Shark Week is almost over, and instead of pretending that human Olympians are what you want to see, we here at Bizarro Central would like to remind the world that bizarro fiction is the premier place to see nature’s greatest killer in literary form. Don’t believe me? Open any one of these covers and witness as rows upon rows of gnashing imaginary teeth rip to shreds the thing you once called your brain… (click the titles for the opportunity to purchase!)
SHARK HUNTING IN PARADISE GARDEN, by Cameron Pierce
The first book by the great Cameron Pierce and perhaps bizarro’s first tango with sharks as a weird trope. This novella features religious time travelers beset by swarms of sharks flying through the air, many of them mutated to look like bananas or Carlton Mellick III.
FOSSIL LAKE IV: SHARKASAURUS, edited by Christine Morgan
A collection of thirty-seven weird works of fiction and poetry, humor and horror, sharks and dinosaurs and sharkasaurs. Sharkasaurus delves into ancient aquatic terror, biting into your fear centers, your sense of humor, and maybe even your erogenous zones.
THE HOTTEST GAY MAN EVER KILLED IN A SHARK ATTACK, by Douglas Hackle
Ever since he was a young orphan, Hansel Higginzshire’s dream has been to break the long-held Guinness World Record for hottest gay man ever killed in a shark attack. Only he’s not hot, gay, and even worse, he’s a character created by one of bizarro fiction’s sharpest satirists.
REPO SHARK, by Cody Goodfellow
A South African repo ninja heads to the mean streets of Hawaii to steal a world famous chopper from Donnie Punani, who might just be the living incarnation of an ancient pacific shark god. Goodfellow’s balls-to-the-wall prose, hyperkinetic action, (un)savory characters, and dark mysticism combine into a weird crime novel that cannot be missed.
MOTHERFUCKING SHARKS, by Brian Allen Carr
A tour de force of grit and weirdness that trounced the competition and won the coveted Wonderland Book Award in 2014. This novella presents itself as a weird western reminiscent of “Terror in a Texas Town,” only with flying sharks. Carr unleashes a godawful bloodbath with intense, muscular prose. The concept is brilliant in its simplicity. The execution is beautiful in its brutality.
“I’ve had a wonderful time, really the best. Do you want to come inside? It’s still early. I’d love to tell you a story. But first, let me take off my face…” Now That We’re Alone 11 short stories from Nicholas Day, celebrating the weird, wicked, and wonderful monsters hiding in the dark, hiding behind their human masks. Get it HERE
“Hell is real. And it’s coming this way…” This isn’t the first time Dave’s been dropped into the killzone, where Hell and Earth meet. Again and again, he’s crashed down into the ground like an angry comet, clad in his living armor, with his shotgun, Bielebog, primed and ready. Time and again, Dave’s waded knee-deep through the dead, riding on the adrenaline wave, halfway baked out of his mind. Except, Dave’s had enough. He’s died, fought and rampaged one too many times. He’s gotten sick and tired of being a berserker. This time, Dave knows, will be the last time. HERE WE GO AGAIN… Get it HERE
Are you hungry for something different? Something weird? Horrific? Funny? Uncomfortable? Surreal? Try a slice.
A man opens his door to a most unusual salesman, whose wares are not quite what they seem… A writer on a retreat discovers a talking insect, and a tree bearing fruit that looks just like cats… A demented clown acts as one poor soul’s daily alarm clock… A man in a homemade spaceship encounters a terror he never could have expected – something that wasn’t in his guidebook… A professional eater starts to crave the most forbidden food… A man on the verge of suicide begins cutting, and in doing so, finds a reason to exist…
These and many more Tales of Bizarro and Absurdist Horror.
“I can certainly guarantee that no one has told a story like this before. It never goes where you think it will and always keeps you guessing…” –HORROR UNDERGROUND, on SuperGhost
“Ridiculous? Yeah. Silly? Hell yeah. Fun? Fuck yeah!” –SHOCK TOTEM, on SuperGhost
Get it here!
The beautiful thing about life is that it isn’t perfect. Evan Lansing manages to eke out a living as a photographer, capturing the beauty of severely marred and deformed people. He’s content with his meager existence but his longtime girlfriend, Naomi, is looking for more out of life . . . things that cost money—marriage and children. Evan’s options are limited when he and Naomi resolve to split. He can stay with his brother and his brother’s insufferable wife and daughter or he can move into his deceased mother’s remote cabin and renovate it. The solitude of the cabin is an enticing alternative for Evan to start anew. But disturbing things begin to happen once Evan moves in and it leaves him to question if staying with his brother wasn’t the better option. And then there are the neighbors . . .
Get it here!
by J. Platz-Halter
“This will help you stay warm,” Michael said as he handed Kate a cup of coffee.
She was staring at the log in the fireplace, watching the embers recede into the wood, the light becoming fainter and fainter. “Sorry,” she took a sip, “a lot has happened today, and I, I don’t know how to process it.”
Michael gathered what paper he could find inside the cabin and threw it into the fire. Safety pamphlets, maps of the park, anything that could burn. “It’s rough,” he said. “You try not to think about everything you’ve lost, but…”
“My sister and my mother, I’ll never see them again. And my coworkers, the good ones at least. I don’t even know if my dog is still alive.”
