Bizarro fiction

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Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which often uses 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."[2]

In general, Bizarro has more in common with speculative fiction genres (such as science-fiction, fantasy, and horror) than with avant-garde movements (such as Dadaism and surrealism), which readers and critics often associate it with.[3] While the genre may place an emphasis on the cult and outre, it is not without critical praise. Books by authors who have identified or have been identified as Bizarro have been praised by Lloyd Kaufman,[4] Michael Moorcock[5] and guardian.co.uk.[6] Bizarro novels have been finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award,[7][8] the Bram Stoker Award,[9] and the Rhysling Award.[10] A book of Bizarro criticism and theory was named Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2009 by 3:AM Magazine in Paris[11]

Contents

Origins

Bizarro literature can trace its roots at least as far back as the foundation of Eraserhead Press in 1999,[12] but the description of the literature as "Bizarro" is a more recent development. Previous terms used to refer to the burgeoning scene include "irreal"[13][14] and "new absurdism",[14] but neither of these was used broadly. On 19 June 2005, Kevin Dole II released "What The Fuck is This All About", a sort of manifesto for the then unnamed genre.[2][15][16] While the essay does not feature the word "Bizarro," subsequent discussion about the essay led to the name as well as the inauguration of the Mondo Bizarro Forum.

In his essay, "The Nab Gets Posthumously Bizarroized",[17] Tom Bradley traces the genre's roots back in literary history to the time of Vladimir Nabokov's "gogolization," and his cry of despair and horror at having his central nervous system colonized: "...after reading Gogol, one's eyes become gogolized. One is apt to see bits of his world in the most unexpected places."[18] Bradley claims the Bizarro movement is continuing and fulfilling that gogolization process, under the name Bizarroization: "...we have been completing the preposterous project which [Nabokov] took over from Gogol nearly a hundred years ago.."[17] Bradley further asserts that Bizarro writers can trace their spiritual roots back to the letters which Ovid wrote while exiled on the Black Sea.[19][20]

Response

Author John Skipp and fellow small press author Eden Robins have written in praise of the do it yourself, self-promoting aesthetic.[21][22] Thirdeye Magazine, an online zine, reinforces the perception of Bizarro writing as purposefully absurd.[23] In the io9 article "Independent Publishers Who Are Reinventing The Future," co-editor Charlie Anders praised Bizarro publisher Eraserhead Press as one of their favorite independent presses.[24]

The British magazine Dazed & Confused stated that "The bastard sons of William Burroughs and Dr. Seuss, the underground lit cult of the Bizarros are picking up where the cyberpunks left off."[25]

Authors

See also

References

  1. ^ The Bizarro Starter Kit. Bizarro Books, 2006. p.5
  2. ^ a b O'Keefe, Rose (2 October 2005). "Bizarro FAQs - What is BIZARRO? - Discussion Areas - Mondo Bizarro - Message Board". Yuku. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Randy Henderson (21 April 2010). "Fantasy Magazine » Bizarro Fiction 101: Not Just Weird for Weird’s Sake". Fantasy Magazine. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Kevin Touch (21 May 2010). "Ass Goblins of Auschwitz at horroryearbook.com". horroryearbook. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Michael Moorcock (15 June 2010). "Curiouser and curiouser". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Damien G Walter (16 July 2010). "Bizarro fiction: it's terribly good". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "The Philip K. Dick Award - winners by year". Philip K. Dick Award. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "Steve Aylett Website - interviews section - WWW.STEVEAYLETT.COM". STEVEAYLETT.COM. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Horror Writers Association - Past Stoker Award Nominees & Winners". Horror Writers Association. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Mike Allen. "Rhysling Anthology and Awards: 2007". Science Fiction Poetry Association. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Put It Down in a Book by Tom Bradley, The Drill Press, 2009
  12. ^ "About « Eraserhead Press". Eraserhead Press. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Blu Gilliand (1 August 2009). "Dark Scribe Magazine - Feature Interviews - D. Harlan Wilson: Keeping It Irreal". Dark Scribe Magazine. Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Stephen Thompson (19 August 2008). "The Specusphere - Irrealism and the Bizarro movement". The Specusphere. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Kevin Dole 2 (24 August 2007). "So What the Fuck Is This All About?". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "Kevin Dole 2". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Tom Bradley. "The Nab Gets Posthumously Bizarroized by Tom Bradley". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 22 October 2010. ; see also Fission Among the Fanatics by Tom Bradley, Spuyten Duyvil Books (NYC), pages 231-245.
  18. ^ The Overcoat and The Nose. Penguin Books. 1995. 
  19. ^ The Dream People, 2008 
  20. ^ Put It Down in a Book. The Drill Press. 2009. pp. 3–19. 
  21. ^ John Skipp (21 March 2008). "BIZARRO-MANIA!!!". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 21 March 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  22. ^ Eden Robins (23 November 2009). "Bizarro Fiction: Stout Hearts and Strong Stomachs". Ecstatic Days. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  23. ^ Jeff Siwanowicz (3 November 2007). "It Came From Below The Belt". Thirdeye Magazine. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  24. ^ Charlie Anders (20 November 2009). "Independent Publishers Who Are Reinventing The Future". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  25. ^ Dazed & Confused, September 2007, p. 64 
  26. ^ "Steve Aylett". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  27. ^ "Steve Beard". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  28. ^ "Tom Bradley". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  29. ^ "Jeff Burk". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  30. ^ "Garrett Cook". Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  31. ^ "Amazon.com: Garrett Cook: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". Amazon.com. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  32. ^ Jason Pettus (2 April 2009). "Book review: "Murderland: h8," by Garrett Cook". CCLaP: Chicago Center for Literature & Photography. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  33. ^ "Kevin L. Donihe". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  34. ^ "Andre Duza". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  35. ^ "Chris Genoa". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  36. ^ "Eckhard Gerdes". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  37. ^ "Andrew Goldfarb". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  38. ^ "Cody Goodfellow". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  39. ^ "Mykle Hansen". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  40. ^ "Alex S. Johnson". Dynatox Ministries. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  41. ^ "Jeremy Robert Johnson". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  42. ^ "Jordan Krall". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  43. ^ "John Edward Lawson". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  44. ^ "Carlton Mellick III". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  45. ^ "J. David Osborne". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  46. ^ "Cameron Pierce". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  47. ^ "Andersen Prunty". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  48. ^ "Gina Ranalli". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  49. ^ "Tony Rauch". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  50. ^ "Vincent W. Sakowski". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  51. ^ "Bradley Sands". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  52. ^ "Jeremy C. Shipp". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  53. ^ "Alyssa Sturgill". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  54. ^ "Bruce Taylor". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  55. ^ "D. Harlan Wilson". Bizarro Central. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 

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