from his old silent films. I don’t know if this was because of the gender-confusion, or because of the silence of the character on the screen, but something about those segments sent me crying to my room in terror. (This was when I was very small). I imagine it was just a combination of the unfamiliar things I mentioned above that just creeped me out to a point of incoherent gibbering. :P
Sam Reeve (Pirate, Bizarro editor, X-Mas annihilator, Empress of Awesome, & Weekly Weird Art Curator): I hated ET, thought it was a scary movie.
Cameron Pierce (Exorcist, Elephant Beetle Enthusiast, & author of Die You Doughnut Bastards): The Gate.
CV Hunt (Lucid Dream Alchemist, Jewel Thief, & author of How to Kill Yourself): I had a hard time sleeping at night when I was a kid because of Freddy Kruger.
Rob Harris (Griffin Wrangler & Professional Cheese Sprayer): Watership Down had some terrifying parts in it.
Bradley Sands (Space Travel Agent & author of TV Snorted My Brain): Books with “true” ghost stories kept me awake at night, but I couldn’t stop reading them. I think there was an anthology of true spooky stories that freaked me out more than the rest called The Crystal Skull (or something like that), but I can’t find out any info about it. Also, a TV movie called The Haunted scared me, particularly this scene:
Eric Hendrixson (Chief of the Cannibal Unicorn Division & Bread Boss): Cereal with milk. I had no problem with milk or dry cereal, but when you put them together, they turned into something strange and disturbing.
Also, I thought they built public monuments wherever someone famous died and that they made the statues by pouring concrete over the corpses, so the body was still inside the monument. Since I was in Europe, there were monuments all over the place.
Kevin Shamel (resident zombie slayer, T-Rex tamer, googly eye connoisseur, and author of Island of the Super People): Sleestaks on Land of the Lost freaked me out when I was little. And a couple of the monsters on this old Japanese mecha show. There was also a book about a pond with this huge shadowy ancient thing that wanted to eat swimming kids that my teacher read when I was in first or second grade that kept me out of water for a long time. (it was a huge old turtle)
Jeff Burk (moonshine maker, neon ninja, & author of Cripple Wolf): The 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It just always filled me with unease. I know Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas wanted to violently violate those kids and eat the corpses.
Carlton Mellick III (wizard, Part-Time Czar, Spaghetti Yeti behaviorologist, & author of Cuddly Holocaust, Hammer Wives, Apeshit, and Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland to name a few of his many, many awesome books): This for some reason creeped me out when I was 5 years old:
Nice answers guys! So how about the rest of you Bizarros? What creeped you out as a kid?
February 5, 2013 | Categories: Bizarro authors, Tracy Vanity, Twisted Tuesdays, videos | Tags: cartoons, childhood, creepy, horror, memories, nightmare fuel, nostalgia, psychology, scary | 8 Comments »
Thursday, January 10th at Stories Books and Cafe (1716 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026): A Bizarro Spectacular with Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Alene, Ben Loory, Amelia Gray, Ken Baumann, and Eric Raymond. 7PM. Free.
Friday, January 11th at Hyaena Gallery (1928 West Olive Avenue Burbank, CA 91506): Have your mind eaten by glittering tentacles from the stars, courtesy of Bizarro authors, poets, musicians and filmmakers from parts near and far. Strange things will happen courtesy of Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Alene, John Skipp, Laura Lee Bahr, The Slow Poisoner, Darius James, Marc Levinthal and Cody Goodfellow! Plus David Markham, the world’s only sword swallowing ventriloquist and Squeaker Kelly, the world’s most gifted psychic! 8PM. Free.
Sunday, January 13th aboard the Queen Mary (1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802): CTHULHU PRAYER BREAKFAST! Cthulhu, for those who are not familiar, is a hideous tentacled deity from another dimension whose return to Earth will plunge humanity into darkness and chaos forevermore. This uplifting event is part of Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium, about which more can be found at PerilousPress.com/blog. 10AM. $25. Seating is limited!
For those of you further north, Cameron Pierce and Kirsten Alene will be reading with Ross E. Lockhart at the infamous 851 Squat in San Francisco on January 21st.