“I didn’t want to believe it,” Michael sat down next to Kate, “but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll most likely never play the Philips CD-i ever again.”
“And everyone I graduated with last year, did any of them make it out of the city? I wish there was some way to contact- wait, you’re worried about some video game thing?”
“Oh sure, it seems like no big deal at first. What reason would the creatures have to destroy my CD-i? But then I realized that if those last emergency broadcasts were true, and the armed forces have disbanded, leaving the major cities unprotected, it’s more than likely that the people who manage the power stations have all been killed or assimilated.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Whether we live or die here, there’s not going to be any electricity back home! I would need to rig up some sort of battery system to power the console, and god dammit! I don’t have the knowledge or skills to do that.” Michael started to cry. “I’m just a regular guy, I wasn’t made for such trying times. I wish I was playing Mutant Rampage: Bodyslam right now.”
Kate walked to the other side of the cabin. “My best friend was ripped in half and then eaten alive in front of me. I watched my little brother shoot himself in the head. I begged him to just get in the car. Get in the car and we’d go somewhere far away, but he couldn’t cope with what he’d seen. So many people died today, but you lived? A loser obsessed with a stupid video game system no one cares about. What a fucking joke.”
“Hey! I get that you’re emotional, and you can take it out on me all you want, but I won’t sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the Philips CD-i! It was an industry innovator when it was released in 1991, pioneering the compact disc format. And I had its entire software collection. Everything from 1995: All the News and Views to Zombie Dinos From Planet Zeltoid. So don’t tell me I didn’t lose anything or that I don’t know your pain! If anything, it’s you who doesn’t understand what it means to lose something you care about.”
The ensuing argument was preempted by the loud thud of bodies mindlessly throwing themselves against the cabin door. The creatures had followed the two of them into the woods, driven by their insatiable lust for human cytoplasm.
Kate was already moving one of the tables. “Help me make a barricade!”
“This is just like the CD-i version of Tetris,” Michael said as he slid the bookshelf across the room, “except we don’t have the soothing, smooth jazz soundtrack by composer Jim Andron to listen to.” He had positioned it in front of the window but inadvertently left a small gap through which one of the creatures forced its slimy, green tentacle into the room. It struck Michael in his left arm and injected him with goo.
When she saw what was happening, Kate immediately stopped piling things against the door and got the cabin’s emergency fire ax. With one good swing, she severed the tentacle, but it was too late. The transformation had begun.
Michael fell to the floor in pain. All along his arm, his skin turned bright yellow and then curled up, tearing itself and exposing the blackening muscles underneath. “I’m fine, really! I don’t need this arm. With the CD-i’s paddle controller, I can play most of the games one-handed. It really was ahead of its time in terms of accessibility!” The goo hijacked his nervous system and mutated his brain to connect him to the creature hive mind.
“I can see what they see.” Michael stood up with the help of the pair of insectile legs that sprouted from his chest. “My mind, our mind is one. They have my CD-i, Kate. Join us. Join the collective, and we’ll play Hotel Mario…”
She slowly backed away, staying out of his reach until she was up against the wall.
“It has a bad reputation because of its low budget animated sequences,” acid poured out of Michael’s mouth and chewed through the floor, “but at its core it’s a fun action puzzle platformer with simple yet addictive gameplay. Join us! Become one with the overmind!”
Kate swung the ax into what was left of Michael’s head. Aside from the hiss of his body rapidly melting, it was quiet. The creatures outside must have moved on. For the moment. Kate removed the ax and took what supplies she could find. She would head north. There were rumors of a remnant human settlement up north. Half a mile up the mountain trail, and she looked back. The fires in the city were still burning, hazy clouds of alien smoke obscuring all but the largest of buildings. It was a scene familiar to her. It looked just like Cyberia for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer.
J. Platz-Halter is an aspiring author who has done nothing of note. Someday soon, though. Probably. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes. And here, have a twitter account to pad out this bio: @JPlatzHalter.
Submit your bizarro flash fiction stories to FlashFictionFridaySubmissions@gmail.com.
With all the conventions happening this weekend, Bizarro Central wants to remind you to keep a lookout for our very own weirdos. In Virginia, Scares that Care (the horror con for a good cause) will feature a small army of bizarro creators, including but not limited to: John Skipp, Brian Keene, Wrath James White, Edward Lee, Eric Hendrixson, Scott Cole, CV Hunt, Andersen Prunty, Amber Fallon, and David W. Barbee. Cody Goodfellow can be found lurking amongst the nerds at San Diego Comic Con, and a who even knows how many weirdos will be at NECon in Providence. Get out there and see us!
For the next month, as part of John Skipp’s HOPE IN HELL campaign, he’s offering the Bizarro Encyclopedia of Film (vol. 1) as a stand-alone perk on the film’s indiegogo page! The book was written by Skipp and Heather Drain, with cover and interiors by Paula Rozelle Hanback. It only costs $15 (+ shipping, worldwide).
Here’s the link to the HOPE IN HELL Indiegogo. You’ll find THE BIZARRO ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FILM (VOL. I) near the top of the perk selection. It’s officially coming out in Feb. 2018, but your copy will arrive in mid-November. CHECK IT OUT, WEIRD FILM LOVERS!!!