The cult section of the literary world

Bizarro Fiction

Show Me Your Shelves: Shane Cartledge

Shane Cartledge is one of the really cool emerging voices in bizarro fiction. His first book, House Hunter, was published in 2012 as part of the New Bizarro Author Series. Since BizarroCon is nonstop fun and mayhem, I didn’t get to sit down with my Bionic Brother in Portland, but have been in touch ever since, and he’s a great guy: talented, mellow, humble, and he loves Junji Ito. Now Shane’s second novel is here, so it’s a perfect time for him to show us his stuff and talk books. Dig.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I’m Shane. I read books. I write books. I live them in my head. Books are the key to my imagination. Smashing words together in a way that makes different people picture different things in their heads, I think that’s a very powerful thing. It seems mostly harmless, but it can be terrifying, the things books can make you think. It can also be beautiful. At times it can be blissful, surreal, chaotic, or cathartic. With each book, there is a different experience to be had, and within books, a complex network of thoughts and emotions. It overwhelms me. I read to experience those feelings. I write hoping that other people can feel it too while reading my own work. What more is there to books?

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You were part of the greatest NBAS class ever. What did you learn? Do you think it changed your career in a significant way?

I have five other authors to thank for my NBAS class being so great. The books were magical. I went to places I’ve never been and never could imagine from the comfort of my own home. I made so many friends and I learned that this first book was only the beginning of something. I learned what hard work really is, and that I’ll never achieve much without it. I learned that respect and admiration is earned. You don’t wake up published and dive Scrooge McDuck style into a pool of royalty money. Every book sold is a blessing. Every book read. Every review. Every time someone tells someone else about this book they read that was yours. I learned that everyone won’t love my book (and some might really dislike it) and that’s okay, and the solution to it is to wake up the next day and keep writing. Write something better. Write what you love to write. Write what you’re afraid to write because you think it’s beyond your limits. Don’t be afraid to go insane. Of course the NBAS changed my career in a significant way. I became part of a collective. I found out how little I knew about the publishing industry, how little writing experience I had, how much hard work I had ahead of me if I really wanted to stick around. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Is living in Australia an impediment to your career in the US? Are there any pains that come from it besides the price of sending books this way?

Pretty much all the book-related shipping I do is international shipping. I’ve had books sent to me that have wound up missing, and some of those books were one-of-a-kind limited edition type deals. It hurts both me and the guy on the other end. Every time I ship books out I’m worried they won’t arrive. I’ve come to peace with the cost of international shipping, and I’m constantly thinking of ways to work around that to give people the best deals I can without running at a loss. But I’m always concerned about whether or not my books will arrive. It sucks being so far from all the writers I cherish. It sucks that I can’t afford to fly out to Portland for BizarroCon each year. Talking with other writers is something I’m getting used to, trying to work around American time zones in order to have a decent conversation. I guess the other thing would be that I don’t really have much of a local writing collective. It might just be that I’m shy and don’t get out all that much, there isn’t much in terms of readings/events/conventions in my part of the world (and specifically my part of the country). I’m constantly telling myself that I need to talk more with local poets and writers and try to latch on to everything that comes along and try to boost it up a bit, to try building up a local network.

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You read books and comics, so let’s split it: give me the best five books you’ve read this year and the top five comics.

Okay. Books:

One – Long Lost Dog of It, by Michael Kazepis. His prose is so smooth, the details are so sharp and clear, the story is raw and aggressive.

Two – Crystal Eaters, by Shane Jones. I just finished it, and there’s this mythic quality about it, the child-like simplicity of the concept and the way that you see it from the beginning charging head-first towards heartbreak.

Three – The Creek, by Justin Grimbol. There is a lot of humour and a lot of heart in Justin’s writing, and I think it is beautifully displayed here in his poetry collection.

Four – The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World, by Brian Allen Carr. Carr’s writing, like Jones, has that mythic quality about it, but it exists on a darker spectrum. It’s an all-consuming monster, and it is beautiful.

Five – Black Cloud, by Juliet Escoria. This is the world unfiltered and brimming with conflicting emotions. Short stories with characters saying and doing things you wish they wouldn’t, feeling things you know are true feelings. It feels real.

Comics, while I read American comics on occasion, I read a ton of manga. Here’s my five picks:

One – Knights of Sidonia, by Tsutomu Nihei. If there’s one name I can hammer into the skulls of people reading this, it’s Tsutomu Nihei. His works are beautifully, apocalyptically sublime. He is a science fiction visionary and artist.

Two – Claymore, by Norihiro Yagi. This one’s been going on for a while, and I’m currently up to date at volume 24 in the series. The story has a Dragonball Z style build up of powerful heroes fighting powerful monsters with each volume building up to something larger and more inconceivable than the last. I read it for the monsters which never cease to amaze me.

Three – Attack on Titan, by Hajime Isayama. Giant naked humanoid creatures eating humans towards extinction? Brilliant!

Four – Gyo, by Junji Ito. I’ve had this manga on my watch list for a long time but volume 1 was always unavailable. It’s a 2 volume horror manga from the author of the infamous Uzumaki. Same tone, except instead of being haunted by spirals, it’s a fish apocalypse. Gruesome. Wicked.

Five – Mardock Scramble, by Tow Ubukata and Yoshitoki Oima. Cyberpunk assassin revenge story. Seven volumes. Lots of action. And there are shape shifting hamsters and talking dolphins in there somewhere too.

What’s your new book about and why should we spend our coffee money on it?

My new book is about milk (get Day of the Milkman HERE!). How a world is drowned in it, people rely upon it to continue their day-to-day lives, and then a milkman wakes up to find that he’s the last of his people, left floating in a curdling ocean. It’s about the will to survive. It’s about the search for meaning and understanding. It’s about coping with loss and trying to comprehend the world around you. But really, it’s just about milk.

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Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

Show Me Your Shelves: MP Johnson

MP Johnson is the kind of guy who brings together punk, slime, pubic hair, and burritos. He also knows where your parents like to stick their nasty tongues. In other words, he’s awesome. Seeing/hearing him read live is a pleasure and talking books and gruesome shit is one of the reasons I look forward to going to BizarroCon every year. Now that MP has a new novel out with Eraserhead Press, I thought it’d be a great time to ask him to us his stuff and talk a bit about books. Dig it.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I am the Maximum Attack Three Thousand, or MATT for short. But I go by MP Johnson for religious purposes.

Books play two roles in my life: to suck money out of my pockets and to put awesomeness into my head. My book collection is a constantly shifting monstrosity. Cycles of binging and purging mean that it’s never quite the same. There are some books that will always be in the collection. There are some that I’m eager to ditch.

In high school, I went though a phase in which I had to make all of my collections (books, music, movies) The Best™. I bought stuff I thought was important to have in a collection that people would respect and sold stuff that wasn’t. I ended up selling stuff I loved and buying shit I didn’t care about. Now I know that a good collection of books looks like a scrapheap that only the owner can truly understand. I don’t need to own the canon of classic horror, and it’s weird when I see something resembling it on someone else’s bookshelf. Okay, you know all the important books, but what are you into? Where’s your copy of Fast Sofa that you randomly bought when you were 14 because it had a Flesh Eaters flexi in it and you fell in love with it?

Right now, my collection is recovering from an arbitrary purge. I sold about half of it because I moved around a couple times and I hate moving books. I realized I regretted getting rid of a lot of that stuff. Then I swung back the other way and am just cooling down from spending a stupid amount of money on new stuff. Basically, I’m a lunatic and shouldn’t be allowed money or possessions.

At some point, every author has to choose between romance and bizarro; why did you opt for the weird stuff?

I opted for romance because it’s just so gross. Did you know that sometimes, when people love each other, one will stick his or her tongue up the other’s butt? And that’s like a sweet, conservative example. Most peoples’ parents have done that. I’m not saying that it doesn’t feel really fucking good or that there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s also grosser than eating bugs.

Most of my characters are on a quest for love, and sometimes it even sickens them, the energy and resources they are expending just to have someone to hold onto, even if it’s a pig or a sky serpent. And most of the time, the romance is just utterly doomed because one side wants it more than the other, and it results in some sort of tomfoolery involving inter-dimensional caterpillars or fucked up clown sex.

What are some of your favorite tomes? Is there one you think would surprise people if they knew you love it?

My favorites are Books of Blood by Clive Barker, Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison and Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Pretty 101, really. I don’t think much of the stuff I love would surprise anyone. Maybe The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway or The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie. Or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie novelization, which is actually the book that got me into reading books in the first place.

What’s up with pubes in burritos?

Beats alfalfa sprouts, right?

What’s your new book about and why should we click away from this interview and buy it?

Dungeons & Drag Queens is an epic fantasy adventure. With drag queens. I love old-school sword and sorcery stuff, from Robert E. Howard up to the stuff that lingered through the ‘80s, like Dean Andersson’s Warrior Witch of Hel, and movies like the Beastmaster. I also love drag queens. Drag is just an amazing, subversive form of self-expression that is also an intensely multifaceted form of art. Not only are these girls fucking with gender norms, they’re doing makeup, choreography, fashion design, music, comedy. I am completely in awe and totally jealous.

Anyway D&DQ is about a small-town drag queen who gets whisked away to a realm of slimy monster shit and pervy dragons. Lots of swords and blood and romance.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

New Books from Lazy Fascist

Lazy Fascist, the mustachioed imprint of Eraserhead Press, has just dropped four new books, including the bizarro fables The Fun We’ve Had by Michael J Seidlinger and The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World by Brian Allen Carr. Also out is the first issue of their new print journal, Lazy Fascist Review, featuring fiction and interviews with some of today’s top writers. Also out now is The Collected Works of Noah Cicero Vol. 2, which contains more of Noah Cicero’s classic white trash minimalism.

LastHorrorNovelcoverThe Last Horror Novel in the History of the World by Brian Allen Carr

The black magic of bad living only looks hideous to honest eyes.

