by Lee Widener
Madeleine Swann entered the Bizarro realm with her debut novella “Rainbows Suck,” released through Eraserhead Press’ New Bizarro Author Series in 2015. Now her second novella “4 Rooms in a Semi-Detached House” is available from Strangehouse Books. I asked Maddy some questions and she answered them!
LEE: Tell us about your new book.
MADELEINE: My new novella is about a girl, Aisha, who lives on a street where each room of each house leads to landscapes in an alternate dimension/the past/whichever you prefer. The front rooms lead to a cinema during the Depression, the bedrooms to a Parisian Salon, kitchens to a Georgian banquet hall in space and studies to a psychedelic book shop. Disturbing things take over the rooms and Aisha thinks a secret of hers might be the cause.
LEE: I know you have a particular interest in avant-garde cinema and also the psychedelic experience. From the trailer for this book it seems these interests play a large part in the story. Is this true, and if so, what other interests of yours show up in this book?
MADELEINE: Avant-garde films and books are a huge inspiration to me. Also I love Pre-Code films, vintage cinemas and vaudeville so I set an area in the early thirties. I also enjoy writers and artists of the twenties, in New York and the expats in Paris mainly, so they’re in the bedroom. The Georgian period is an era I find fascinating, partly because of the lawlessness but also because they were getting to grips with science and life post-religion (mostly). Plus I love all the frills, they were so flouncy. Finally there’s a psychedelic book shop because I felt like I joined the hippie movement in spirit from the age of about 16. Not so much now but I was really into it.
LEE: Can you tell us something about how this book came to be? What was the spark that got you thinking about what came to be this book?
MADELEINE: I genuinely think it just came to me while I was watching Regular Show. It’s taken a lot of work from three editors to get it to a place where I’m really happy with it, but the idea itself just sort of popped in my head. I wanted to write a story involving different periods of history and something involving a street, and there it was!
LEE: I find your talk about using three editors fascinating. I have a piece I’m working on that I’ve sent to two editors and I still don’t know what to do with it. What was it like working with multiple editors? Did you pick and chose which feedback seemed more apt, or did you do a rewrite, felt like it still wasn’t right, so you sent it to another, or what?
MADELEINE: Well, it’s a bit complicated. First off I sent it as a novelette to an anthology but nothing came of that. Then I asked Garrett (Cook) if he’d edit it, I got his notes back and worked on them. Then I asked the publisher if he’d consider releasing it as a novella, he said yes and ended up giving me notes too. I worked on those and then was told Rooster Republic didn’t have room that year but StrangeHouse did, and then they edited it too. I didn’t use every single note but I did most of them.
LEE: Let’s talk about Bizarro Fiction. Do you consider yourself primarily a Bizarro writer, or do you work in other genres as well?
MADELEINE: I think of myself more as a weird writer, but I suppose that fits under the blanket of bizarro. I just like exploring weird, dark things and wherever that takes me is fine.
LEE: What would make a good soundtrack while reading this book?
MADELEINE: Well, if I told you that Miley Cyrus’ Dead Petz was the actual soundtrack to my writing, it would probably put you off. I think anything jaunty and odd, like Mike and Rich or Tobacco.
LEE: You do a lot of outreach to your readers: blog posts, Twitter, youtube videos, personal appearances at festivals and such. What works best for you, and which do you most enjoy?
MADELEINE: I genuinely enjoy all of it. Probably Twitter and blogging the most because I blog about things I enjoy more than myself, and I like sharing the weird arty things I find. I’m very nervous about meeting and talking to people but I’ll certainly be working on that this year! I’m trying to get more used to it by reading my favourite stories to camera and talking on YouTube and it’s getting easier.
LEE: What’s up next for the Evil Pixie?
MADELEINE: Well, I’ve got a few short stories coming out at some point this year, and I’ve just finished a new novella/connected short story thing which is inspired by a section of The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti, though it’s very different in tone. Also I’m reading from 4 Rooms at the Brighton Fringe Festival, The Big Green Book Shop with Laura Lee Bahr and others and I’ll be at Bizarrocon. See you there!