January 8, 2013 | Categories: Andrew Goldfarb, Ben Loory, Bizarro authors, Bizarro Books, Bizarro Fiction, Cameron Pierce, Cody Goodfellow, Cthulhu, John Skipp, Kirsten Alene, Laura Lee Bahr, Ross E. Lockhart | Tags: bizarro los angeles, cthulhu prayer breakfast, hyaena gallery, los angeles readings, queen mary, steampunk symposium, stories books, stories books and cafe, sword swallowing, ventriloquism | 2 Comments »
At BizarroCon, the winners of the Wonderland Book Award were announced. Congratulations to the winners and all of the finalists. This year’s winners are:
BEST NOVEL OF 2011: Haunt by Laura Lee Bahr
Haunt is a tripping-balls Los Angeles noir, where a mysterious dame drags you through a time-warping Bizarro hall of mirrors. She’s the girl of your dreams. Too bad she’s dead. OR IS SHE? In Haunt, “you” are the hapless corporate tool and rock star wannabe turned private Dick. Here, even your most inconsequential choices can make all the difference between a Hollywood ending on the beach and sucking cock for clues. This is genial lowbrow high lit weirdness: the funny, punchy cousin of Danielewski’s House of Leaves, a Vonnegut and Salinger paté on a choose-your-own cracker, with a lapdance from Nancy Drew. As much fun to make as it is to eat! Laura Lee Bahr is an award-winning indie actor/playwrite/screenwriter with a gift for the hilariously, tragically absurd. Haunt is her first novel.
BEST COLLECTION OF 2011: We Live Inside You by Jeremy Robert Johnson
“WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is fucking terrific. Jeremy Robert Johnson is dancing to a way different drummer. He loves language, he loves the edge, and he loves us people. These stories have range and style and wit. This is entertainment… and literature.”–JACK KETCHUM, author of Off Season, The Girl Next Door, and The Woman (w/Lucky McKee)
We are within you, and we are growing. Watching. Waiting for your empires to fall. It won’t be long now.
We are the fear of death that drives you and the terrible hunger that reshapes you in its name. We are the vengeance born from senseless slaughter and the pulsing reptile desire that negates your consciousness. We are the lie on your lips, the collapsing star in your heart, and the still-warm gun in your shaking hands. The illusion of control is all we’ll allow you, and no matter what you do…
WE LIVE INSIDE YOU
November 20, 2012 | Categories: Bizarro authors, Bizarro Books, Bizarro Fiction, Fungasm Press, Jack Ketchum, Jeremy Robert Johnson, John Skipp, Laura Lee Bahr, Swallowdown Press, Wonderland Book Award | 2 Comments »
JRJ gathered some Evan Williams, an Apocalypse IPA, and his cell phone last week for this very enjoyable interview for the BOOKS AND BOOZE podcast.
Per the site: “In Books and Booze episode 16 we sit down with Jeremy Robert Johnson to talk about good beer, good bourbon, experimental writing, and NaNoWriMo. We talk about our favorite stories from We Live Inside You and Jeremy serenades us with the hits of the Doobie Brothers.”
p.s. I am buying knives.
“Ashley Crawford talks with Jeremy Robert Johnson about Bizarro, David Cronenberg, parasites and, inevitably, the end of the world.”
JRJ has been interviewed for 21C Magazine, whose prior subjects have included folks like Burroughs, Gibson, Shirley, Ballard, Acker, Brian Evenson, Mark Z. Danielewski, and Jonathan Lethem. You can click on the logo above to jump to the sprawling Q&A.
November 6, 2012 | Categories: Angel Dust Apocalypse, Bizarro authors, Bizarro Books, Bizarro Fiction, Cameron Pierce, Cody Goodfellow, David Foster Wallace, Eraserhead Press, Jack Ketchum, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Joe R Lansdale, Stephen Graham Jones, Stephen King, We Live Inside You | Leave A Comment »
A feeling has been tearing up the underground of the fiction world. It’s a nightmare reflection of the society you inhabit, a surreal explosion of pop, punk, and the post-apocalypse. Over the last decade, Bizarro Fiction has changed the definition of avant garde, it’s abolished the traditional prose of yesterday and established a new precedent for awesome. Collected in this anthology is some of the best weird fiction from the past decade. Award-winning writers, cult prodigies and burgeoning talents all collected together in one place. This is what you’ve done with the last ten years of your life.
