There are a lot of talented authors out there who are writing gut-twisting tales that just don't fit into the accepted mainstream of the New York Publishing Houses. If you are a horror or punk fan, then this tasty little sample simply should not be passed by. I for one love the Odd, the Bizarre, the Sick & Twisted, and the breath of freshly foul air that comes from hidden fictional treasures. This isn't a book for the squeamish or faint of heart. 'The Bizarro Starter Kit' is a collection of short and flash fiction grouped by author rather than story, so I'll give the lineup by author:
D. Harlan Wilson - 'At The Funeral', 'Cops & Bodybuilders', 'Hairware, Inc.', 'The Man In The Thick Black Spectacles', 'Classroom Dynamics', and 'Digging For Adults'. Wilson proves a spectacular ability for the new flash-fiction genre with his absurdly bizarro tales. My favorites were Hairware Inc. and Digging For Adults.
Carlton Mellick III - 'The Baby Jesus Butt Plug'. Adopting cute little Baby-Jesuses as pets, sickos who use their pets as b*tt toys, wolf spiders, pointless jobs, clones, zombies, and music boxes, this is one bizarro story. Mellick is a true master of bizarro. See my individual review of 'The Baby Jesus Butt Plug' for Mellick's stand-alone copy of this bizarre little treasure.
Jeremy Robert Johnson - 'Extinction Journals'. A cockroach suit in an apocalyptic nightmare. I believe Johnson is a writer to keep on your watch-list. Check out 'Siren Promised' and 'Angel Dust Apocalypse'.
Kevin L. Donihe - 'The Greatest F***ing Moment In Sports'. A hilarious and nightmarish account of Oscar Legbo's last bicycle race. Donihe co-authored 'Ocean Of Lard' with Mellick, a book that I loved.
Gina Ranalli - 'Suicide Girls In The Afterlife'. A strange tale of wandering through a bizarre Afterlife Hotel. Don't get lost on the wrong floor!
Andre Duza - 'Don't F(beep)k With The Coloureds'. An exotic, erotic female experiment terrorizes the Harrington House Retirement Center and the local police force. But it's the animation crouching inside that will get to them. This is a truly bizarro story, one of my favorites! And, it comes with a very peculiar illustration.
Vincent W. Sakowski - 'The Screaming Of The Fish', 'Peel And Eat Buffet', It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Ragnarok'. Another author shows talent at the new flash-fiction genre. My favorite is 'The Screaming Of The Fish'.
Steve Beard - 'Survivor's Dream'. Disjointed dreamlike tale of Dead Girl and the many traumas she must endure inside her own mind in order to return to the living. Another favorite, but extremely twisted and more than a little confusing.
John Edward Lawson - 'Truth In Ruins'. A post apocalyptic, landscape of Serial Profilers and Serial Killers takes you on one of the most surreal journeys in this collection. Lawson also edited the incredible collection 'Sick: An Anthology Of Illness'. I love Lawson's quote in his Description, "Reality is for people who can't handle fiction."
Bruce Taylor - 'The Breath Amidst The Stones', 'A Little Spider Shop Talk', 'Of Tunafish And Galaxies', 'City Streets'. More strange than sick, these short tales breath life into the lifeless. My favorite is "A Little Spider Shop Talk": ever wonder what a conversation with your spider-neighbor would be like?
Reading this introduction to bizarro is like reaching your arm out into some blackened void that has piqued your curiosity for years. Sometimes dreamily intense and sometimes almost childishly scrawled, these tales can be called nothing less than intriguing. I enjoyed the collection because it's so cultish and outlandish, and gives more than one author's view into this macabre, magnetic genre. It's a nice sampling that showcases some great (though warped) talents using an eclectic blend of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, punk, outlandishness, and insanity.
The book includes biographies, previous works, and information about each of the authors (some comically embellished) and websites to visit to find out more about your favorites. Talent doesn't always come out of a New York Publishing House; sometimes it creeps out from underneath strangely shaped and slimily pungent rocks. Enjoy!