Trailer for 4 Rooms in a Semi-Detached House:
You can find out more about Maddy and her work, complete with links to buy her books at her website:
Read her weekly column at CLASH Media:
Read her blog here:
Follow her on Twitter: @MadeleineSwann
Subscribe to her Youtube channel:
Lee Widener is the author of “David Bowie is Trying to Kill Me!” and “Rock N Roll Head Case” published in October 2015 by Eraserhead Press. His collection “Under the Shanghai Tunnel & Other Weird Tales” will be published in 2017.
When people say “my favorite time of the year,” I always think about BizarroCon. When it comes to fun, inspiration, friendship, learning, performances, booze, and love, nothing compares to that second week in November where weirdos from all over the world get together in Portland to ensure that bizarro literature and art keep taking over the world. In any case, now that November is almost here (and yes, I’m counting down the days to BizarroCon), I thought it’d be cool to revisit my favorite images from the past four years and share them with you. I’m a photographer, so I usually come home with about 500 pics from the con. These are not the best shots, just the ones that, for some reason, are closer to my heart or remind of some of the best moments from that year.
This was the year of flying noodles and meeting Gutmouth for the first time. Also, with Shane McKenzie, Robert Devereaux, Carlton Mellick III, and Brian Keene around, to name a few, it was the year many folks realized that bizarro and horror walked hand in hand and, when together, couldn’t be beat.
This was the year that I kissed Steve Lowe, hung out with Rios de la Luz and J David Osborne, got some advice from Stephen Graham Jones, and watched Karl Fisher, Jeremy Robert Johnson, and Bix Skahill make out. I also realized that bizarros are some of the prettiest people in the world.
This was the year Brian Allen Carr did a reading that changed the way I read in public forever. Also, Violeet LeVoit celebrating was awesome, and so jamming with Andrew Goldfarb, Michael Allen Rose, and John Skipp while Sauda Namir danced
This was the year the Bizarro Showdown broke down any remaining barriers of creativity, craziness, hilarity, and good taste. It was also another great year for Malort. I finally got to hang out with CV Hunt and Andersen Prunty, look up Christoph Paul’s skirt, and watched meu irmao Pedrinho Proenca work his weird magic on a crowd. Oh, and we all learned that electric shocks don’t affect Kevin Donihe.
This is the year…that’s coming up. I’m fucking excited. See you there, sweet things!
Sometimes you do an interview and then life happens and the interview never sees the light of day. That happened to me with this interview you’re reading right now. Luckily, it’s never too late to take a look at the shelves of the queen of bizarro erotica, the great Mandy De Sandra.
GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
MDS: In my mind I am still working for the Dept of Labor and in an open relationship with my boyfriend Trevor. He is very into cuckolding and watches me have sex with alpha studs while we party on his yacht.
Books are everything to me. At my Department of Labor job we don’t do much actual work so I read to pass the time. I read so I can write. I love Bizarro Fiction, horror, and literary novels. People are surprised to learn I only read one erotica author, Tiffany Reisz. I love her writing and The Siren series.
GI: As an erotica writer, how do you deal with every guy out there thinking you’re just begging for dick pics?
I actually welcome dick pics. I got the idea from the terrific show You’re The Worst. Basically, I save all my dick picks and sell them to SmallPenisHumilation.net. Small penis humiliation fetish is on the rise and most of these guys aren’t packing. The site pays 5 dollars for under 5 inches and $7.99 if it is really thin, too!
GI: There seems to be an emerging genre that blends satire, politics, and sex. As a pioneer in this area, why do you think we crave this type of literature? How and why does bizarro come into the equation? How hard is it to stay on top of current events? How does our short memory for news affect your writing?
MDS: Someone said I am South Park of erotica. I like that and love Matt & Trey so much, even though they are not hot but I’d let them DVDA with Trevor and Henry Price.
I love Bizarro Fiction. To paraphrase that sexy fucker Brian Keene, Bizarro Fiction is all about being genre fuckers. Why not give weird erotica a good genre fucking?
I want to do stuff besides the news tho. I want to write more about publishing. I am working on something now titled “I Was Published in An Anthology for Exposure, But All I Got Was Fucked in the Ass & A PDF.” Also academia, as I get very excited about the idea “My MFA Teacher Made Me Gay.”
I get requests now to write about people in the news. That is why I did the one about British Prime Minister getting head from a pig.