Welcome to Scrape, Texas, a nowhere town near the Mexican border. Few people ever visit Scrape, and the unlucky ones who live there never seem to escape. They fill their days with fish fries, cheap beer, tobacco, firearms, and sex. But Scrape is about to be invaded by a plague of monsters unlike anything ever seen in the history of the world. First there’s La Llorona — the screaming woman in white — and her horde of ghost children. Then come the black, hairy hands. Thousands, millions, scurrying on fingers like spiders or crabs. But the hands are nothing to El Abuelo, a wicked creature with a magical bullwhip, and even El Abuelo don’t mean shit when the devil comes to town.

Click here to order The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World.

thefunwevehadThe Fun We’ve Had by Michael J Seidlinger

“Michael Seidlinger is a homegrown Calvino, a humanist, and wise and darkly whimsical. His invisible cities are the spires of the sea where we all sail our coffins in search of our stories.”-Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville

Two lovers are adrift in a coffin on an endless sea. Who are they? They are him and her. They are you and me. They are rowing to salvage what remains of themselves. They are rowing to remember the fun we’ve had.

Click here to order The Fun We’ve Had.



lazyfascistreview1Lazy Fascist Review #1 edited by Cameron Pierce

The debut issue of the literary journal from premiere independent publisher, Lazy Fascist Press. Featuring interviews with Dennis Cooper and Tom Piccirilli, fiction and poetry by Elizabeth Ellen, William Boyle, Juliet Escoria, Mike Meginnis, Sean Kilpatrick, Ben Spivey, Monica Storss, and Hernan Ortiz. Also featuring recommended beer pairings and beer reviews by Ross E. Lockhart.

Click here to order Lazy Fascist Review #1.

Show Me Your Shelves: Josh Myers

Josh Myers is a cool guy who likes to read and write books, so we got along from the start. After reading Feast of Oblivion, published by Copeland Valley Press in 2012, I wanted more of his fiction. He said he was working on something. That was good…for a while. Then I got impatient and started pestering him about it. In retaliation, he took his sweet time. Whatever. The point is that GUNS is almost here, and talking about it was the perfect opportunity to also ask Josh to show us his shelves. Dig it.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I’m Josh, a guy from New Jersey who occasionally writes a book or two.

I love books to pieces. When I was young, my parents always encouraged me to read, no matter how weird the books were that I was drawn to. In grade school, my first few teachers had a deep love of books, and they really helped to instill that in me early on. And having become friends with a bunch of really talented writers over these past few years, man…it’s just the best. These are all people who share that deep, deep love of books. When I meet up with most of my friends, one of the first questions asked is, “So what have you been reading?”
There’s just something so great about a book that you can’t get from any other medium. I mean, I love movies and a fair amount of TV, but give me a book any day. I’m literally surrounded by them. There are books on all four walls of my room, and they bleed out into the rest of the house. Sometimes I worry about the shelves over my bed giving way and burying me under books, but in the grand scheme of things…is it really such a bad way to go?
[Flash forward to 2022: Josh Myers dies under a pile of books, last words reported to be, “Oh jeez, I was wrong, this blows.”]

If you had to get a tattoo of a cover, what cover would it be and why?

You mean besides this one?

I got this for a few reasons. One is obviously because I’m a big fan of Andersen Prunty. He’s one of my favorite writers, and a damn nice guy. But I also just really love that design. Brandon Duncan an insanely talented dude, and he absolutely killed it with the FUCKNESS cover. And it sort of speaks to my own slightly skewed sense of patriotism.

But back to the question.
Right off the top of my head, probably Matthew Revert’s HOW TO AVOID SEX. The book is so damn impressive, and I love that image on the cover. Plus, I imagine it would translate really well as a tattoo. So well, in fact, that it might end up happening sometime.
And I don’t think I need to tell anybody at this point what an incredible designer Matt is. His covers always blow me away. But his writing, too, is just extraordinary. I think a lot of people overlook that because of his stellar design work. I really believe the guy is one of the best writers going, though. I mean, have you read BASAL GANGLIA?
(Side note: I actually do plan on getting a tattoo of an image from Matt’s novel, THE TUMOURS MADE ME INTERESTING pretty soon.)

Desert island cliché question: you can only take ten books. Go.

That’s not fair and you know it.
I’m sure that five minutes after I send this I’ll think, “Oh nuts, I really should’ve included THIS, or THAT,” but as of right now (4:03 pm EST, 4/5/14), my desert island books are as follows:

CATCH-22 – Joseph Heller: I don’t think I can say anything about this that hasn’t already been said much better by someone else. One of my all-time favorites.

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS – Kurt Vonnegut: As the asterisk tattoo on my arm will attest, I’m a pretty big fan of Vonnegut. It’s hard to pick just one of his books, but I think the overall madcap spirit of this one might just be my favorite. Then again, talk to me tomorrow and I’ll probably tell you CAT’S CRADLE.

BASAL GANGLIA – Matthew Revert: Buy. This. Book. Crushingly gorgeous stuff. One of the best I’ve read in years. I feel like it’s a book I’ll end up reading quite a few times throughout my life.

THE COMPLETE STORIES – Flannery O’Connor: Do I really need to explain this? O’Connor was, as far as I’m concerned, one of the most brilliant writers to have ever lived. And while I was tempted to pick WISE BLOOD, this is 550 pages worth of her genius.

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE – Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I enjoy a lot of Young Adult fiction, and I enjoy a lot of so-called “queer” fiction, so when one of my best friends recommended this, I bought it the next day. It’s an incredibly beautiful book. I can’t sing its praises enough.

THE DOOM MAGNETIC! TRILOGY – William Pauley III: Because sometimes you just need some good old-fashioned out-and-out weird action fun. Plus, it’s three books in one, so, technically, I WIN.

BLEEDING SHADOWS – Joe R. Lansdale: To be honest, I haven’t actually read this yet. But I’m a huge fan of Lansdale, and this is nearly 500 pages of stories and novellas. Should keep me grinning for a while.

LYNCH ON LYNCH – ed. Chris Rodley: If I can’t watch any David Lynch movies on this desert island, at least I can re-read this and get glimpses into the man’s brain.

ELMER GANTRY – Sinclair Lewis: Opening lines: “Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk.” Total genius, and criminally underrated.

ROLE MODELS – John Waters: Maybe my favorite ever non-fiction book. Even if you don’t like his films (and boy oh boy, I DO), you can’t help loving John Waters. He’s a true inspiration. A saint for all the outsiders and minorities of minorities. This book could very well be my bible.

Are you answering this interview drunk? What role do you think boozing has played in your career?

I wasn’t when I started.


Not much until recently. With the next book I’m working on, I started taking a notebook to my favorite bar (Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope, PA) and jotting down notes while drinking beer. It’s surprisingly effective. It’s also a really good excuse to go drink.
Actually, wait.
Yeah, no, I’m wrong.
And maybe drunk.
Okay, so I live next to my grandparents, and most afternoons I go have a beer or two in the garage with my grandfather. During the writing of GUNS, starting in the very early stages, I would get ideas from the stories he would tell me from his youth (Catholic school, crazy relatives, etc) while we were having beers and shooting the shit. This was back when GUNS was still really rough ideas. From drinking with my grandfather, I got a character I really love, and a bunch of other things I can’t talk about without spoiling.
So I guess boozing HAS had a role in my “career” already.
Thanks, beer!

Your next book took a while. Why did you make us wait so long? What were you reading while you wrote it? Do you hate us?

I made you wait because I like to feel important.
No, that’s not the case at all. I’m just a really slow writer. My work ethic when it comes to writing is pretty awful. And I wasn’t really used to writing something as straightforward as this story had to be, so there was a frequent feeling of “this isn’t working”. I very nearly gave up a few times. For a while I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the book wouldn’t be done until 2015. If not for the fact that Justin was already working on the art at that point, and if it weren’t for the group of friends who have been supporting me, this book definitely wouldn’t be finished right now. Hell, it probably would’ve been totally abandoned and I’d be drinking myself into oblivion.
But thanks to those people, what I have now is a book I am incredibly proud of. A book that I can shake in peoples’ faces while I drink myself into oblivion.

I was reading a lot of crime fiction while I wrote this one. Not exclusively, not by a long shot. But as it’s a crime story, it felt appropriate. Although I love crime fiction anyway, so I probably would’ve been reading the same things regardless.
As far as crime, I know I went through a ton of Ken Bruen and obviously Lansdale, some Richard Stark, Jim Thompson, Duane Swierczynski (a huge influence), Wallace Stroby, George V. Higgins, a few Hard Case Crime books, a touch of Derek Raymond, and James Sallis.
Beyond that, I was honestly reading quite a bit of YA. So maybe that odd dichotomy shows up in the book. Or maybe I’m drunk.

Yes I do.

In 3k words or less, answer the following question: why should we go out and buy GUNS?

Because Justin Coons and I have put in a whole lot of effort over the last year and a half to make this thing the best it can be.
Because it’s loaded with violence and vengeance.
Because Justin’s artwork is goddamn beautiful.
Because Matthew Revert’s cover design makes me so happy I could kiss him, but he’s in Australia and my lips don’t reach that far.
Because there are written extras by Matt, Justin, William Pauley III, and my awesome friend Kerry Cullen, who happens to be a really brilliant writer herself.
Because Chuck Copeland will give me a stern talking to if it doesn’t sell as many copies as he has determined it should sell. He won’t tell me how many that is, but I assume it’s over eight and less than twenty-two.
Because it’s a thinly-veiled tribute to my ailing hero, Tim Smith, and the music he made with his beautiful band, Cardiacs. Tim’s a lovely person who made lovely music and I wanted to thank him for that.
Because I got a tattoo of an image from the book and I’ll feel pretty dumb if nobody buys it.
Because books are made to be read, and with all the other options out there, it would put a big ol’ smile on my face to know that somebody read mine.
Thank you.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

Show Me Your Shelves: CV Hunt and Andersen Prunty

You want to talk about talented duos? It doesn’t get better than these two. Seriously. Andersen Prunty is one of my favorite authors, an editor/publisher whose taste I agree with and whose work ethic I admire, and a man I got to “study” for an author spotlight I wrote for The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. CV Hunt is ridiculously talented, keeps surprising me with each new book (seriously Other People’s Shit was crazy and funny in ways I didn’t know she could pull off), and has delivered three outstanding books in less than a year. Almost as important as all that is the fact that they’re both Book People, my kind of people. Who wouldn’t want a peek at their shelves?
Who are you and what role do books play in your life?  

