One of the great things about living in this technological age is that we have access to pretty much anything at any time. Go on Amazon or Google and type some random keywords and you’ll come across many different products or articles and webpages. It truly is quite incredible. In fact, there is a game in which you try to think of two words to search in Google that will only get one result. I’ve been successful once but then again, I don’t spend my days doing that. No sir, I’m a productive member of society. But never mind that. Literature is similar in that there are too many genres and subgenres to count and there are always more coming along. What I’m interested here is talking about an incredible new genre I’ve discovered recently and that I’m quite excited about. For those of you with children or still developing clones, you may want to have them leave the room because we’re talking about. BIZARRO FICTION!
So what is bizarro fiction? There are a few sites you can look at that will answer that. To get some answers right from the source, I’d suggest reading a great interview with Rose O’keefe who is head of Eraserhead Publishing, one of the main publishers of this evolving genre. Another description of it and its many conventions can be found at the always insightful tvtropes. But here is what I have picked up about the genre so far and why I think it’s an exciting genre to keep an eye on.
A story that deals with giant monster penises, impregnating Satan’s daughter, or a living suit of cockroaches can’t possibly be considered good fiction, right? It’s just puerile, crass humor, right? Well, how about if instead I described three books as a look at how one’s insecurities can lead to terrible consequences, how love and and feelings of responsibility can bridge the gap between families, cultures, or creatures of different planes of existence, and finally how important companionship is and how it can be found in the oddest of places? They sound a bit better though both descriptions pertain to the same books. Yeah. The books are The Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere, I Knocked-Up Satan’s Daughter, and Angel Dust Apocalypse. It is partially this disconnect between theme and execution that attracts me so much to this genre.
Many in the genre have described bizarro fiction as first and foremost being a genre dedicated to entertaining the reader. With stories like those, I can see that writing philosophy in action. It is also described as being the written equivalent of the cult movie section of the video store. Again, no argument there. Another prominent aspect of this genre is how its style or MO are very punk-like. One can’t read one of these books and not think of the avant-garde nature of punk and its energetic refutation of everything established. This alacrity is wonderfully refreshing as is its willingness to dive into the ultra-violence of a Saturday morning cartoon or the crazy sex antics of a- come to think of it I can’t even begin to equate the sex antics of anything of this world. Nevertheless, everything is on display for entertainment and if you get offended, it’s probably more of a personal malfunction than mean-spiritedness on the part of the writer. After all, if the story didn’t push some, or all of the limits, then it wouldn’t be a bizarro story! Enter at your own risk and buyer beware.
I’ll be sure to keep posting about this genre and maybe get some reviews up in the future of books in this genre.