GI: If you could have one of your books turned into a movie, which one would it be and how would you cast it?
MDS: My favorite book of mine is Ravished by Reagansaurus. I must admit that I see this book as more Bizarro than erotica even though there is a lot of dinosaur bukkake. It is also my only novella. I would love to see the cast behind Wet Hot American Summer play all the roles.
GI: What’s your latest sexy tale about and why should folks go dip their eyeballs in it right now?
My latest sexy tale is Fox News Fuckest published by New Kink Books. I am a big fan of comic books, I have Trevor collect and then masturbate to the pictures. My favorite is The Age of Apocalypse and this book is part of series I am calling The Age of Trumpocalypse. The second book will be Donald Trump & The Alpha Billionaire Buttrons.
Thanks for having me, you sexy stud.
Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Zero Saints (Broken River Books), Gutmouth (Eraserhead Press), Hungry Darkness (Severed Press), and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias
March 2, 2016 | Categories: Authors, Bizarro Fiction, BizarroAuthor, Interviews | Tags: bizarro, Books, christoph paul, erotica, Gabino Iglesias, Mandy De Sandra, Show Me Your Shelves | Leave a comment
I met Scott Cole online a few years ago and then had a chance to hang out with him at BizarroCon. He likes talking books and movies, so we got along splendidly. He’s an easy guy to get along with and one someone whose passion for weird films, horror, comics, and bizarro are hard to ignore. Needless to say, I was stoked when he become a fellow NBASer. Now, besides his bizarro chops, we get to check out the stuff he’s filled his shelves with. Dig it.
GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
SC: I am Scott Cole – master illusionist, renowned chef, military strategist, humble philanthropist, and author of SuperGhost.
Books are big for me. I’m always reading something. They’re one of the few things I spend money on, beyond food-and-shelter-type necessities. I worked in an indie bookstore once upon a time, and was able to buy books at the store’s cost. That was a hungry year.
I’ve probably got enough books in my house to use as bricks to build another house. Maybe I’ll do that someday, just so I have somewhere nice and quiet to sit and read the ones I haven’t gotten to yet.
GI: You read horror, bizarro, and other genres. Give us your top ten for the last two years. Then, tell us about a book you loved that no one would’ve guessed you dug.
SC: I’m constantly behind when it comes to new stuff, and I’m always going back to read things I missed, or just recently discovered (for example, I’ve been reading a lot of 1930s “Weird Menace” stories the last several years). There’s just so much out there, and so many new books coming out all the time, it’s impossible to keep up. But I’m trying. So let’s say Top Ten Things I’ve Read in the Last Two Years (Or So), Which May Have Been Released in the Last Five or Six, Although I’ll Try to Keep it as Current as Possible. In no particular order:
I Am The New God by Nicole Cushing
The Atrocity Vendor by Nick Cato
Never Bet the Devil by Orrin Grey
Light Boxes by Shane Jones
Misery and Death and Everything Depressing by C.V. Hunt
Fantastic Orgy by Carlton Mellick III
We Live Inside You by Jeremy Robert Johnson
King of the Perverts by Steve Lowe
Clown Tear Junkies by Douglas Hackle
In the Fishbowl, We Bleed by Jeremy C. Shipp
People will look at this list and say “But what about _______?” And I’ll just have to say “It’s in my TBR pile. I’m getting to it. I swear.”
As for a book I loved that no one would guess? Hmmm. Would people be surprised to know I enjoy the hell out of some Dashiell Hammett? Or that I have a big collection of reference books on graphic design? Or that I generally don’t like superhero comics, but do have a couple dozen Batman collections? I have no idea.
How ’bout I change this question around too, and instead give you a movie that no one can seem to believe I hated. Easy. Cabin in the Woods. I saw a preview screening before the hype started, and I…disliked it. Actually, I could rant against it for hours, but maybe I’ll save that for an essay.
GI: Finish these sentences:
SC: Adam Cesare is: actually just a family of turtles living inside a canvas bag stitched to look like a human.
Philadelphia is: probably nicer than it gets credit for, and definitely far, far weirder than it’s known for.
Writing bizarro is: about the most fun one can have telling lies without getting into (too much) trouble.
