The 7 Types of Bizarro Fiction Haters
by Carlton Mellick III
While bizarro fiction just isn’t some readers’ cup of tea, there are other people out there who just absolutely loathe the stuff. Just the fact that bizarro exists makes these people rage. Whether they’ve read any of it or not, the idea of bizarro gets under their skin. They often go out of their way to express their hate for the genre. They’ll even buy bizarro books just to prove to themselves how terrible they think the genre is. Wherever people are openly cheering for the genre, these guys always have to come along just to stomp out everyone’s positive opinions.
They are the bizarro fiction haters. And they are extreme douchebags.
If you’re a bizarro fiction writer, I’m sure you’ve encountered these haters before. Maybe they’ve even made you feel bad about writing the kind of books you love to write. But don’t let them discourage you. I’m here to tell you that these people really don’t matter. They are pathetic misinformed bitter human beings who, when you think about it, are actually pretty hilarious.
Let me introduce you to the seven types of bizarro fiction haters I have seen over the years:
BIZARRO HATER #1
The “2 Literary 4 U” Hater
Excuse me, but I only read “literary” fiction. You know, the kinds of books that are of a “finer quality” than your average low-brow drivel. I refuse to believe that just “any” type of fiction can have artistic merit, especially not the crap that you immature “bizarro” writers produce. If you dare mention that movies, comic books, or genre fiction can have any artistic value comparable to that of my beloved “literature” I will rage all over your ass.
For a work to be considered “quality” it must fit the Academia-approved definition of “fine literature.” And I can tell you bizarro fiction doesn’t come close. It’s just not “serious” enough, not “deep” enough, not “up its own ass” enough, and it appeals to more than just three MFA students. So it’s quite obvious you guys aren’t the Shakespeares of our time. You’re just a new breed of trashy pulp writers. And don’t you dare mention that Shakespeare was considered the equivalent of a trashy pulp writer in his day. In all honesty, the existence of bizarro fiction just offends the hell out of me. Not because the content is offensive, but because it cheapens my definition of “literature.” And I hold “literature” sacred above all things. Do not make light of it or I will destroy you.
BIZARRO HATER #2
The “2 Subtle 4 U” Hater
Bizarro fiction writers suck because they “try too hard.” Those titles, those covers, those wacky author photos… obviously they are overcompensating for a lack of talent. You know what’s a good title? The Wind. You know what’s a good cover? A gray mist with the silhouette of a dead tree in the distance. You know what’s a good plot? A sad housewife cleaning her basement with a buttload of subtext behind every sentence. Now that’s what I call true art.
I’m going to criticize pretty much anyone who tries to stand out or do anything different. Very little ever impresses me, so don’t even try. I swear that I like weird fiction, as long as the weird elements are so subtly handled that they’re practically nonexistent. I’m kind of like the straight-laced guy at punk rock shows who says he likes punk but all he does is stand in the back of the club bitching about how much he hates tattoos, moshing, and mohawks. I have absolutely no sense of humor and the idea of standing out in a crowd scares the hell out of me to no end. I am also the most boring human being alive.
BIZARRO HATER #3
The “Something-for-the-Sake-of-Something” Hater
Bizarro is just weird for the sake of weird. It just tries to shock for the sake of being shocking. It’s just absurd for the sake of being absurd. It has sausages for the sake of having sausages. It’s written in English for the sake of being written in English. It’s got tiny dancing toasters with boners on every page for the sake of having tiny dancing toasters with boners on every page.
Did I mention that bizarro is weird for the sake of weird? I don’t really know exactly what that means but that’s how I like to dismiss everything that’s too weird for me. Really, I just don’t like weird. If I don’t get it then it’s obviously stupid. If I actually read bizarro I might realize that the weird elements are there to create conflict and build character, therefore serving a purpose. Or maybe sometimes the weird elements are there for the sake of humor or for the sake of evoking emotion or for the sake of making the plot more interesting and entertaining. But I don’t care. I’d much rather just dismiss all bizarro offhand. Basically, I’m just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.
