A lyrical, apocalyptic debut novel about addiction, friendship, and the struggle for survival
It started with a single child and quickly spread: you could get high by drinking your own shadow. At night, artificial lights were destroyed so that addicts could sip shadow in the pure glow of the moon.
Gangs of shadow addicts chased down children on playgrounds, rounded up old ladies from retirement homes. Cities were destroyed and governments fell. And if your shadow was sipped entirely, you became one of them, had to drink the shadows of others or go mad.
One hundred and fifty years later, what’s left of the world is divided between the highly regimented life of those inside dome cities who are protected from natural light (and natural shadows), and those forced to the dangerous, hardscrabble life in the wilds outside. In rural Texas, Mira, her shadow-addicted =friend Murk, and an ex-domer named Bale search for a possible mythological cure to the shadow sickness—but they must do so, it is said, before the return of Halley’s Comet, which is only days away.
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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.
Coming this August from Soho Press and Brian Allen Carr, a novel of the doom of drinking your own shadow
Excerpt of Motherfucking Sharks by Brian Allen Carr
On the ground, near a puddle, its face the smell of chocolate, a toddler toddles.
See this, friend: eyes green, cheeks alight with joy. Blonde hair only ever so slightly feathered by breeze. A giggle. A tummy laugh. You ever touched a toddler’s tummy? It feels like suede-wrapped heaven. It smells like milk and hugs and handshakes from God. You see this little boy? This little white boy? If it hurts you more to see a black boy die, then make him black in your mind, I don’t care what it looks like so long as you’re uncomfortable. Instead, reader, do this. Picture for me, if you will, the child you love the most. Hold it in your head. Dress it with the form you’d least like see killed. In this way, we have always been a team. I tell you a thing, but you spin it real in your head. So, I won’t tell you everything. Hell, make it a girl. Make it your own. Give me a child. Put it in your mind. Put it by a puddle. Put joy in its heart. I’m going to fuck it up. I’m going to unleash a magical shark on it. I’m going to turn that precious thing into a bucket of death shaped the way that hurts you most. Put that fucking child by that fucking puddle and let me kill the fuck out of it. I will strip its skin from its body, toss chunks of it at you like strips of bacon. Your baby. Make the fucking baby. I want to kill the fucking baby you’ve made in your mind. Is it there? Is it the baby?
Now, up comes the shark.
Now listen, I’m serious here, I’m willing to sacrifice my spot in Heaven to make you feel bad while reading this. I’ll quit drinking forever tomorrow, and I won’t jerk off to amateur porn anymore—you know the kind that’s been stolen and where the women look embarrassed and the men look eager and the light is yellow and you can nearly smell the sin—but it won’t matter anymore, because after I kill this toddler out of your imagination, God will think me reprehensible. I want this to all occur inside of you. We’re a team, okay? We’re gonna kill this little kid together.
Kill this kid with me.
Put it in your mind and let’s kill it.
Just you and me.
Just you and me and our imaginations.
Just two people. Taking a kid and killing it in our hearts.
It’s not real.
Let’s take this kid. This cute little kid. It’s by the puddle. And in that puddle is something dark.
The child is innocent. The shark is heinous. Teeth. Teeth. Teeth.
Look at a baby’s hand. It’s so soft.
Look at a shark’s mouth. All those teeth, so sharp.
Take that soft little hand, with those soft little fingers. Piggies. Piggies.
Sing: this little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home.
God, I’m gonna fucking put those cute little fingers in that fucking shark’s mouth. God, it will be fucked up. I’m gonna drag them over the teeth. Oh, shit, they will not stand a chance.
Hahaha. Look at the baby’s face. It’s fucking crying.
There’s blood everywhere.
It’s trying to suck it’s thumb.
Hey, dumbass, thumb’s gone.
I fed it to a fucking shark.
It bites the kid again. Oh, man.
These motherfucking sharks are crazy.
Brian Allen Carr lives on the Texas/Mexico border. Motherfucking Sharks is out now with Lazy Fascist Press.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
-Jeff Jackson, author of Mira Corpora
‘SUGAR’ WILLEM FLOURES
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.
TO THE BODY:
POWER SHOT STRAIGHT
POWER SHOT STRAIGHT
And then a voice says, “‘Sugar’… you are no longer sweet with the science.”