My favorite sandwich is: the vegan cheesesteak at Blackbird in Philly. Seriously amazing, whether you eat meat or not.
You have to read Junji Ito because: he’s one of the most important voices in modern horror.
Your momma is so fat: making fun of her is only making things worse.
GI: Got any ghost stories from real life? What/who/where would you haunt if you were a ghost and why?
SC: When I was a kid, we would visit my grandparents’ house on Cape Cod a couple times a year. The stairs going up to the second floor were hidden behind a door in the living room. One day, while my parents and grandparents were outside, I was inside watching a Creature Double Feature, and that door suddenly popped open. I jumped up, ran to it, and saw some sort of dark shape at the top of the stairs. I closed that door real fast.
Now, the door opening could’ve had something to do with the house settling, and the shape I saw may have been conjured up by my monster-movie-obsessed mind, but I’m not going to say that’s what it was for sure. Who knows.
If I was a ghost, I’d probably just hang out in graveyards and spooky old houses and pretend I was “living” in an old movie.
5. What’s your NBAS book about and why should we all run and buy it?
SuperGhost is the story of a mad scientist who steals phantom limbs from amputees, and uses them to build a giant ghost-monster. The amputees, of course, then have to band together to defeat the SuperGhost, save the city, and take back what’s rightfully theirs. Oh, and there’s ice cream!
I sometimes describe it as being like Frankenstein meets Ghostbusters meets Godzilla. It’s probably the weirdest kaiju story around, at least for the next day or two.
Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth (Eraserhead Press), Hungry Darkness (Severed Press), and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias
October 13, 2015 | Categories: Authors, Bizarro Fiction, BizarroAuthor, Eraserhead Press | Tags: bizarro, bizarrocon, comics, Gabino Iglesias, movies, New Bizarro Author Series, Scott Cole, Show Me Your Shelves, SuperGhost, Writing | 1 Comment
Jeff Burk was one of the first people I met outside of Facebook that quickly joined my “if you don’t like this person, you’re an asshole” list. I’ve talked books, beer, and horror with Jeff and it’s always been great. I’ve also talked about piracy, politics, the ins and outs of publishing, and even black pus and being tortured by bed bugs, and Jeff has always been cool, honest, and charismatic. Oh, and then there’s the fact that he’s one of the first bizarro authors I read and a man whose work I still dig immensely. So yeah, if you dislike Jeff, there’s something wrong with you. Here’s what he had to say about books, his shelves, his mast…er, his cat, and some upcoming books(!).
GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
JB: I am Jeff Burk. I am the author of SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST. I’ve also done a shit tone of short stories, interviews and essays. In addition, I am the head editor of Deadite Press and I do editorial work for Eraserhead Press.
I am a full-time writer and editor – so it is no exaggeration to say that books are my entire life and my life depends on them. Not only are they a personal passion, they are how I pay all my bills and feed my cat.
GI: You know a lot of authors, so picking favorites will be hard, but I’m gonna ask you anyway: apocalypse is here and you can only take Squishy and five books. Which five make the cut?
This is super hard but I think I can do it.
1: THE INVISIBLES OMMIBUS by Grant Morrison and various artists – My favorite long-form comic book. It’s a super-psychedelic, anarchist adventure comic and I have a super nice hard-cover edition that contains every issue ever published. It’s basically the comic book world’s version of Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN.
2: ZOMBIES: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE HUNGRY DEAD edited by John Skipp – my all-time favorite horror anthology. It used to be, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (also edited by John Skipp), but his more recent zombie collection blew the original away (in my opinion). From classic atmospheric tales to hardcore horror, this has it all, plus shit tons of zombies.
3: THE WAY OF THE TAROT by Alejandro Jodorowsky – I find Tarot cards fascinating and my favorite book on the subject was written by the brilliant Alejandro Jodorowsky (of EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN). Not only is it the best, most insightful, work ever done on the cards, it’s also a wonderful spiritual guide to life.
4: ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER by Lloyd Kaufman and James Gunn – Part history of Troma Studios (the oldest independent film studio in the world), part how-to-guide for DIY filmmaking, and part feel good guide to living an artistic life. I love this book. Nothing else gets me hyped up to go out and make art of my own. Plus, my copy is signed to me from Kaufman himself.