CV: My name is C.V. Hunt and sometimes I write stories. I’ve always been an avid reader and never imagined I would be writing someday. I like to think all those books I read were research for finding my voice when I finally sat down to write. I still read every day, but I find myself engrossed in more than just the writing now. Certain things like the layout, the publisher, and the cover design now have my attention. Before I starting writing I read books solely based on the back cover description.

AP: My name is Andersen Prunty. Books take up at least 38-41 percent of my life. That fluctuates periodically. Sometimes it’s as much as 62-71 percent. I write books sometimes. I edit other writers’ and my own books. I publish other writers’ and my own books. I’ve worked in bookstores for about five of my twenty working years. At my current day job, I listen to a lot of audio books. I don’t watch a lot of TV, don’t even have cable, and books fill the void this cultural anomaly inevitably creates.

What are some of your favorites? Are there any books you both love? Are there any books you guys ended up with two copies of after moving in together?  

CV: My favorite books are always changing. Right now I’d say my favorites are Tampa, American Psycho, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Invisible Monsters. I think Andersen and I both agree that American Psycho is a great book. A lot of times we try to read the same book within days of each other so we can discuss it. We did end up with a few doubles, but some of the doubles were books Andersen had bought and didn’t think he already owned. I’ve started a shelf on Goodreads of everything we own so we can consult it when we raid a book store.

(The shelf is amazing. You can check it out here.)

AP: We both had copies of American Psycho and Fight Club. Carrie had the ridiculous movie tie-in version of American Psycho so we donated it. But her copy of Fight Club was a first edition so it was way better than mine. Recently, I think we’ve both really liked Mike Kleine’s Mastodon Farm (full disclosure: I published this through Atlatl) and Alissa Nutting’s Tampa. Also, when we first met I remember talking about how much we both liked Bentley Little’s The Association. I have many many favorite books. Too many to name, probably. And I hardly ever re-read things. Some of the books that I have gone back to or could see myself going back to in the future are:

When folks have a few dozen books, space/cleaning/moving are not problems. When you have shelves upon shelves upon shelves, things change. How was your recent move and how much of a pain was it to move all those books? 

CV: I think we ended up with sixty boxes of books that had to be moved. Andersen was in charge of alphabetizing them once we were in the new place.

AP: We moved from a one-bedroom, 500 square-foot apartment to a house that is much larger so space isn’t really a problem. One room is just completely empty so we’ll probably eventually put books in there. Or maybe a meth lab, depending on the economy.
The move was challenging. My brother and I tried transporting the boxes of books to the lobby of the building via handtruck and somehow broke the elevator in the process. It subsequently involved a frantic call to the building manager where I informed her that if I had to carry 50 boxes of books down six flights of stairs I would probably die and she would have that on her hands. Miraculously, the elevator started working and we felt victorious.

Sharing a space with a writer for a prolonged period of time can lead to insanity and, in many cases, bloodshed. How do you two manage to deal with the pressures than come from writing, publishing, editing, plugging, etc.? 

CV: I actually find it to be less stressful. He’s the most supportive person in my life and he understands the time constraints when you work a day job. We usually set aside an hour or two in the evenings to work on our own projects. We’re both considerate and try to not be a distraction to other if one of us is obsessed with finishing something or getting to a good stopping point.

AP: Weekly shaming.

What can you tell us about your latest book? Why should we go get it yesterday?

CV: I recently self-published a novelette titled Baby Hater. If you’re really into reading a story about a woman who punches babies in the face then you should check it out.

AP: Sociopaths in Love. People seem to love it or hate it. One guy on Goodreads recommended it to sadists and filed it on one of his shelves labeled “absolute trash.” I feel really good about that!

You’re both prolific, so I’ll throw in one more question: What’s next? 

CV: I’m bouncing back and forth between two projects at the moment. I’m compiling a short story collection and writing a book. I’m an organic writer so I’m usually secretive about writing projects because I’m afraid I’ll jinx the story somehow. I don’t even let Andersen read anything until I’m 100% done and it’s ready for the final edit. The working title of the book is Hell’s Waiting Room and I still haven’t come up with a title for the short story collection.


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Show Me Your Shelves: Max Booth III

Max Booth III is an author, editor, and publisher of weird fiction. He also does strange things in a hotel at night for a living. He loves books and rumor has it he has a new one out there, so I asked him to show me his shelves.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, a small press of dark, weird fiction based in San Antonio. I have edited numerous anthologies, my most well known probably being So it Goes: a Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve even written some stuff. Last year Dark Moon Books published my collection of bizarro flash fiction, They Might Be Demons, and Post Mortem Press is releasing my debut novel, Toxicity, in April. I also write online for LitReactor, Zombie POP, and Revolt Daily, not to mention my blog at, which I keep frequently updated.

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PMMP publishes everything, and that includes bizarro. What space do you think weird fiction occupies in today’s literary scene and why do you choose to publish it?

Weird fiction has always been here. We just haven’t always called it weird; we’ve disguised it with terms like “experimental fiction”, which can throw some people off before even opening the book. The weird genre is loved by many, especially in film—Terry Gilliam comes to mind right away. In literature, we are able to be even weirder. Film can only take you so far, while words can dig into your mind and plant seeds.

The tribute anthologies are a great idea. How do you go about selecting the authors you’ll pay tribute to? Okay, so this cliché question has to follow that one: who are some of your favorite authors?

So far I’ve chosen writers that have played a big inspiration in my own writing. Writers that I read growing up. Vonnegut, Bukowski, Elmore Leonard…they are all writers that played a big part in shaping who I am as a writer. Plus they’re all dead now, and that’s a damn shame. But I am also trying to be careful and only choose writers that had a very distinctive style from others; writers that made this world their own. I’m not sure who I’ll target after Elmore Leonard. Time will tell.

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You work, edit, publish, promote, write, and get your own work out there. How do you find the time to do it all?

I admit that my writing is not as frequent as it was before starting Perpetual Motion Machine, but I prepared myself for that beforehand. I’m lucky to have a full-time job as a hotel night auditor; it’s a very slow job, and leaves me with a lot of downtime, so I typically do all my editing and writing between 11 P.M. and 7 A.M. I am also very lucky to have a business partner, Lori Michelle, who picks up after all my slack and makes sure shit gets done.

What’s your latest book about and why should we pre-order that toxic bad boy?

Toxicity is my first novel. It is my love-letter to films like Snatch and Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels. It is the product of somebody who grew up watching the films of Quentin Tarantino and devouring the books of Elmore Leonard. You should pre-order it if you like dark comedies and crime novels. Fans of the absurd should look no further.

You should pre-order it because this is my first novel, and I need you to have faith, I need you to give me a chance. I am confident that this book will make you a fan for life. Because if it doesn’t, then what the fuck am I even doing?

My writing is my life, and my life is something I will not waste.

Show Me Your Shelves: Tiffany Scandal and Michael Kazepis

Check it out, Show Me Your Shelves is featuring a couple for the first time! You know you like it. Tiffany Scandal is part of this year’s NBAS and Michael Kazepis’ debut novel is coming soon from Broken River Books. This is one talented couple. They also look cute together, just don’t let them know. Now dig the interview. It’s a good one.

Who are you two and what role do books play in your lives?

TS: I’m Tiffany Scandal. I’m a writer, Suicide Girl, and photographer. Books were my security blanket growing up. I was a weird kid with a lot of imagination and reading was my go-to for escaping reality. I remember going book shopping with my family, and getting into trouble because I would read the books they thought would last me a week on that same day. Teachers eventually started loaning me literature and by junior high, I was reading college-level material and was usually one of two kids constantly in the library.

While that’s cool to look back on, it was problematic at the time—in high school, I actually got kicked out of the honors program because my vocabulary was “too grandiose” and I was consistently given F-minuses (that shouldn’t be a real grade, right?), all because my teacher didn’t believe that a fifteen year old was capable of writing what I was turning in. No matter—books were there for me, and they didn’t care if I was a snobby little shit or not.

MK: My name is Michael Kazepis. Lately, I’ve been writing weird urban crime books. Being a military brat, fiction had always been this way to combat a loneliness that developed from moving back and forth between continents, never keeping the same people in my life. I started young with my brother’s comic books and Stars and Stripes newspapers, whatever was laying around, and it grew from there. As an adult, I’ve continued to change locations frequently, and whatever survival mechanism compelled me to escape into fiction seems like permanent function now.

What’s interesting (at least to me), considering how much I read, is that I’ve got crippling attention span issues and shouldn’t be able to. People often have to repeat things to me, even when I stare right at them, trying hard to concentrate. Most speech just drifts around me, dissipates. Notepads help a lot when I’m at work and I’ve developed an ace shorthand to keep me sharp. I’m lucky that reading has always been one constant I can lose myself in, narrow the focus a while. Never feels more centered than when I’m in the last stretches of a novel.

Did you guys put your books together when you moved into the same place? How does that work?

TS: Pretty much. Michael has severe OCD when it comes to bookshelf organization. When we recently rearranged furniture in the house, he sat on the floor for a few hours, organizing the books by genre and writer. Not all of his books are here, but if they were, I’m sure there would be lots of duplicates. Dude’s got good taste.

MK: I only brought a messenger bag full of books to Portland, but I’ve learned to prioritize between what I’m reading and what I can’t live without. Luckily for me, Tiffany came ready-made as a partner, so a fine collection was waiting when I moved in. The rest of my books are spread across three cities. It’s just easier to build anew than keep carrying it all around.

What are some of your favorites? Is there a book or books you guys disagree over? One you both really dig?

