1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2011
Another Bizarro primer from Eraserhead Press. This stuff is like the psychonaut's toolkit, I love it.
Ray Fracalossy: "Fun With Dan and Joan", "Body in Motion", "The Intruder", "The Birthday Party", "Cornflakes", "The Man Who Saw Giraffes", "The Quest", "The Surprise Party", "A Child's Guide to Real Small Planets", "The Dinner Party", "It's a Jungle Out There", "Me and the Martian"! Twelve, yes twelve flash fiction pieces, each a page or less. Ray Fracalossy is a New Absurdist, and if you've read my review of "Tales From the Vinegar Wasteland", you'll know his work is really weird and compelling. These stories feature simple, almost squeaky clean plots, with surreal twists, and characters who accept the absurdism as part of their short, one page lives. Featuring a man who deserts himself, a 2D home-wrecker, the lodgers in a man's pubis, and a three headed martian.
Jeremy C. Shipp: "Flapjack". This novella is made slightly difficult to comprehend due to the distorted vocabulary and phrases, but very rewarding. The protagonist, Newton, is in prison for disregarding cultural mores, such as the compulsory mutilation of women, and genders are assigned to children on their "self day". Newton recounts how he became a writer, and how wars between neighbouring families are shadowed by deeper and darker secrets. I'm anxious to read more of Shipp's work, this was a fun read.
Jordan Krall: "The Longheads". A couple of gangsters evade a nappy wearing assassin, while longheads, war veterans that became part of a horrific experiment, wreak havoc in the surreal town of Thompson. With sushi, midget escorts, and violent action, this is unmistakably the work of Jordan Krall. One story in the Squid Pulp Blues trilogy.
Mykle Hansen: "Monster C*cks!". A lonely computer programmer pines after his supervisor from afar, and rages against her abusive husband. Ashamed at the size of his *ahem* simon, as too many young men are, he sends away for an enlargement kit. But hilarity ensues as it grows to gargantuan proportions, (I'm not too worried about giving this plot point away, because it can be seen a mile off, if you'll forgive the double entendre). Mykle Hansen takes this urban legend and archetypal dream/nightmare, and makes it his own.
Andersen Prunty: "The Devastated Insides of Hollow City". Shell, bounty hunter, has to avoid the slags, flesh eating slugs that hollow you out, and find Pearl. He goes around asking for Pearl, and meets some strange people and situations along the way. Andersen Prunty is a Wes Andersen movie personified.
Eckhard Gerdes: "Nin and Nan". A couple of verbose siblings destroy attempts to build a road near their secluded hill, and even kill various revenuers, justifying their actions with heavy duty Christian theology. Then Uncle Sam turns up, and they follow him into civilisation. Gerdes is a seasoned writer of the weird, and doesn't disappoint.
Bradley Sands: "Cheesequake smash-up". Fast food restaurants take to the air and take part in a derby and destroy the competition. Like the wacky races on crack, this is a typical example of Bradley Sands' madcap, creepiest-carnival-you've-ever-been-to humour.
Steve Aylett: "Shamanspace" is kind of like Flapjack, with dense jargon and metaphysical musings. A plan is made to kill God, but what will happen if it is achieved? Steve Aylett is a multifaceted postmodern satirist that can turn a phrase and weird you out.
Christian Tebordo: "The Order of Operations" is my personal favourite story. A man with a moon shaped face battles a man with a similarly disfigured face, shooting and setting fire to each other, trapped in an endless loop, while moon-face courts a member of the choir of the church he goes to. A boy with healing powers ensures that this viscous cycle never ends, no one ever being truly satisfied in this absurd tale. Te Bordo continues to impress me.
Tony Rauch: "What you're missing", "Big Head", "At the Shoe Store", "The Egg", "The Stench", "As I Tumble Softly Through the Sky", "Something, Anything". Rauch winds down the anthology with some sweet, subtly surreal short stories and flash fiction. Strange, dream like things happens to dreamy people, who think about their place in the world and yearn for the anchor of companionship. In "Big Head", a man's head grows and grows until he can't get out of his house, and worries how this will affect his life, his family, and what his future holds. In "Something, Anything", man muses on people who get very strange cosmetic surgery at the laboratory of dreams where he works. I felt like this story was a metaphor with the Bizarro movement; weird people with crazy dreams, making those dreams a reality. Let 'em indeed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2011
This is a pretty good combination of Bizarro elements. It goes from the extreme, trippy experimentation of Steve Aylett to the absurd and funny but more restrained style of Andersen Prunty. Bradley Sands' Cheesequake Smashup is worth the price of admission by itself. But, although I like the authors in Bizarro Starter Kit:Blue a lot, I would recommend other work to get to know them. In comparison to the Orange Starter Kit, I'm not sure this as good an introduction to Bizarro. If you want to read Andersen Prunty's stuff, try Morning is Dead or Zerostrata. If you want to read Eckhard Gerdes, try the formidable and beautiful My Landlady the Lobotomist. For Bradley Sands, while Cheesequake Smashup is excellent, I think Rico Slade Will (EXPLETIVE OMITTED) Kill You is better. For Jordan Krall, King Scratch and Piecemeal June are both incredible. Jeremy Shipp's Flapjack is my least favorite story in the great collection Sheep and Wolves. This is a good collection, but the Orange and Purple Starter Kits are stronger and so is most of the work of the authors within, all of whom are awesome.