5: HOWARD THE DUCK OMMIBUS by Steve Gerber and various artists – there’s no harder book to recommend to people than the original comic of Howard the Duck. Sadly, George Lucas’ film has completely destroyed the reputation of one of the most brilliant, funny, and insightful comics ever written. This features the most brutally honest depiction of depression that I’ve ever come across (seriously) and is my go to read for when I feel down and just need the idea that someone else understands.
GI: Where can I get some decent tacos in Portland? How does it feel to be a human paintbrush?
JB: For good tacos, just hit up any taco cart – of which there are dozens of them spread out all over the city. They are cheap and delicious. Or you could just come over to my house while Garrett Cook and I are having a cook out – we make some pretty kick-ass food and tacos are easy for the menu.
Being a human paintbrush is pretty awesome. You can make great artwork without having to do any work. (In case you are not aware, the brilliant Alan M. Clark, who has done covers for Eraserhead and Deadite Press, has done painting demonstrations using my dreadlocks as the brushes. He’s even painted a portrait of me using only the hair attached to my head).
GI: You obviously love horror, but your own work is more bizarro/fun/weird/funny than blood/black pus/tentacles. Why is that?
JB: While horror is my true love and I can never get enough sadistic violence and gore – my natural writing inclinations do not go that way. What comes easiest to me (and what readers seems to like) is silly sci-fi stories with lots of action.
However, I have finally started work on my first straight-forward horror novel. And it will be fucking nasty (in all the best ways).
GI: What’s your latest book about and why should we run and get it?
My latest book came out over a year ago – SHATNERQUEST. Rather than pimp that, I rather talk about the three books I have in the works. Who knows, you might be seeing them soon.
HOMOBOMB – a tragic love story about a bomb that is attracted to other bombs when it is supposed to be attracted to people and buildings.
LORD OF THE LARPERS – a rewrite of LORD OF THE FLIES but with live-action role-players in the roles of the characters. The villains will be Civil War re-enactors led by “Robert E. Lee.”
A SNUFF FILM IN A HAUNTED HOUSE – my first straight-up horror novel. It’s about…well, the title kinda tells you.
Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth, Hungry Darkness, and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias
August 5, 2015 | Categories: Authors, Bizarro Fiction, BizarroAuthor, Eraserhead Press, Uncategorized | Tags: bizarro, Books, Deadite Press, Gabino Iglesias, Jeff Burk, Show Me Your Shelves | Leave a comment
I can’t remember when I “met” Jessica McHugh online, but her good attitude, constant hustle, and sense of humor made her one of those folks I like keeping in touch with despite the fact that we’ve never shared a beer. In a nutshell, Jessica’s one of those cool writers who make the indie scene a pleasure. She takes care of her own work constantly, but still finds time to share the love with her “inky cohorts.” In any case, all that taking care of business has lead to a few books in different genres, and one of them is perfect for the crowd that usually drops by Bizarro Central. Check out what she had to say.
GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
JM: I’m a chick who will never stop playing make-believe. As hard as it can be generating unique plots, as poor as I am, as stressful as deadlines are, as slumped and swamp-assy as I get sitting in a computer chair for ten hours, I’m eternally, unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with writing. It’s the most fun work ever, and you better believe my swampass is going to explore as many parts of the playground as possible.
You can probably gather that books are essential to my overall well-being and happiness. Whether I’m playing make-believe in my own worlds or giving myself over to someone else’s creations, I need books for entertainment and education—in and outside of my career. That being said, I tend to read slowly these days due to overall exhaustion and lack of time. I think a lot of writers get shamed for not reading enough—and that “enough,” of course, is based on another person’s reading speed and timetable. But I submit that you just have to read as much as you can. It’s great if “as much as you can” means you read five novels a month. It’s great if it means you read one novel a month. It’s great if you take a few months to read a short story anthology filled with a variety of tales and writers. As long as you’re making an effort, the books will forgive you. Books are cool like that.
GI: You write everything. Do you change magic hats to painlessly switch genres? Do you sacrifice mythological beings in order to write funny stuff, eat a sandwich, and then write about bad things?