MK: No particular order—the first three Pynchon novels, HOPSCOTCH, BLOOD MERIDIAN, everything Sam Pink, AMERICAN TABLOID, THE DARK HALF, THE NIGHT GARDENER, WISE BLOOD, everything Cody Goodfellow, REVEREND AMERICA, the Gately stuff in INFINITE JEST. Cameron Pierce’s LOST IN CAT BRAIN LAND had some stories in it that made me feel. Daniel Woodrell’s BAYOU TRILOGY is meaty as fuck. I think my favorite has to be the ten or so loose pages left of my first copy of GRAVITY’S RAINBOW—I got so frustrated at that book the first time I read it that I tore it to pieces, distributing most of its pages across the Indianapolis loop. But for some reason I couldn’t shake that book out of my head, and over the years it’s become the one I revisit most.

Tiffany and I don’t disagree much on books. I suppose I don’t get Sylvia Plath, so maybe that counts. But we like Bolaño’s ANTWERP a lot. We pick books to read to each other. Recently it was ZEROVILLE by Steve Erickson. Now it’s I AM GENGHIS CUM by Violet LeVoit.

TS: My turn already? Jesus. Too many to even know where to start. Uh, EVERYTHING AND NOTHING by Borges is my absolute favorite collection of short stories.  OF LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS by Garcia-Marquez made me cry like a baby. HELL HOUSE, NEUROMANCER, THE SHINING, RAYUELA, THE BELL JAR, WRITTEN ON THE BODY, WISE BLOOD, the SHADOW OF THE WIND series. THE BABY JESUS BUTT PLUG was my gateway book into bizarro fiction. From there I fell in love with ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS, TRASHLAND A GO-GO, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU,  PLACENTA OF LOVE, OCEAN OF LARD, TUMOR FRUIT, HAUNT; shit by Cody Goodfellow, Brian Keene, Shane McKenzie, and J David Osborne. I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a million more books.

Mike and I actually enjoy a lot of books together. Picking up books we’re both excited about and taking turns reading chapters/sections to each other—yeah, we’re gross. We haven’t really disagreed on books, but there have been excerpts I’ve read by Sylvia Plath and Jeanette Winterson that he didn’t seem overly impressed by. So my queer/feminist section may stay relatively untouched by him, which is funny because Michael loves hanging out with lesbians.

MK: That’s true. Lots of my friends happen to be lesbians.

Writers are divas. How do you guys deal with each other when the “writing blues” attack? How do you go about offering support?

MK: Writers are tough to be around. Most times we communicate it’s easy to just imagine actual vomit or shit seeping copiously from our mouths. I’d be afraid to hear my own conversations from a distance. Often with other writers on social media, both professional and not, I find myself wanting to type “shut the fuck up” into the comment sections. I always manage to stop myself, thankfully. But they’re also my people, so it’s love-hate. I’m sure someone feels like that about me.

One way that having a partner who’s also a writer has been beneficial is that over the past six months, she and I have supported each other when pressed with deadlines. You learn that there are some moments to provide someone with space and other moments for bridging that space. It’s also nice when we have time to proofread each other and can immediately point out oversights, shit that on its own takes days or weeks, maybe longer. There’s a scene in my upcoming book that Tiffany actually wrote for me, because I was clueless as to its execution—she was sketching out an example of what I could do with the idea and her version turned out better than what I had tried to do, so I pilfered it.

TS: Ha! Have fun trying to guess which scene that is, I guess. Michael and I are wondering which scene I might get incorrectly credited for. Now, going back to the question, writers are total divas. I was gonna write some witty banter about conversations with writers, but I like Michael’s answer better. So we’ll just go with what he says about puke and shit. As far as our relationship goes, I feel that it helps that we’re both writers. We understand each other pretty well and have been able to navigate proper support based on that. Space, pep talks, forced breaks, coffee refills, food. It’s kind of awesome. I also love that we can bounce ideas off of one another. And when we get stuck on scenes, we tackle them together. I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve both thrown our hands up in defeat over a scene, and the other comes in with a calm voice, asks about set up and goals, and offers a suggestion. We both love seeing the ideas we give each other click and hearing the rapid progression of keys being hammered at immediately afterward.

Okay, so you both have books out there. Tell us about them so we can go buy them.

MK: I get bummed by certain aspects of the writing industry, particularly salesmanship. I was explaining this to David Osborne, who’s publishing me, and he said “Well, tough shit. Go sell your book.” So in as few words as possible—LONG LOST DOG OF IT is Mediterranean neo-noir—an homeless detective in a strange city, a mob enforcer whose last job leaves a witness, an expatriate intent on murdering her unfaithful girlfriend, an assassin with a striking resemblance to the 35th President of the United States. Overlapping lives, etc. I like the logline for Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE, “a woman in trouble”—this is like that: some people in trouble.

THERE’S NO HAPPY ENDING is bizarro horror. A love story at the end of the world. Everything falling apart in the literal way. Dresden and Isobel get separated right around the time things go to shit. Lots of memorable scenes: the ark, the aquarium, the infinite room, the ending. Real simple conflict: Will they find each other again? The situation says, Outlook Not Good. It’s part Y: THE LAST MAN, part ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE. Deathly bleak at times too, but with a real sense of humor about it.

TS:Uh, they’re awesome! My book, THERE’S NO HAPPY ENDING, is an apocalyptic love story where two lovers are fighting impossible odds to find each other before the world physically disintegrates into nothing. It’s violent, gory, kind of funny, and heartfelt. People other than my own family seem to really like it. It’s available now through Eraserhead Press in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Michael wrote a punk-as-fuck crime noir book. LONG LOST DOG OF IT feels like what you’d get if maybe David Lynch directed a Bikini Kill video, but with badass action scenes. The imagery in this book is both haunting and boner-inducing. It’ll be out on both paperback and Kindle through Broken River Books on February 1.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

Show Me Your Shelves: Michael Allen Rose

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I am Michael Allen Rose, author, musician and performance artist. I also make a mean baked Mac N’ Cheese. Books have been some of my best friends and means of seeing new worlds and perspectives since I was a kid. I was one of those weird kids who was just as happy sitting in my room reading as I was out playing with the neighborhood kids, if not happier.

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You read bizarro as well as everything else out there: what are some of your favorite non-bizarro reads?

Around the end of my undergrad college years, I got really heavily into the existentialists and absurdists: Camus, Sartre, Beckett, Kafka, Ionesco and the like. I remain a huge fan of that philosophy and literary style, but I’m also a huge fan of humor writing and pop-culture studies. Dark comedy is a great place between those sorts of authors and straight up comedy, which led me to Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore, Chuck Palahniuk, David Wong and a lot of the bizarro stuff as well.

You are a performer, stage man, madman; is it hard for you to sit down alone and write? Does music help?

Music is actually a huge part of writing for me. Most of the things I’ve written, I can point to the specific song that helped generate or refine the idea. This was especially true when I was concentrating more on playwriting. Entire works sprung from single songs that resonated with me in a certain way. As far as the writing being difficult, I think my main problem is a lack of focus. I start a million projects, but sitting down and doing the work of finishing them, though immensely satisfying, is difficult as hell. I’m thinking of asking hot women to tie me to the computer chair and make me write a certain number of words before they let me go. That… may be unreleated, however. Ahem.

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What book would you like to see turned into a musical?

I think Laura Lee Bahr’s Haunt would make a great stage production. I’d be interested to see a musical where the numbers were written somehow in second person. Do the characters sing about you while they sing to you? How does that work. Outside of that, I guess anything unconventional that would screw with the tropes of the american musical. Like a cookbook, or a pamphlet about the Illuminati that you get from some homeless dude on a street corner.

Tell us about your latest book and why we should get our paws on it immediately.

My latest release is Declension, which was put out as a super limited release on Dynatox Ministries. As of this writing there might be just a few left, literally. It’s an interesting one, as it was originally written as an experimental performance piece while I was in graduate school, and then recently re-worked into a piece of meta-fiction for this release. A very strange book, steeped in surrealist techniques. It’ll be interesting to see how people react. Other than that, I have a couple of things I’m working on. Hopefully this year will see the follow-up to Party Wolves in My Skull from Eraserhead Press, along with a few other things I have in the works. I should mention that a few anthologies and things I’ve been accepted into are coming out super soon, if they’re not already. The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction issue #11 has a new short story of mine in it, as well as the Bizarro Bizarro anthology from Bizarro Pulp Press and Witch! from Dynatox Ministries. My band Flood Damage is finally recording an album this winter as well. But you know how it goes. Artists are like sharks, if we’re not moving forward, we die. And if we’re not doing too much, we feel like it’s not enough.

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Show me your shelves: Justin Grimbol

This column is called Show me your shelves, but here at Bizarro Central, we do things differently. This week, we feature an author who agreed to show us his shelves and didn’t have any: Justin Grimbol. If you know Grimboli, you know this somehow makes perfect sense.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

My name is Justin Grimbol and I write books. But even if I didn’t write book, I would read them a lot. I love books. When I was young I read comics mainly. Underground shit. Love and Rockets. Ed The Happy Clown. But then, when I was about 21, I read Ham On Rye by Bukowski. I got obsessed with that weirdly warm and wild effect sentences have on my mind. I started reading nonstop. Now I hate comics. Too many pictures. Not enough words. Fuck comics. I write now. I write all the time. I write books and poems and stuff on Facebook. I can’t stop. It’s getting crazed.

I asked you to show me your shelves. You showed me a stack of books. What gives?

About ten years ago someone stole my car. I had so much shit in the trunk of that thing. I had hundreds of books and my entire wardrobe. I was devastated. It was Thanksgiving. I had to get home. I took the train, cause I had no fucking car. The train was packed. I cried in front of all these people and they were looking at me. Some people were looking at me like I was a crazy person. Some were looking at me with pure compassion. They didn’t know what had happened to me. Maybe I got my heart broken. Maybe a relative died. They didn’t know I was crying about a stolen car and clothes and books and DVDs. I got so mad at myself. I promised myself to never get so attached to things like that again. That weekend I got rid of all my comics, all my books, and all my DVDs. I enjoyed getting rid of all that stuff. It felt freeing.

