The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade is by far the best Bizarro anthology available at present, both for fans of the genre and as an introduction for those just getting to know what the genre is all about. It’s a better intro than even the Starter Kits. Almost all your usual suspects are represented right alongside some other big names who aren’t typically associated with Bizarro, like Joe R. Lansdale, Tom Piccirilli, Aimee Bender, and Stephen Graham Jones. I love about 95% of this book, and feel that it is wholly representative of the emerging genre over the course of the previous decade. In other words, it is just what the title says.
The volume contains many tales in full-on Bizarro territory including the absurd yet horrific “The Traveling Dildo Salesman” by Kevin L. Donihe, the too-creepy-for-words existential terror of “The Planting” by Bentley Little, the disturbing pop-culture subversion of “We Witnessed the Advent of a New Apocalypse During an Episode of Friends” by Blake Butler, the surreally absurd “A Million Versions of Right” by Matthew Revert, the otherworldly s***storm of “The Crazy S***ting Planet” by Mykel Hansen, the nightmare landscape of “Atwater” by Cody Goodfellow, the impossibly Japanese weirdness of “The Moby Clitoris of His Beloved” by Ian Watson & Robert Quaglia, the Scooby-Doo perversion of “The Sex Beast of Scurvy Island” by Andersen Prunty, the stylized sadism of ‘Scratch” by Jeremy C. Shipp, and the uncomfortable dystopia of “Ear Cat” by Carlton Mellick III.
It also contains some, for lack of a better term, Bizarro-lite that is fun to read and may help scene outsiders ease into the strangeness, including “Fire Dog” and “Mr. Bear” by Joe R. Lansdale, “Ant Colony” by Alissa Nutting, “Cardiology” by Ryan Boudinot, “Hat” by Roy Kesey, and “The Octopus” by Ben Lorry.
If you’ve ever felt like Bizarro is too silly for you, or Bizarro is all the same, or Bizarro is all uberextreme, then this is a collection that can help to correct your misconceptions. And if you are looking for some great, nonconformist lit, this is your anthology.