JM: I’m afraid I’m somewhat ignorant when it comes to this answer. I don’t know how it happens. I don’t who or what flips the switch. I just know it happens when I need it to, and as long as I keep paying the Goblin Lord in enchanted chocolate doubloons, everything will be just fine.
Or maybe it’s because I trained myself to switch projects/genres/POVs, just like I trained myself to write in various locations and noise levels. When I decide it’s time to put away the young adult novel for a while and write some seriously fucked up horror, my brain usually obeys because I’ve conditioned it to do so. But there are exceptions. Occasionally, I’ll hit mental blocks when I’m switching genres, so I find it helps to change my physical location. I’ll move from my Writing Hut to the living room or to a restaurant—any place that changes the scenery, clears my head, and prepares me to embark on this new journey.
GI: You seem to have the social media platform thing down. Any tips for newbies? Words of advice for folks who invite me to their release party in Manila on a Tuesday night? How much time do you usually invest on your online presence? Are the days of the secretive Pynchon-esque figure officially over?
JM: I hear pretty frequently that I’m adept at social media, but honestly, I’m just being my normal annoying self. Readers have always wanted to be friendly with their favorite authors, to know what makes them tick instead of merely assuming from their fiction, and social media provides us with that opportunity. I’m just taking advantage of that desire and my natural ability to be a loudmouth. Personally, I think writers need to let down their walls—or bust them to rubble, actually—to infuse their characters with honest thoughts and emotions. Doing that ensured that I no longer have a filter when I write (though I screw the filter back in place when it comes to editing), so I often don’t filter myself online or in person, either. It can get me into trouble, no doubt, but I think I come off okay most of the time. There are definitely people who hate pretty much everything about me, especially my fondness for using the word “cunt,” but I’m learning to ignore those hateful comments. When it comes down to it, I’ve never been that secretive about my personal life, and I’ll admit my proclivity to being a bit of an attention whore, so I’m naturally comfortable being an open book to my readers.
So…tips? Be yourself. That’s what people want, and being yourself is healthy for you, too! If you’re shy or scared to be so unguarded online, tell your followers that. We all have different personalities, different truths and stories to convey, which is what makes this such a magical time to create and share your art with the world. Being honest about your fears and doubts, celebrating your accomplishments, owning up to your mistakes, or encouraging your fellow artists might be outside of your comfort zone, but I swear to you, those anxieties are nothing compared to the joy you feel when people tell you something you wrote or posted had a positive effect on their lives.
Obviously, there are lines you shouldn’t cross on social media, and there are things you can do to make sure your posts/links get seen, but a lot of that is trial and error. It just takes time and effort, like everything else in the writing world.
Oh, and I can’t deny that a part of me would love to disappear with a typewriter and a case of wine and spend my days writing novel after novel in solitude. But I think I’d survive about six months before I cracked. I’d definitely need someone to step in and tell me it’s time to shower and rejoin society.
GI: If the house is burning down and you have to run out only with the books you can carry, which books make it?
JM: If I’m being logical, I guess I’d have to grab the least replaceable books. So I’d gather all my work-in-progress stuff, then I’d scoop up my autographed Peter S. Beagle books because they’re all in one place. But if there’s a damn fire, I doubt I’d be thinking very logically, so I’d probably only get away with “Zombie Butts from Uranus.” It’s a classic in its own right, I suppose.
GI: What’s The Green Kangaroos about and why should weird lit lovers get to the clicking and buy a copy as soon as they’re done reading this?
JM: “The Green Kangaroos” is a filthy fun adventure through the world an unremorseful drug addict named Perry Samson. Perry would like nothing more than for his concerned family to ditch their concern so he can continue shooting atlys into his balls, but they can’t let him do that when there are rehab avenues not yet explored. One such avenue is the Sunny Daye Institute, which begins Perry and his family down a perilous, and possibly deceptive, road to recovery that takes them from 2099 Baltimore to Antarctica and into the fantastically horrid nature of addiction itself.