So I buy lots of books. But I don’t keep them. I sell them to book stores or give them to friends. The stack in the photo is of what few books I keep. I call it THE SACRED STACK. I love the books in that stack. I love them too much. I can’t get rid of them.


What are some of your favorite books?

Most of my favorite books are in the stack. But there are some books that should be in the stack, that aren’t. HAM ON RYE should be in that stack. There should be more Mellick in the stack. Mellick has so many great books. He deserves a stack of his own, but I gave all my Mellicks to the kids in this rehab I used to work at.

I have a Kindle, so some of my favorite books are on that little gizmo. I love Prunty’s Fill The Grand Canyon and Live Forever. And Cameron Peirce’s Pickled Apocalypse of Pancake Island. And Sam Pink’s Person and Hurt Others. All those books should be in the stack. One day I will buy paperback copies of these books and they shall join THE SACRED STACK. But the stack can’t get too big though. I will have to get rid of some of THE STACK’S current residents.

Oh, I forgot! THERE’S ONE MORE BOOK THAT SHOULD BE IN THE STACK! Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan. That’s my new favorite book. I read it and the fucking thing blew my mind to little Grimbols that started dry humping each other. It’s so good. It’s not in the stack because I lent it to my dad. But it will be in the stack soon. SOON!

You like to write filthy stuff. What’s the filthiest books you’ve ever read?

The Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez. That book is crazed. So much sex. So much raw nasty goodness. Then there is Going Monstering by Edward Lee. That’s a different kind of filthy. That book made my soul and my body feel filthy. Like I needed to take a shower. With scolding hot water. And scrub myself down with sand paper. Anything to get clean again. It’s amazing but just wrong. Gutierrez is different. He makes me want to party and sweat and have clumsy-beautiful sex.

What’s your last book about and why should we run and buy it?

THE PARTY LORDS. It’s a rowdy little book. Its like Sixteen Candles dry humped Deliverance, or the Wrong Turn movies. It’s a funny book. But sappy at times, too. I grew up watching Fried Green Tomatoes over and over again. I’m a sappy guy. And that sappiness gets into everything. I can’t help it.

The Tea House: Guest Post by Andy de Fonseca

By Andy de Fonseca

photo 1Today is brought to you by water. Plain, boring, ever-so-wishing it were something more, water.

I realize how dull water will seem to everyone. How bland, how unimpressive, how… not special it is. And that’s where my article begins.

Does every kid go through an “I’m going to be an artist!” phase? I did. I would paint, color, draw, pastel away, thinking I was in the know, thinking I had something others didn’t have, thinking I was special. I was an artist. Not only that, a mother fucking prodigy.

Then I started elementary school and saw that everyone was an artist. Every single one of those god damned kids knew how to paint, and some were better than me. Some knew how to make people look more like actual humans, and not thick stick men. Their suns looked proportionate to the sky their drawings played under. And fuck if ALL they knew how to blend their fucking colors!


Now is a good time to mention that at a young age, death was very real to me, and so the You-Have-Little-Time-Left clock started a good forty years early. The desire to leave my imprint on this speck of dust floating on a sunbeam became my core motivation. Art was a beautiful thing in itself, but I wanted to change the world with it.

So, elementary school was my realization of how boring I was. How bland, how unimpressive, how not special I was. I was just like everyone else, and if books and movies told me anything, “everyone else” didn’t change the world.

I became extremely competitive in all of my endeavors. Not with others, but with myself. I was a damn good runner in elementary track, I won ribbons. But why didn’t I run faster? Why didn’t I pass that broad up there? You’re shit at this, Andy, FIND SOMETHING NEW.

This mental flogging went on for quite a while, from one undertaking to another. Shit was getting hopeless as the years went by, and a desk job as an assistant for the rest of my life seemed imminent.

I can’t tell you the turning point for me, of when I found what I truly loved to do, because it was something I had always been doing. Something I went to every night when the day needed to be forgotten. I went to it in my free time while trying to figure out how to leave my signature on earth, between the old failed ventures and new.

Long ago, I saw the movie Toy Story in theaters, and even as a kid, I realized there was something special about it. They didn’t dumb the movie down for me. It knew my pains. My weaknesses. It knew how to make me laugh from within. It filled me with nostalgia when I barely had a life to remember. This movie was written by people who had really felt life, and remembered every bit, every age of it, and pushed for something more.

And that was it.

Writing. Writing calmed me, moved me, flowed from me. It was as natural as breathing to me. I didn’t do it to leave my name on earth, I did it because I knew nothing else. I did it when I had nothing else. Letting my fingers fly across the keyboard or scribble a note for later was cathartic. I could mold a being into someone you love, who will betray and destroy your faith. Carve a knight who could slay your dragon, only for you to find out later it was the dragon you wanted to win. This I knew, and this I always came back to.

There are stories to tell, specific emotions to pluck, worlds to discover, villains to love, heroes to hate.

I’m not special. I never will be. But there are millions of people in my head who are. People who fly over oceans to be someone new, ruined teenagers who discover a grand truth, old women on the verge of dying who burst forth with the light of a burning sun and swallow the universe whole. Yes… these people are special.

They’ll turn their water into wine.
Andy de Fonseca is a geek. She has always been this way, despite numerous attempts throughout childhood to curb her love of anime, video games, dragons, and the unholy songs of science. She also likes Cheez-Its.

Her book The Cheat Code for God Mode, published by Eraserhead Press, can be found on If you order it before the end of the year, she’ll send you an 8-bit bead design of your favorite video game character. Because, hey, you deserve it

Show me your shelves: Ross E. Lockhart

By Gabino Iglesias

I never judge people by their looks; I judge them by their books. I love talking books and often wonder what the bookshelves of authors, editors, publishers, reviewers, and fellow book addicts look like. This is my attempt to satisfy my curiosity and share those bookshelves with the world. Writer, editor, and Cthulhu devotee Ross E. Lockhart kicks things off.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I’m Ross E. Lockhart. I make books. I’m an anthologist, editor, author, and publisher. I edited and published the anthology Tales of Jack the Ripper through my company Word Horde, and I’m the author of the punk rock novel Chick Bassist, published by Lazy Fascist Press. I’m also a voracious reader and have amassed more than enough books to build a small-to-medium-sized fortress out of them.

When did you start reading and what got you hooked on it?

I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember, and I’ve been writing almost as long. I’m a big fan of story’s power to sweep us up into something larger than ourselves, and the way that story-telling is integral to the human experience. Nothing is quite as reaffirming, yet revolutionary, as a well-told story.

Ross reads to Elinor in front of his bookshelf. Elinor is known in the publishing business as the dog that edits the editor.

What are some of your favorite books? Any prized tomes in your collection?

I’m a huge fan of classic weird and fantastic fiction, particularly Poe, James, and Lovecraft, but I’m equally influenced by Lenny Bruce’s How to Talk Dirty and Influence People and Groucho Marx’s Groucho and Me. I take horror and comedy very seriously–both genres seek a physiological effect, whether shudder or guffaw–and find the line between the two to be about as thin–and slippery–as a banana peel. The difference is whether slipping on that banana peel lands you on your ass or breaks your neck. As for prized tomes, I’m not much of an autograph collector–to the point that I often forget to sign books for friends. I buy books to read them, to lose myself in them, but not as commodities. I do have a few rarities, but those tend to carry stories of their own.

Are there any books you’d like to add to your collection?

Absolutely. My Amazon wish list is out of control.

You work with books, so tell us what you’ve written/edited so we can buy it!

Chick Bassist is my latest novel. Tales of Jack the Ripper is my latest anthology, but I also edited The Book of Cthulhu I and II, and am working on a third volume now.

The Tea House: Guest Post with Justin Grimbol

By Justin Grimbol

BudToday’s exercise is brought to you by the thirty rack of Bud that’s left over from my wedding. It’s sitting in my fridge. It’s getting older. Stronger. Beer gets better with age, right?

Most people can’t write drunk. I sure as fuck can’t. The only thing I can do drunk is make bad (I mean awesome) jokes and grab asses without feeling bad about it. I’m sure some people can write drunk. It seems fully possible. And if you can, it sounds really fun. But I prefer to do other things drunk and I prefer to write first thing in the morning, when I’m still sleepy and stinky and very sober.

But I love doing readings slightly drunk. And I like the crowd to be more than slightly drunk. Why do so many readings take place in coffee shops and libraries? Those are the worst places. There’s NO booze. My best readings have been at bars or house parties. Why? Cause people are drunk. Drunk people make a great audience. They are rowdy and like to laugh. They keep things lively, and are incredibly receptive.

When writing, I think it’s important to keep drunk people in mind. My new book, The Party Lords, just got published by Grindhouse Press. I like to describe it as being like Sixteen Candles and Deliverance had a baby and that baby is drunk and wants to dry hump your leg. I wrote it wanting it to be thoughtful and sweet and endearing, but my real dream for this book is for a bunch of friends to be sitting around drunk, find a copy of it, read it out loud to each other and then laugh their asses off. That would be pretty awesome. Maybe they would like the book so much they would read it again in the morning when they are all hungover. Maybe the sappy parts would make the cry a little. Like little cry babies. I’m getting all teary- eyed just thinking about people crying while reading my book.

So here’s the exercise: write a short story meant to be read aloud to drunk people. Invite over some friends and get them drunk. Read your story. See what your friends find funny. Talk about the story afterwords. Drunk people are great critics.
Justin Grimbol grew up in Sag Harbor, New York. He was raised by Presbyterian ministers. He attended Green Mountain College, and majored in partying.

Lazy Fascist Fall Releases

Lazy Fascist Press has just released three weird, delightful, and challenging books to brighten your November. There’s a postmodern western about a town being ravaged by flying sharks, a love story set in a pillow fort modeled after the human brain, and a boxing novel destined for cult classic status.