With stories by:
D. Harlan Wilson, Alissa Nutting, Joe R. Lansdale, Carlton Mellick III, Kevin L. Donihe, Blake Butler, Ryan Boudinot, Vincent Sakowski, Cody Goodfellow, Amelia Gray, Robert Devereaux, Mykle Hansen, Athena Villaverde, Matthew Revert, Garrett Cook, Roy Kesey, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Aimee Bender, Ian Watson & Roberto Quaglia, Jeremy C. Shipp, Andersen Prunty, Jedediah Berry, Andrea Kneeland, Kurt Dinan, David Agranoff, Ben Loory, Kris Saknussemm, Stephen Graham Jones, Bentley Little, David W. Barbee, and Tom Piccirilli.
Published by Eraserhead Press. Edited by Cameron Pierce.
Order The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade today.
October 14, 2012 | Categories: Bizarro authors, Bizarro Books, Bizarro Fiction, Cameron Pierce, Eraserhead Press | Tags: Matthew Revert, blake butler, jeremy c shipp, David W Barbee, carlton mellick III, kevin l. donihe, d. harlan wilson, Stephen Graham Jones, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Andersen Prunty, Kris Saknussemm, Garrett Cook, David Agranoff, Mykle Hansen, Joe R Lansdale, Cody Goodfellow, ryan boudinot, andrea kneeland, Robert Devereaux, Alissa Nutting, Vincent Sakowski, Amelia Gray, Athena Villaverde, Roy Kesey, Aimee Bender, Ian Watson & Roberto Quaglia, Jedediah Berry, Kurt Dinan, Ben Loory, Bentley Little, Tom Piccirilli | Leave A Comment »
“Like William S. Burroughs on crack!” – Thomas F. Monteleone, New York Times bestselling author
The bacon storm is rolling in. We hear the grease and sugar beat against the roof and windows. The doughnut people are attacking. We press close together, forgetting for a moment that we hate each other.
In Die You Doughnut Bastards, amputees, lonely young people, and talking animals struggle for survival against the freakish whims of nature. A typewriter made of fetuses is the source of woe for an expecting couple. Tao Lin rewrites The Human Centipede 2. A girl with a glass jaw hides an otherworldly secret. A demonic loner goes to a birthday party in Hell. You’ll encounter a killer in a marsupial mask, a prison for anorexics, haunted pancakes, and a songwriter with a cult following.
Surreal prose poems give way to personal accounts of alienation and modern love. Vegetarian narwhals are sold at the supermarket. And in a city that might be your own, zombie doughnuts are rising up. Kill yourself before they kill you. Or just kill yourself.
Featuring original illustrations in the style of Daniel Johnston, Die You Doughnut Bastards is the latest way to drown, brought to you by Wonderland Book Award-winning author Cameron Pierce.
In a city where all humans live inside of plastic bubbles, exotic dancers are being murdered in the rubbery streets by a mysterious stalker known only as Kill Ball.
“Somewhere between Kafka and My Little Pony, only even weirder than that sounds.” – Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day“
Imagine Terry Gilliam directing from a script written by Jack Vance channeling the ghosts of Kafka and Calvino, and you’re closing in on the essence of Alene’s latest novel. A bold fusion of grounded surrealism, unfettered filth, and wit as dry and dark as a strip of unicorn jerky.” – Jesse Bullington, author of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart
Mutant unicorns. A palace with a thousand human legs. The most powerful army on the planet. A first world city on the verge of collapse.
In a city where teetering skyscrapers block out the sky, a city populated by lowly clerks, rumors have been circulating of a terror in the east. When Carl, the lowliest clerk on the negative twelfth floor, discovers that the city is indeed in grave danger, he sets out to warn the city’s protectors: the Unicorn Riders.
