Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fiction Tuesday - Bizzaro Fiction

 Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which often utilizes elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive works that are as weird and entertaining as possible. The term was adopted in 2005 by the independent publishing companies Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Press, and Afterbirth Books. Much of its community revolves around Eraserhead Press, which is based in Portland, Oregon, and has hosted the BizarroCon yearly since 2008. The introduction to the first Bizarro Starter Kit describes Bizarro as “literature’s equivalent to the cult section at the video store” and a genre that “strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.”[1] According to Rose O’Keefe of Eraserhead Press: “Basically, if an audience enjoys a book or film primarily because of its weirdness, then it is Bizarro. Weirdness might not be the work’s only appealing quality, but it is the major one. (thanks wikipedia)

Needless to say its a genre not for everyone. But there are the few and the proud that find it quite addictive.

Jordan's graduation presents.


I started getting into drugs and philosophy and wrote this 1,000 page epic about a bunch of teenagers, each one addicted to a different kind of drug, that start their own religion and try to take over the universe. They become gods and battle each other in metaphysical realms for supremacy. It was the worst book ever written by anyone.
Carlton Mellick III


This is the only Bizarro fiction book I have ever read. I thought it was pretty good-Matt
This metafictional collection of surrealist fiction is compiled from Konrath’s long-running web site, The Wrath of Kon, and includes “If People Can Eat Blood Pudding, I Can Say I’m a Writer on My Tax Return”, “With Sleep, All Things are Possible”, “My Friend, The Jihadist”, “My Brother Died in a Clown Car Accident, You Douchebag”, and five other pieces of gonzo fiction written from a grim and twisted point of view.
Classic Bizzaro fiction! Trapped in a remote Alaskan forest, pinned under his own SUV, gnawed upon by nature's finest predators, Marv Pushkin -- Corporate Warrior, Positive Thinker, Esquire subscriber -- waits impatiently for an ambulance and explains in detail the many reasons why this unfolding tragedy is everyone's fault but his own.

I think I may have finally found my ideal genre of fiction
Ohohohoho bizarro fiction you are wonderfully weird-ThesisterWife

The Summer of Intimidating Russian Novels has only just begun, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start gathering reading material for Bizarro Fiction Fall.-invisible mandy

“The Bizarro crowd should feel fortunate to have Jeremy Robert Johnson around, seeing that the writer may be their finest champion to prove that the genre is weird for the sake of being meaningful.”-verbicide


For a moment I was marked too. I flinched. She noticed. She was a wonderful human being, with a laugh that you’d want to hear at the gates of heaven. And I am weak for leaving her.
Jeremy Robert Johnson




 “I become overwhelmed in the outside world in such a sickening way, the color-textures, friends, social-clutter chats, overwhelming until my ears and kneecaps go tic-cricky and it makes me want to jump into the ocean without my water legs on, let the sharks get me, their teeth in love with me.
Carlton Mellick III Fishy Fleshed


My friend and roommate (catchyasacactus) introduced me to this contemporary literary movement called “bizarro fiction.” It’s not quite fantasy or fabulism, and it’s not quite horror or science fiction, but bizarro fiction seems to be a strange mix of all of the above.
Its main objective is to be as shocking and disturbing as possible. In “literary writing” shock factor is often looked down upon, but not with bizarro fiction; the more disgusting, the better. Extra points for being offensive, too. In Cameron Pierce’s “Ass Goblins of Auschwitz” (pictured), ass goblin Nazi cannibals go around eating children’s flesh; mocking the Holocaust in such a way is both politically incorrect and brilliant. 
What I admire most about this genre, though, is the care put into the writing itself. Yes, the concepts and titles are ridiculous, but these are still stories. To create a rich environment with the potential for darkly funny scenes is one thing; to mold believable and emotionally resonant character in that same environment is another. And that’s where bizarro fiction as a literary movement succeeds: in finding an exploitative mix of humor, shock, and emotion. -nihilistic intentions

Bizzarro Central Magazine


Do you have any bizarro fiction favorites you'd like to share? Maybe you know someone close who would make the perfect bizarro fiction author. I have to admit, I was shocked to find out a co-worker has a private stash of this stuff. It was great to hang out with him and discuss this new genre.

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4 comments:

Cafe Fashionista said...

I LOVE the idea of Bizarro Fiction - it makes me think of the show Seinfeld. :)

Syed said...

Will have to give this a look see. Not sure it is my cup of tea, but the proof is the pudding, and I have been looking for something original after reading what seem to be the same stories told again and again by so many different authors.

Molly ♥ said...

Never heard of the genre but some of the cover art is interesting.

meg said...

I love the titles. Really looks pretty cool.