MotherfuckingSharksfinalMotherfucking Sharks by Brian Allen Carr

“Motherfucking Sharks reads like it was carved into the floor of a sun-baked desert by an old testament prophet with a thirsty knife.” – BEN LOORY, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

Where I come from, the children sing a song:

Oh the motherfucking sharks
Oh they’re gonna come to town
Oh they’re gonna kill the babies
Oh they’re gonna make you drowned in your blood

Oh the motherfucking sharks
Oh they’re gonna mince the flesh
They’re gonna swim up and surround you
Don’t you know you’ll never pass the test it’s over

Oh the motherfucking sharks
Oh they don’t care about the gods
And they don’t care about the families
And they don’t care about the cries or tears they’re killers.

Motherfucking sharks
Motherfucking sharks
Motherfucking sharks
Motherfucking sharks

Click here to order Motherfucking Sharks.

Basal Ganglia jacketBasal Ganglia by Matthew Revert

“Basal Ganglia casts an unsettling spell, but one that in its aphoristic intensity and lightning-flash insights into human loneliness and connection, achieves a genuine empathic wisdom.” – SERGIO DE LA PAVA, author of A Naked Singularity

“Matthew Revert is one of the visionaries. What else can you say?” – SCOTT MCCLANAHAN, author ofHill William and Crapalachia

As teenagers, two lovers, Rollo and Ingrid, escape the world as it is known to live underground in a sprawling pillow fort that mirrors the structure of the human brain. Construction of the fort takes 25 years and once complete, their life exists to honor the fort in all it requires. Basal Ganglia begins countless years after they have become enslaved to the fort process. Rollo and Ingrid have lost any connection to their pasts and each other. Nothing exists beyond the patterns required by the fort. In an effort to become more than stasis, Ingrid expresses her desire to have a baby. Not wanting to subject another human to their strange world, she decides she will knit the baby using materials Rollo gathers from the fort. The emergence of this baby leads to paranoia between Rollo and Ingrid with both believing the other means the child harm. Within the confines of their cloistered world, the two engage in psychological warfare, desperately searching for a conclusion they don’t understand. As a result, they will find connection with their past, each other and the true nature of their identities.

Click here to order Basal Ganglia.

laughter-of-strangers-3-100dpiThe Laughter of Strangers by Michael J. Seidlinger

“Like a ghost fretting over its lost body (or is it bodies? – in this book whatever you think of as ‘you’ might simply float like a butterfly right into someone else’s body) a boxer attests to his presence, damaged and shimmery though it may be. That this fractured first person narrator feels the need to put the word ‘me’ in quotes speaks volumes. Terrifying volumes. This elastic, hurtling narrative pivots (and pivots again) on a recurring image of almost unimaginable dread – that of being laughed at in your hour of need by an audience of strangers.”
-Grace Krilanovich, author of The Orange Eats Creeps

“Michael J. Seidlinger’s The Laughter of Strangers is vicious and unforgettable. Willem Floures’ search for meaning in a world that keeps knocking him off his feet is as gritty and enthralling as a fight. The Laughter of Strangers destroyed my expectations of what a boxing novel can be. Seidlinger is charting new narrative territory, and we should follow him wherever he goes.”

-Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth 

“The last time I got punched in the face (by someone I wasn’t married to or dating) I was 16 years old. What began as an exchange of witty banter, turned into a pummeling. Never make jokes about a man’s mother enjoying the erotic companionship of goats, or you’ll find out about this world. The Laughter of Strangers is like that beating. I never trust people who use a middle initial, but Michael J Seidlinger is different. If the Laughter of Strangershad a middle initial it would be an F. And that F would stand for ‘Fuck yes.’ I’m on my back. I’m having my behavior corrected. It’s teaching me a lesson. And I can see stars.”

-Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia“Steeped in noir, Michael J Seidlinger’s superb boxing novel delivers 12 rounds of sweet science and shifting identities. Both physical and philosophical, it’ll leave the reader with a complicated bruise – the closer you examine it, the more it resembles your own face.”
-Jeff Jackson, author of Mira Corpora


That’s a name I built from the ground up. I wasn’t the first to systematically climb the ranks, beating the sugar out of everyone I had known to be inferior, leaving only the sour taste of defeat, my claim forever being:

“I am the greatest!”

I can still hear it now. In the silence of this locker room, blood drying on my face, I can still hear those words.

And I was. I was the greatest.














And then a voice says, “‘Sugar’… you are no longer sweet with the science.”

Click here to order The Laughter of Strangers.

Cucumber Punk is out on Kindle!

Bizarro Pulp Press brings you Cucumber Punk, by P. A. Douglas.

Cucumber punkOn the fringe of an acceptable society, Pete’s a cucumber-headed punk whose thoughts of rebellion against the social order frustrate him to no end. Sometimes, there’s a shortage of tomato sauce. But there’s no shortage of fear for the Veg-heads, as they’re hunted down to satisfy the Norms and their consumer culture…

Praise for Cucumber Punk

“Vaguely reminiscent of Jarman’s Jubilee, a surprisingly raw Bizarro fable about exploitation. Wholeheartedly recommended.” – Garrett Cook, author of Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective and Time Pimp

“P. A. Douglas delivers a fast, brutal, and oddly sweet tale of vegetable repression and exploitation. But don’t take my word for it. Pick it up and read it now!” – Erik Williams, author of Bigfoot Crank Stomp

“Beneath the gonzo punk sheen of ‘Cucumber Punk’ lives a scathing social commentary about the myopia of discrimination and the corrosion of social order. P. A. Douglas conveys this heavy message with a sense of pure joy and insanity, ensuring a reading experience that never fails to exhilarate. Try eating a vegetable afterward without feeling even a tiny bit guilty.” – Matthew Revert, author of The Tumors made me Interesting

Coming soon in paperback and audio!

Review: Avoiding Mortimer by J. W. Wargo

By Michael Allen Rose

avoidingmortimerWhen I finished J. W. Wargo’s delightful debut Avoiding Mortimer a few months ago, I avoided writing this review. I could have sat down immediately after finishing it, in one sitting, but I wasn’t sure I’d be impartial, having just traversed Wargo’s world, and maybe I’d be projecting. The next day, I almost wrote it, but then I worried that maybe I wouldn’t be able to find the words, and then I’d get mad at myself, and maybe even become suicidal or something, because I’d feel like a failure as a reviewer. So I decided to continue avoiding the task before me, and yet, Avoiding Mortimer stayed bouncing around in my brain. Relentlessly. I realized: I was doing the same thing Mortimer tried to do. I was avoiding life. So I sat down and let my experience pour out here on the page, and do I feel better? You bet. You will too when you crack the spine and dive into the pages of Avoiding Mortimer.

Poor Mortimer. Growing up in a household where his entire family was terrified of everything (until they decide to go undead to try to avoid death, at least) obviously had quite an impact on him. As an “adult,” he tries his best to avoid everything: doing things, feeling things, talking to people, being outside, living, dying. What’s that? You can’t avoid dying? Mortimer does. Sort of. And this kind of avoidance of everything not only provides wonderful comical and philosophical fodder for Wargo to explore, but also makes for a perfect bizarro premise due to its impossibility. How can one avoid everything when everything is something, even nothing?

I admit, I have a certain fondness for afterlife comedy, especially when its weird. Avoiding Mortimer joins such stories as Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens and Gina Ranalli’s Suicide Girls in the Afterlife on the list of unique and fascinating treatments of what happens to us after we die. Being a bizarro book, of course there are strange flourishes here and there. Supporting characters such as a sentient wig made of dreadlocks and a soul-sucking blob of half-digested ants add to the chaos while giving Mortimer other beings to interact with – despite his avoidance issues. Even God makes an appearance, although he’s certainly not what you might expect. Or maybe he is, if like myself, you’re a fan of existentialist and absurdist lit. The combination of these elements is where Avoiding Mortimer truly thrives. Wargo has a talent for layering strange, wild and funny storytelling over top of a psychologically exploratory and philosophically deep treatise on how he sees the universe. Those readers who follow his blogs and online writing will be familiar with Wargo’s fascination with the id, the ego and the super-ego, all of which are utilized to their utmost both as concepts and as quasi-characters. All of these elements together are entertaining and incredibly explosive. Don’t avoid picking this one up, as its a rare combination of thoughtful and silly that will appeal to any and all fans of weird fiction.

Review: Gutmouth by Gabino Iglesias

By Michael Allen Rose

GUTMOUTHI’m a sucker for dystopian stories, tales of a future where science, love, and humanity have failed us and we have created a horrible, twisted world. In books like Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, civilization has lost its empathy in addition to its capacity for pleasure, outside of government mandated diversions. In the cyberpunk worlds of Dick, advances in technology have turned our cities into crime-ridden, soulless nightmares of hedonistic anarchy. These stories have a common thread in that the societal circumstances are so well drawn and detailed in their implications that they practically become a character in themselves. Gutmouth, the first novel by Gabino Iglesias, sees the author taking the idea of futurism and dystopia to a noir-soaked and terrifying conclusion. In doing so, the book becomes a disturbing window into a sexually twisted, morally corrupt universe with many dark stories to tell.

Iglesias chooses to focus on the story of the titular Gutmouth, a hard-living hunter, tasked with tracking down criminals for MegaCorp, the corporation that rules society from the top down. These mostly aren’t your typical crimes like rape and murder, but instead such infractions as “growing your own food” and “not paying enough tribute to the corporation.” Like the dystopian stories mentioned previously, the world itself becomes a character here, expertly detailed and fully fleshed out and dripping with fluids. The punishments for crimes in Gutmouth go far beyond anything rational. We see men and women stripped of their skin, whipped and beaten, mutilated and sexually destroyed. The twist is, not all of this is punishment. Some people undergo horrific procedures almost exactly like the penal system dishes and actually pay for it at a “Genital Mutilation and Erotic Maiming Center.” See, there’s this drug called Algolagnix, which turns pain into pleasure at the level of the nerves themselves. Add to that the salamander DNA treatment that allows people to grow back limbs, and it’s perfectly normal to have a fetish that involves your genitalia being sawed in half. Remember kids, always go to a professional.