Although Carl’s missing father has left him a unicorn of his own, it is a small and sickly creature. Even worse, there is a crab claw growing from its side. But the Unicorn Riders need as much help as they can get, and soon every able rider sets out for the city’s flooded perimeter in a steam-powered Spanish galleon.
An epic journey that spans desert and sea, through the bedchambers of a fearsome Eastern queen, and into the devastation of a conquered city, Unicorn Battle Squad is the story of a boy and his unicorn at the end of the world.
At the Funeral by D. HARLAN WILSON
Ant Colony by ALISSA NUTTING
Fire Dog by JOE R. LANSDALE
Candy-Coated by CARLTON MELLICK III
The Traveling Dildo Salesman by KEVIN L. DONIHE
We Witnessed the Advent of a New Apocalypse During an Episode of Friends by BLAKE BUTLER
Cardiology by RYAN BOUDINOT
The Screaming of the Fish by VINCENT SAKOWSKI
Atwater by CODY GOODFELLOW
The Darkness by AMELIA GRAY
Li’l Miss Ultrasound by ROBERT DEVEREAUX
Crazy Shitting Planet by MYKLE HANSEN
Caterpillar Girl by ATHENA VILLAVERDE
Cops & Bodybuilders by D. HARLAN WILSON
A Million Versions of Right by MATTHEW REVERT
Hellion by ALISSA NUTTING
Mr. Plush, Detective by GARRETT COOK
Hat by ROY KESEY
The Sharp-Dressed Man at the End of the Line by JEREMY ROBERT JOHNSON
Hotel Rot by AIMEE BENDER
The Moby Clitoris of His Beloved by IAN WATSON & ROBERTO QUAGLIA
Scratch by JEREMY C. SHIPP
The Sex Beast of Scurvy Island by ANDERSEN PRUNTY
Inheritance by JEDEDIAH BERRY
Everybody is Waiting for Something by ANDREA KNEELAND
Ear Cat by CARLTON MELLICK III
Nub Hut by KURT DINAN
Punkupine Moshers of the Apocalypse by DAVID AGRANOFF
The Octopus by BEN LOORY
You Saw Me Standing Alone by KRIS SAKNUSSEMM
Mr. Bear by JOE R. LANSDALE
Zombie Sharks with Metal Teeth by STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES
The Planting by BENTLEY LITTLE
Surf Grizzlies by DAVID W. BARBEE
The Misfit Child Grows Fat on Despair by TOM PICCIRILLI
32 authors, 35 stories. In the pages of this anthology are stories which stretch the mind and challenge the idea of literature – surreal, nightmarish, absurd. Award-winning writers, cult prodigies and burgeoning talents. The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade, edited by Cameron Pierce. Coming soon from Eraserhead Press.
September 18, 2012 | Categories: Bizarro authors, Bizarro Books, Bizarro Fiction, Cameron Pierce, Carlton Mellick III, Eraserhead Press, Kirsten Alene | Tags: die you doughnut bastards, kill ball, unicorn battle squad | 5 Comments »
Preliminary voting has ended and the final ballot has been decided.
Here is the list of nominations for this year’s Wonderland Book Awards:
“A Town Called Suckhole” by David W. Barbee
“Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You” by Bradley Sands
“Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys” by Jordan Krall
“I Knocked Up Satan’s Daughter” by Carlton Mellick III
“Haunt” by Laura Lee Bahr
“Clockwork Girl” by Athena Villaverde
“Abortion Arcade” by Cameron Pierce
“We Live Inside You” by Jeremy Robert Johnson
“Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective” by Garrett Cook
“Baby’s First Book of Seriously Fucked-Up Shit” by Robert Devereaux
Voting ends October 31st. Only BizarroCon attendees are eligible to vote. Send your votes (one per category) to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to give honorable mentions to those titles that came close to placing in the final ballot. These titles include: “Island of the Super People” by Kevin Shamel, “The Tumours Made Me Interesting” by Matthew Revert, “Fuckness” by Andersen Prunty and “Gigantic Death Worm” by Vince Kramer in the best novel category, and “The Driver’s Guide to Hitting Pedestrians” by Andersen Prunty, “The Traveling Dildo Salesman” by Kevin L. Donihe, “Hooray for Death” by Mykle Hansen, and “Please Do Not Shoot Me in the Face: A Novel” by Bradley Sands in the best collection category.