BIZARRO HATER #4
The “Arrogant Young Writer” Hater
I just graduated from college, so obviously I know everything there is to know about writing. And based on the four paragraphs I’ve read from a single bizarro book, I can assure you that all bizarro fiction is utter garbage. What a bunch of talentless hacks. They don’t even try to imitate Raymond Carver! Where’s the blatantly obvious pseudo-intellectual themes? Where’s the desperate attempts at sophisticated narratives? What are these things called plots and characters that nobody ever actually taught me about in college? I wrote better fiction than these guys when I was three years old!
Until I am recognized as the artistic genius that I know I am, I plan to attack pretty much every writer who has shown any sign of success. Because I deserve their success way more than they do. Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Cormac McCarthy — they’re all a bunch of hacks, too. If only I could get a single story published anywhere at all I would prove to the world how brilliant I am. Unfortunately, all editors are idiots and continue to reject me.
BIZARRO HATER #5
The “Bitter Failed Writer” Hater
I used to be the “Arrogant Young Writer” but now I’m older. You’d think I would have grown out of my pissy attitude over the years, but because I’ve seen little to no success I’ve become the most bitter son of a bitch on the planet. I could have been doing everything it takes to succeed as a writer no matter how much hard work I had to put in, but I’ve been so busy arguing on writer message boards and posting scathing book reviews on goodreads that I haven’t had the time.
I trash pretty much everything that I read because it makes me feel better about myself. But I particularly enjoy trashing bizarro fiction, because it’s an easy target. Maybe I’m not quite the brilliant genius I thought I was when I was Arrogant Young Writer, but I KNOW I’m at least more talented than these bizarro jerkoffs. I mean, they can’t possibly have more talent than I, can they? Many of them write for a living and have fan followings, but their books are about ass goblins and monster cocks. How the hell can that be considered good writing? Even though I can’t sell a story to save my life, I have to be better than these guys, right? Right? Can somebody please just tell me they love me before I put a shotgun in my mouth?
BIZARRO HATER #6
The “Rejected Bizarro” Hater
Hey, I just heard about bizarro this second and think my own work is surely the best bizarro ever written. So can you list me as a top bizarro fiction writer on your website and promote my books for me? I have these amazing books out that I published myself! One is about demons on acid tripping out in a mental institution and the other is about a ghost at a rave on acid and tripping out. So basically it’s the weirdest most original shit you’ve ever heard of.
What? I need to actually go through a submissions process first? I need to actually have a readership and a smidgen of talent? I don’t have the patience for any of that! Fuck you! You’re all a bunch of elitist assholes! I don’t want to be bizarro anymore! Bizarro fiction sucks anyway! Now I’m going to trash bizarro writers up and down all over facebook and 4chan!
BIZARRO HATER #7
The “Ex-Bizarro” Hater
I used to be involved in the bizarro fiction scene and loved the genre to no end. But then my books didn’t sell or weren’t published fast enough and I kept getting into flame wars with other bizarro authors over absolutely nothing. So in order to protect my ego I left the scene in a dramatic exit and now I think bizarro fiction is the stupidest kind of fiction in the world.
These days, I like to go on facebook or random message boards explaining just how lame I think bizarro fiction is. Any time I come across bizarro haters I am quick to agree with them. But then I point out that the bizarro books I wrote are “exceptions” and are actually really good despite being bizarro. However, if I ever come across fans of bizarro I am quick to re-label myself a bizarro fiction writer in order to get them to buy my books. This way I can reap all the benefits of being a bizarro without having to be confined by a label. I wonder if this approach will help me sell more books in the future. I wonder if anyone gives a crap about me one way or the other. I wonder if I would have actually gone far in the bizarro scene if it weren’t for my massive ego and easily discouraged nature…
Pictured above: Mikey P, the original Ex-Bizarro Hater.