Gutmouth has enough to deal with between his job and trying to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law. He has a toothy, disgusting, British-inflected mouth living in his gut. Things really go off the rails for him when the mouth in his stomach ends up having sex with his girlfriend, a three-breasted hooker with a heart of gold. The classic trope of the girlfriend cheating with the best friends takes a twisted turn when the “friend” is living inside the protagonist’s torso. Can he bring himself happy revenge through murder? And will that help him with his mouth problem? Iglesias deftly weaves these plot points and characters into a sick and funny noir for his readers. It’s evident that Iglesias is a horror aficionado in addition to a new bizarro author, as the language and concepts he utilizes to describe this crazy world of sex and gore is truly stomach churning. I mean that in the best possible way, this one is a must for fans of off-kilter horror, especially if they enjoy sci-fi twists and fetishistic sex craziness.

The book itself, like all new bizarro author series books, is fairly short, but Iglesias uses his space with the efficiency and deft handling of a veteran. The book is a completely mad ride, tells a simple story with great descriptive effects, and overall is the perfect way to spend an evening in the company of some truly disgusting and awesome characters.

Review: Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Adams

By Michael Allen Rose

janitor bookIf I were to ask you what Catholicism, theoretical cosmology and licking asses have in common, there’s a possibility that the jokes would write themselves, and yet many would remain confused, wracking their brains and softly punching their genitals in consternation, trying to find the elusive connective material between the three. When a solution began to present itself, I would introduce mutant bees that sting with the power of a hundred aphrodisiacs, and then, just to put the cherry on top of the metaphorical anus of meaning, and to continue to defy the agile tongue of understanding, I would tell you that you can’t transubstantiate into a living pig without some complications. Then, I would tickle you until you peed your pants. The look on your face at that exact moment would be the same look you would have during your reading of Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams. Like me, you also wouldn’t be able to put the book down until you had completely devoured this smart, hilarious, and completely bizarre story.

Writing with a wit and wisdom that defies the seemingly crass subject matter, Adams brilliantly executes one of the best satirical novellas I’ve seen in a long time. The universe is filled with planets that cater to very specific sexual acts, all run by a bureaucratic Catholic Church from their headquarters on the sun. There are legends of an old era, an existence that wasn’t ruled by the church and not every waking moment was dedicated to sexual fetishism and debauchery (outside of Lent, of course). Nobody knows what happened to make things the way they are, and Adams deftly works this central idea into an epic mystery that underlies the entirety of the book. His prose sings with a combination of perfectly crafted comedy and dire science fiction, with a great witty edge that cuts to the heart of religion, sex, class and any number of other subjects central to the status quo. This is a manuscript that doesn’t mind wondering aloud “Does love exist? What is the nature of existence?” while throwing a poop joke and a load of raunchy sex acts at the reader without batting an eye.

The characters are fun, and easy to identify with, especially the titular hero, Jack. When Jack, the only person on the planet, left to clean up the mess during Lent, finds that he is not alone, things begin to go absolutely insane. Nimue, the unnaturally speedy and strange woman from the water, Jack’s boss Bishop Eichmann, who appears from the ground as a pile of holy debris and Virgil, a dangerous man working for a mysterious behind-the-scenes power structure add so much colorful character to the cast, it’s almost criminal. The shifting alliances and over-the-top comedy of these characters propel the action of this book, and somehow Adams is able to keep everything consistent and driven, despite the madness. There are some obvious parallels here as well between Janitor of Planet Anilingus and other works. Like Dante’s Virgil of the Inferno, Jack’s Virgil leads him through a sort of hell. Toward the end of the book, tropes from the Alien films and other sci-fi classics are turned inside out and exploded. There are plenty of the usual bizarro genre gross-out moments (such as the symptoms from what might or might not be an STD) but they’re written so hilariously that the reader can’t wait to see what’s next, scatologically speaking. I can not say enough about how much fun I had reading this book, and would suggest that anyone who wants to laugh until they poop themselves pick this up post-haste.

Review: Kitten by G. Arthur Brown

By Michael Allen Rose

KITTEN Kitten is a book about a kitten who is not a kitten. It’s also a book about a kitten who is a kitten. Both of those are Willoughby. Well, sort of. There’s also a woman dressed as a kitten, but she’s a whore, so let’s not worry about her right now. The point is, in this story that is not just one story, but a bunch of stories wrapped up in something that looks like one story, Gary Arthur Brown will play with your mind and sensibilities until you lose track of what reality dictates and throw yourself head first into his surreal meta-narrative. Trust me, you will enjoy the ride.

Brown deftly avoids the danger so common in this kind of book: confusion, by allowing the branching story to separate and naturally come back together. The two overarching main components of the story seem far removed, but slowly, inevitably, Brown brings the twisting, turning branches together and wraps everything up nicely in the end, revealing in a sparse few paragraphs how everything unites. Sure, you’ll still be asked to bring your own logic (or refuse it at the door) but the structure is there, and Brown invites readers of the weird to follow the map he’s provided to find it. Readers interested in alternate realities and pan-dimensional weirdness will definitely love it, but even those who aren’t will find the metaphysics understated enough to never bog down the story.

The characters are fun and well rounded, especially considering the short length of the book (as it’s part of the New Bizarro Author Series, there is a general limit on the length of the story). Brown is able to provide quite a variety, from Tamanney the fish-handed quasi-Scottish pirate fellow to the motherly Amaand. Amaand is particularly interesting, for even though we follow the “kitten” and the boy who owns him (Trevor) throughout the book, Amaand is arguably the protagonist. She certainly undergoes changes in her arc, and the action definitely revolves around her decisions. So is she the main character? Or just another mirror in the hall that Brown has created for his readers?

As strange as the book is (a hallmark of Bizarro – readers would expect no less) it follows an internal logic. Things happen for reasons, cause and effect exists, and things never become so off-the-rails that it feels like Brown has lost track of his narrative. This is a solid, fun and strange debut from an exciting young writer that should not be missed, especially by fans of the absurd and surreal.

Review: Her Fingers by Tamara Romero

By Michael Allen Rose

her fingersAccording to ancient Yimlan tradition, you need to say your three names at the beginning of an encounter with someone who has saved, or is going to, save your life. With this simple piece of imagined folklore as its base, Tamara Romero weaves an intricate and fragile tale that mixes witches and technology, druidism and drug addiction, bionics and magic in Her Fingers. The book is peppered throughout with little aphorisms like this, bits and pieces of legend from the world of the story. Romero uses the three-names idea to brilliantly set up some wonderfully revealing twists and strangle beautiful storytelling.

Chapters alternate between two protagonists: Volatile, a mysterious man hiding in an isolated cabin in the woods with his robotic doll Shades, and Misadora, a young witch who finds herself drug-addled, persecuted by the government, and trying to understand the nature of her scared ring and the tree-bound women who call to her in her lucid moments. As the story progresses, identities are fleshed out and surprises abound, both for the individual characters and for their relationships to one another. This is something that Romero does magnificently, writing relationships that feel vibrant and ever-shifting, dreamlike and engaging.

The lovingly crafted relationships are the most engaging thing about Her Fingers. The plot is enjoyable, and follows a well-crafted arc with few diversions from the main storyline, however it is those moments where we see characters interact that truly shine. Without ruining anything, there is a moment toward the end of the book in which we get to see a flashback through the eyes of Misadora where we are witness to the moment she lost a very important ring. We are led along without knowing the origin of this loss for most of the book, and then suddenly everything is revealed. It’s not the reveal of the “how” though, so much as the “whom.” We are shown wanton cruelty, beautiful kindness and everything in between in these simple interactions, and what’s better, this all becomes yet another setup for more puzzled solved only a few pages later. Her Fingers is a very short book, but there is a ton of magic packed between the pages.

Her Fingers was written in Spanish, initially, and translated by the author for its publication in English. Some of the sentences seem to hold odd word choices or construction, possibly due to the translation process. That said, however, the poesy of the language and the specificity with which Romero chose each word rings with a melody that is unlike most other debut books. The concepts are spelled out with carefully chosen language that just sings. Consider the way the prostitution of witches is described, an ugly concept made beautiful by prose: “And many a man would pay extra to lay with a witch, watching her colored hair become wild, since at night a witch has not only a naked body, but a naked condition. In those chambers converged heaven and hell, ecstasy and darkness.” A magical, tragic and personal tale of the strange and wonderful worth picking up for anyone who likes their genre tropes mixed, blended, and served with a side of mist and fog.

Review: House Hunter by S. T. Cartledge

By Michael Allen Rose

househunterImagine a world in which a shadowy agency funded by the government pulls strings behind the scenes to create a state of perpetual war and devastation in the name of progress. No no, wait, I don’t mean OUR world, I mean the fascinating and violent world of S. T. Cartledge’s House Hunter. Okay, well there might be some allegory at work here, it’s true, but at least we don’t have enormous buildings wandering around our skeletal cities pounding the hell out of each other with lightning cannons. We save lightning cannons for conflicts in the middle-east.

House Hunter is set in a society where buildings are semi-sentient and capable of much more than simply providing shelter and places for birds to crash into. Using a cerebrum, which is a sacred object imbued with special properties that allow a user to control the structure, houses can engage in combat, protect their users, and transform into a variety of animals, flying machines, weapons and creatures from our mythic lore. House hunters are those who wrangle the most ornery of houses and train them to be peaceful and helpful, something like wildlife conservationists with an added mixer of daring adventurer and the occasional splash of cock-fighting aficionado.

Cartledge introduces us to Imogen, a house hunter who quickly ends up going from a normal life (as normal as house hunting gets, anyway) to being on the run from a syndicate of influential people interested in consolidating their power using the might of the fabled Jabberhouse. Her only ally, a mysterious figure named Ellis who hides a past that leads to some great twists later in the book. From there, Cartledge spins a tale of adventure that takes the characters through ancient jungles, dark labyrinths and mysterious monasteries to try and stop the Association. This is a fun book, the story riddled with battles between bizarre monsters and exciting transfigurations. It’s obvious Cartledge is a fan of cartoon violence and giant monster flicks, as the series of battles in House Hunter hearkens back to battle scenes from the classic Godzilla films, with the addition of smaller figures (such as his human characters) swinging around and shooting lightning cannons, setting traps, and generally adding to the chaos.