WALRUS WEEK is through. In this, my final walrusian post, I’d like to give you the opportunity to pose any questions you may have concerning this most incredible animal.
All commenters will be answered. Nothing is taboo…
WALRUS WEEK is almost over. Come Monday, how will I cope? If I can’t talk about walruses, then what can I talk about? Might as well staple my mouth shut.
Perhaps you can pick up SPACE WALRUS and/or WALRUS TALES. That might strengthen my will. (NOTE: All proceeds will go to the SAVE A BUNCH OF WALRUSES FUND, which I’ve created and will certainly never use to fund lavish vacations overseas.)
But enough about me.
In my second post, I expressed the hope that WALRUS WEEK would open your hearts to walrus-love. I believe it has, but you simply must put love to action.
Adopt a walrus.
Open up a soup kitchen for homeless pinnipeds.
Read stories to blind Elders.
Get plastic surgery to more closely resemble a walrus.
Write your elected representatives to demand that they grow some tusks.
That’s just a start. The future is in your hands…
Q: What did the Elder Walrus say to the one-tusked walrus?
A: “Be gone from us, oh broken one! Live alone on your own private floe, never to mate with a cow again!”
Hmmm… That wasn’t very funny. Obviously, I suck at telling a walrus joke.
Can you do any better?
Adopt the lotus position. Close your eyes. Visualize yourself unencumbered by clothing, walking alone in the vast, nearly featureless expanse of the Arctic. You’ve never been in a colder environment, but inside you feel warm.
You know what awaits you.
And then you see it: a fat, long-tusked walrus, dominating its floe like a god. Maybe it is a god. A part of you wants to bow, but you brace yourself, approach it on unsteady legs, greet it and thank it for revealing itself to you.
The walrus studies you for a moment before reaching out and touching you with a flipper. That touch rewires your brain, your very being. Skin thickens, hardens and turns brown. Legs fuse together; hands and feet become flippers; teeth become tusks.
The walrus smiles at what you’ve become; you had no idea walruses could smile. That smile proves contagious. Flooded with newfound wisdom, you thank it for bestowing this blessing upon you. You promise never to be human again.
Now, open your eyes, grunt and flop away…
Memorize them all. This is very practical knowledge:
Malay: anjing laut
Vietnamese: con hải ma
Lithuanian: jūrų vėplys
Albanian: lopë deti
It’s better to be a walrus for a day than a human all your life.
If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe the walruses, nothing is safe.
The glow of one warm walrus is to me worth more than money.
All my life, my heart has yearned for a walrus I cannot name.
At the touch of a walrus, everyone becomes a poet.
Walruses come floating into my life…to add color to my sunset sky.
Without walruses, life would be a mistake.
A walrus is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
The life of a walrus begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
Only the walrus is free.
The power of the walrus makes us infinite.
Don’t taunt the walrus until after you’re off its floe.
In the good old days, Walrus Ice Cream sold its namesake flavor, freely and without sanction. But the recipe didn’t include meat. Rather, it was infused with pure walrusian essence, and that wasn’t something the US Government could allow anyone to consume.
The shop still sells it, I hear. You just have to know the proper handshake and ask the right questions.
Real scrimshaw isn’t readily produced anymore; it’s not legal to do so under most conditions. In the past, however, it was usually made by whalers on boats, whittling away their time during quieter moments, usually at night.
Take a look at the example above. Isn’t it a beauty? The walrus involved gave up his ghost, and that is almost unbearably sad, but he will be remembered for his contribution for all time. A part of me wishes I had a comparable feature that could be decorated so nicely. Human teeth simply lack the proper surface area.