This novel from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing was the most fun writing experience of my life so far. I don’t know if it was playing a first person male character, that Perry himself was so delightful disgusting, or because of the dazzling genre goulash this book became, but crafting “The Green Kangaroos” felt like a joyride in stolen car—if said car was rusted and smelled like rotten hotdog water. It was revolting, but it was freeing. This book also served as a way for me to forgive the trespasses made by an addict in my own life, so even though it’s not a direct representation of those events, it will always be close to my heart because of my past. I didn’t expect it, but “The Green Kangaroos” quickly became my favorite world in the McHughniverse.
Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth, Hungry Darkness, and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at@Gabino_Iglesias
David W. Barbee is one of those rare individuals I liked from the get-go. He’s amicable, talented, and has a great sense of humor. He’s also a great wrestler. In any case, I read a lot of bizarro, and very few author have the kind of innate understanding of the genre that David possesses. His books are always a blast and his readings have the kind of sexiness and nastiness balance that makes you gag and wink at once. Now that Mr. Barbee has a new book out, I asked him to show me his stuff. Dig it.
Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
I’m David W. Barbee and I’m a weird author, which is to say that I’m a weird person who writes things but also that the things I write are really fucking strange. Books and stories have been a huge part of my life because they afforded me an escape from the real world, which is usually a shitty place for me to hang around in. Instead of religion, I worship stories: all those cool pop culture things that I grew up with and that sustained me, whether they’re books or movies or comics or video games. I always knew that I wanted to create my own stories that would reflect all the weird things that I hold so dear.
You were in the first NBAS. You’re a bizarro OG. How come you’re still around when so many have failed? Are you comfortable with being a go-to guy when newbies like me have questions? Can we call your gramps?
My OG status is thanks to a steady diet of Don’t Give A Fuck Flakes. I eat a hefty bowl every morning with orange juice instead of milk. It’s strange that I’m one of the most successful NBAS authors, mainly because I feel like my book was one of the weakest. Carnageland was supposed to be the beginning of a perverted alien trilogy, and published alone the first part is too short and doesn’t have enough character development. Anyway, I remember Carlton Mellick III talking about the qualities each of us had back then. Some of us were good performers or promoters or even lived in Portland with the Eraserhead crew. My quality was my determination. I lacked experience but I wanted to be a bizarro author more than anything. I was willing to throw myself into it, even if I didn’t always know what I was doing. To this day I try to make up for it all with hard work. It’s the same approach I have when I’m writing. I’m not always the best but I show up and I work at it. Now I have people calling me gramps and asking for my advice, which I’m happy to give but I must warn you: like every old man in existence, my advice will be folksy, simplistic, and irrelevant. Now get off my lawn.
Using the books on your shelves, give me five bizarro titles everyone should read and five non-bizarro books every bizarro fan needs to check out.
Five Non-bizarro Books (and why!)
–Smonk, because it’s one of the meanest and most brutal books on my shelf.
–The Hangman’s Ritual, because it’s just as brutal but also beautiful and elegant.
-The Plucker, because it’s my favorite modern-day children’s fable.
-Bones of the Moon, because Neil Gaiman ripped it off in a Sandman storyline.
-Top 10, because it’s Alan Moore writing a superhero cop show and it’s stunning.
Please finish the following sentences:
David W. Barbee is… a diddle-eyed Joe to a damned-if-I-know.
Zelda is… my future daughter, the first of what I hope to be many offspring, and probably the one who will bring balance to the Force.
If I had a beer with Cthulhu… we’d ride around town visiting my enemies and filling their souls with our puke.
The most amazing southern plate is… cornbread…. Mercy, I love me some cornbread.
I wish Kevin L. Donihe… a very Merry Christmas.
The best comic book ever… is Garth Ennis’ Preacher. That comic reached out and pinned me to my seat.
My wrestling name is… Barbeque Sauce Boondock
I’m inspired by… All the weird stuff, even the weird stuff that I’m not into, simply because of the people who love it. The fans of weird stuff are usually the most delightful people on earth, especially in the case of the Bizarro community.
Tell folks about your new book and at least one reason they should run and buy it right now.
My new book, THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS, is a collection of four novellas that are very near and dear to my heart. My best stories are the ones that are personal and reflect who I am on the inside. They are full of monsters and maniacs, humor and horror, sex and drugs. A Town Called Suckhole was like that, and this book is even better because you get FOUR stories packed into one book. That kind of value refuses to be ignored, so just get it over with and buy a copy!