The plot is lightning fast and lots of fun. Cartledge wisely sticks mostly to one through-line and though he occasionally riffs on things with slight detours, every chapter serves the central arc and drives toward the conclusion. It’s difficult to diverge from the main story in a book this short and keep things moving in the right direction, so we’re treated to a very tight and direct plot, which works well. The prose itself belies the author’s youth, and reads far better than a typical first novel. It’s obvious Cartledge has a love of language and storytelling, and that voice comes through in House Hunter. There is also a distinctive noir feel to the style of the book, with the gritty feel of urban environments utilized as characterization instead of setting, which is interesting.

I wish that there had been more room for House Hunter to really explore the world that we get glimpses of in the book. There are all sorts of amazing creatures and concepts on the periphery as we read through the book, everything from minotaurs and sprites to the weird insectile facial features and mutations of the citizenry. In that vein, House Hunter walks a line between the world of the familiar in a sort of magical-realism way and all out full-on bizarro. Because of the book being novella length, it always feels like there’s more just outside the reader’s line of sight. Perhaps we’ll see more of this world in future books, as there seems to be a great deal more to see. Intriguing, fascinating and strange, House Hunter is definitely worth picking up, especially for adventure fans and people who want the grime of noir jammed into their weird action stories. I’m also a huge fan of epilogues that cast the story they follow in a new light, or recontextualize pieces and parts of the narrative – something the author uses here to great effect. A great debut from Cartledge, who is sure to rise in the bizarro scene like a flaming house about to cold-cock a skyscraper.

Interview with Tamara Romero

By Spike Marlowe

Holy shit. Is it October already? This means November is just around the corner. This also means Eraserhead Press is about to decide which of this year’s New Bizarro Authors are going to have the opportunity to work with them again in the future.

I thought it would be fun and informative to interview this years’ authors, both so I could better get to know them, and so you could get to know them, too.

If you like what you read here, I highly encourage you to check out the authors’ books NOW. This is the last month that the New Bizarro Authors’ sales are counted as part of their sales quota in order to become full on bizarro authors.

her fingers1. What was the first fiction you read that you consider bizarro?

I’ve only known bizarro for a couple of years now and the very first text I read was Cannibals of Candyland. After that I realized that I had written a bizarro book myself (Her Fingers). Also, one of my all time favorite weird reads is Jeff Noon’s Vurt. It was the first novel that in my sweet teenage years got me thinking WHAT.IS.THIS.

2. Do you have any phobias?

Yes. I’m afraid of saints, nuns, bugs and doing the dishes. It has been claimed that I have social phobias but that’s wrong, I just don’t like talking to Germans. I’m also very afraid of arriving late to the airport. On 9/11 I would’ve been toast for sure.

3. What’s the strangest real life bizarro experience you’ve had?

Back when we all had cd players I once listened to Nirvana’s In Utero in shuffle mode but it played all the songs in sequence anyway. I figure that’s the only time that has ever happened in the history of the World.

4. Kafka or lemon crepes?

 I don’t buy the premise. I eat both.

5. Your NBAS book Her Fingers is very reminiscent of the best fairy tales. What were your favorite fairy tales growing up? Any current favorites?

There’s a funny Scandinavian one where this kid gets kidnapped by a troll who wants to eat him. The kid says, “Let’s have a porridge eating competition! If I win, you let me go.” The troll thinks, “This kid is tiny. Of course I can eat more porridge than him.” So he says,”Yes. But the kid only eats a little, most of it he sneaks into his knapsack which he has hidden under his shirt or something.” After a while the troll is stuffed. “Man … I can’t eat anymore.” And the kid goes, “Aw come on. What I do in these situations is cut a hole in my stomach. Then I keep on eating.” He illustrates by slicing his knapsack open with a knife. The troll says “Great idea!” and disembowels himself. Then the kid takes the cigar out of his mouth, looks into the camera and says, “All in a day’s work.”

6. If you could have an evening with one bizarro author, who would it be and what would you do?

When I was at BizarroCon last year I was hypnotized by The Slow Poisoner, so I’d choose Andrew Goldfarb. I’d like to attend another of his shows and I’d like to help paint one of his stage props.

Bizarro Audiobooks!

Cannibal Fat Camp by David C. Hayes and Mark C. Scioneaux has been announced as the first release of Bizarrocast’s line of audio books. Available for download now, this is the first in a line of audio books focusing on the Bizarro genre.

Already out in print and digital format, Cannibal Fat Camp tells the story of Miles Landish, a teenager whose eating problems quickly land him in more trouble than he can handle when he is shipped off to the fat camp from hell. After devouring the lunches of half of his classmates, Miles finds himself at Camp Tum Tum, a fat camp for the children of the elite and ultra-wealthy, located on an isolated tropical island. But sanity is lost faster than weight at Camp Tum Tum, and soon human flesh finds its way to the menu. Written by David C. Hayes, co-author of the comic book series Scorn, and Mark Scioneaux, author of Family Dinner, their book Cannibal Fat Camp has been described as a Bizarro take on “Lord of the Flies.”

This is only the first in a line of audio book releases set by Bizarrocast, with the goal of taking books of Bizarro and niche horror that have seen success in print and converting them to audio. In operation for over a year, and nominated for a Parsec Award, Bizarrocast is known for being the first Bizarro fiction audio magazine, and has published over thirty stories from authors well-known in their fields, like Jeff Burk, Garrett Cook, and Cat Rambo. It has also been host to stories by rising stars like Chris Kelso and Bear Weiter. It is the hopes of everyone on the Bizarrocast team that the line audio books will help to spread this burgeoning genre.

Cannibal Fat Camp is available for download here.

The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade: A Book Review

By Pat Douglas

I just finished reading The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade, edited by Cameron Pierce. It took me a little while to get through this book because I was reading other books at the same time. Here is the thing… it is kind of hard to write a review on an anthology, because it showcases more than one author. More than one writing style. More than one good story. And more than one not so good story. All anthologies are like this. I have read several anthologies in my time and have yet to find one that didn’t have at least one story in it that was bad. Not every story in an anthology is going to be the life changing story you were meant to read. Although this is true for this anthology, I enjoyed this one the most.

The one thing that I noticed different about this anthology from all the others is the story lengths. Most anthologies have word count guidelines with their submissions. As a result all of the stories are about the same length. With this one you had some full novella length stories and some that were so short they only covered half the page. I enjoyed this. In fact some of my favorite stories were the short ones.

Anthologies are a lot of work when it comes to editing, and I just wanted to also note that Cameron did a really awesome job editing it. Throughout the entire book I think I only noticed one ‘oops’. And even then it was not a big one. A round of applause to Cameron. His hard work shows in this collection.

In this book there is something for everyone!

With that, I loved the artwork and studied the art for a while… wondering if any of the stories in the book were somehow tied into the cover art. Who cares! That cover art was freaking awesome.

So, to sum up my thoughts on this anthology: Loved the diversity in story lengths. Cover art is great. Edits are very clean. Although a few of the stories weren’t to my liking, this collection kept my interest more so than any other anthology I have read. There is something for everyone is this book, fan of bizarro or not!

Note: Why did I post these two strange photos with the cover art? Because there were stories in there that made feel both of those emotions. If you have ever felt like that, chances are it was while reading Bizarro of the Decade!

Have a book you want reviewed?
My name is Pat and I frequently stop in with bizarro book reviews. The types of reviews I do are simple, short, and to the point. If you want me to review your book just shoot me a message. My goal is to do at least one Bizarro Central Review a month. If I can get around to more than that, awesome. But no promises. You can check me out at

Vampire Guts in Nuke Town: A Book Review

By Pat Douglas

Guts is a bad motherfucker in a bad, bad world. The government nuked the sky ten years ago to combat a super fast spreading virus that turns humans into blood thirsty, ravenous killing machines that look more like giant, mutated bats than people. The new sky kills these “vampires” instantly, but at a cost. The entire planet is slammed with mega-high doses of radiation every time the sun comes up, completely changing life on earth as we know it, and completely decimating what little civilization there is left. In Nuke Town, Guts wakes up in a strange motel with no memory of how he got there. A brother and sister duo are the only two humans in sight, but are they friend or foe? As the paranoia sets in, and Guts begins to understand the true implications of a nest of sophisticated, mutated vampires, he must use all the cunning and skills that his years in the wasteland have taught him if he hopes to survive the horror that awaits him in …VAMPIRE GUTS IN NUKETOWN!

Vampire Guts in Nuke Town, by Kevin Strange.
This book is splatter-thrash-gore fest-frenzy-smash! If that were a genre, I guess. Ha, anyway… this was my first time picking up a book by author, Kevin Strange. So I didn’t really know what to expect. The cover it strange. The publisher is strange. The author is even strange. Well that’s just a lot of strange! And it fits: This book is strange. And the truth is, that is the best way to describe it. The opening chapter lays the work for the world you will be entering. From there we meet the main character and move forward into a weird tale. If you can get past that first little loll in the book then you will be glad you did. The farther in you get the grosser it gets. Kevin has a knack for the descriptive. When the guts and goo are splattering across the page you can smell it. You taste it. It’s nasty. And when you think it couldn’t get any deeper, the gritty grime keeps on coming. This is what I liked and hated about the book. I enjoy a book that can make my stomach turn, but at the same time I felt like it was a little over done at times. Gore just for the sake of gore rather than letting the story flow. Although there were some up and downs with pace, over all, I was happy with the story. I loved the characters and all their quirky little defects. The pace was strong and engaging.

If you’re looking for a new twist on vampires… a bizarro twist that laughs mockingly at Twilight, then look no further. This book will make you throw up while laughing.

Have a book you want reviewed?
My name is Pat and I frequently stop in with bizarro book reviews. The types of reviews I do are simple, short, and to the point. If you want me to review your book just shoot me a message. My goal is to do at least one Bizarro Central Review a month. If I can get around to more than that, awesome. But no promises. You can check me out at


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