The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)
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The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  369 ratings  ·  47 reviews
There's a new genre rising from the underground. Its name: BIZARRO. For years, readers have been asking for a category of fiction dedicated to the weird, crazy, cult side of storytelling that has become a staple in the film industry (with directors such as David Lynch, Takashi Miike, Tim Burton, and Lloyd Kaufman) but has been largely ignored in the literary world, until n...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Eraserhead Press
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Dan Schwent
The Bizarro Starter Kits are designed to introduce people to the Bizarro genre. I, on the other hand, bought it so I could read The Baby Jesus Butt Plug in public without people harassing me. Here are some of the wonders contained within the Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange):
The collection starts with a collection of D. Harlan Wilson short stories. Cops & Bodybuilders was my favorite. What would you do if a bodybuilder showed up in your living room and started posing and wouldn't leave?

The Baby J...more
Caris
And what is bizarro, exactly?

This is a question I get often. As a few of you know, I wrote a book. It fits rather nicely in the bizarro genre and, as such, is being published by Eraserhead Press, a bizarro publisher. I say this to people because most are unaware of Eraserhead Press or the strange little genre of books they specialize in. This book here, this starter kit, was put out to answer the aforementioned question. And it does a decent job of it.

As I understand it, bizarro fiction is rathe...more
Gabriel
The First (?) of the Bizarro Starter Kits. In it we have some fantastic pieces, some gross pieces, some pretty horrific scenes, and - unfortunately - some pretty boring pieces. As an introduction to the genre, I'm not sure it works as well as it could. Yes, it does give a nice sense of the range of material that can be written and the styles that they are written in - not everything is humorous, in fact, most of the stories are not - but I would hope they would have chosen the best those subgenr...more
Kat
I'm cagey about saying I like Bizarro since it's a genre which includes some writers I absolutely love and some I just can't get into at all - in roughly equal proportions. I have been following the scene for years though and it keeps on throwing up writers I like so I'm happy to take a chance on an anthology like this.

I'm not going to rate the short stories which make up this anothlogy individually - I'll just say nothing was really stand out for me, but there was nothing terrible, either. Some...more
Patrick D'Orazio
You may not like bizarro. It may not be your cup of tea. I decided to read the two bizarro starter kits after having read a small dosage of it in a few other forms and wanted to be immersed in it, to really understand what it is all about. After reading both kits, I have decided that trying to extract a particular logic or style of writing from the various authors who participated in these books is a futile effort. Bizarro may not make sense on a traditional level of thinking, but I think the ma...more
Lloyd
Finally... My introduction to Bizarro Fiction.

If you love weird, non-linear, unconventional fiction, if you like to really dig around in the world of literature and find the things that are really just intelligent and "out there", then this is probably a part of what should be your introduction to BIZARRO: A genre that showcases all of these things.

I'd say that most of the works contained in these pages were smart and very enjoyable, but my stand-out favorites were the story "Classroom Dynamics"...more
Thinkingbandit
I really like this book. I think bizarro is the best thing to come out of the bookstores since splatterpunk. I recommend this to people who like weird fiction that is well-written and enjoyable to read. Every author has their own unique spin on the genre. Some write very bizarre horror fiction, others write absurd humor, others write irreal fantasy, but some of the best bizarro works combine all of these things. If you like weird fiction then you'll like this book. If you don't then there's no p...more
Velexia
Strange, Intriguing, Annoying... An entire plethora of tales in this book. Most of them are worth reading, though if you're like me you have to read the entire book despite how bad it gets at times.
Christy Stewart
This is a great collection and I was delighted with the pieces I was familiar with just as much as the ones I wasn't.
P.D.
Most bizarre story: Steve Beard's Survivor's Dream

Most enjoyable:
D Harlan Wilson's short stories.
Carlton Mellick III's Baby Jesus Butt Plug (worth it for the title alone)
Kevin L. Donihe's Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports
Andre Duza's Don't F(beep)k with the Coulereds
Vincent W. Sakowski's short stories (particularly It's beginning to look a lot like Ragnarok)
Bruce Taylar's short stories

Honorable Mention:
Gina Ranalli's Suicide Girls in the Afterlife (I don't normally like stories involving the ch...more
Emory
Bizarro is the genre of the weird. Inside the Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange), you will find a large sampling of the most entertaining, the strangest, quite possibly the most unique stories to ever see print. This book was my introduction to the genre, and it should be yours as well.

Featuring work by Carlton Mellick III, Gina Ranalli, Steve Beard, Andre Duza, Ray Fracalossy, John Edward Lawson, Vincent W. Sakowski, D. Harlan Wilson, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Kevin L. Donihe, and Bruce Taylor, the BS...more
Doug
I hoped The Bizarro Starter Kit would help me figure out if I'd like bizarro fiction, a genre self-defined by a loose collective of writers with a shared love of cult/trash cinema. It didn't. The Bizarro Starter Kit makes the case that there's too much going on for me to dismiss it, and too much going on for me to say that I "like" the genre as a whole. The starter kit includes stories and/or novellas by 10 writers, several of which, as far as I can tell, were previously published as stand-alone...more
NumberLord
Bizarro publishers combine forces to produce several starter kits. This kit (Orange) consists of work from the first wave (if such a term can be used for a genre that’s less than a decade old) of Bizarro authors.

D. Harlan Wilson – The collection starts with six short stories from Wilson. The first is a dark tale, while the rest reside on the light-hearted side. My favorite (being a professor) was “Classroom Dynamics,” in which Dr. Beebody is told to stop hugging his students. So he starts carry...more
Daniel Stafford
Wow…not only a fun romp through the absurd, but also a great introduction to a previously unknown (for me) genre.

So, imagine all of the great (and not-so-great) cult films influencing a generation of authors to do exactly what those movies did: shock, awe, and inspire a new way of looking at how you perceive a story.

Many of the authors in this collection admit to enjoying the visual works of David Lynch and the authorial extrapolations of Kafka.

I think while reading this collection, many readers...more
neko cam
I expected to like this collection more than I did, because I really enjoyed the first Bizarro novel I read some time ago and have since come to understand that several other short stories that I've enjoyed were, upon reflection, also somewhat Bizarro. Still, it seems that while I dig some styles of Bizarro others just don't do it for me at all. For instance, I greatly enjoyed Bruce Taylor's stories of magical realism.

Other stories that I'd rate highly include:
The Man in the Thick Black Spectacl...more
Kevin
Some of the authors in this anthology were recommended to me by someone I chatted about Chuck Palahniuk with at a bar.

I'm sorry but nearly all these stories flat-out sucked. I like to be shocked and titillated as much as the next guy (probably a lot more actually) but being 'controversial' and 'shocking' by attacking one of the easiest targets out there (religion, as in the abysmally stupid "Baby Jesus Buttplug") is just.. I dunno. Boring.

It's all downhill from there as the reader is treated to...more
Derek
The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange) is fucking brilliant at times, and utterly awful on occasion. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Obviously stories about baby jesus buttplugs or cockroach suits don't make for epic-level classic literature, but certainly that isn't what bizarro is aiming to do. This kit succeeds in doing what the subgenre does best: entertain and create wonder.

There were several stories in this block of short works that deserve praise, and, quite honestly, are some of the most...more
Bill Glover
Dec 17, 2008 Bill Glover rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers, artists, apostate clergy, corrupt politicians and news anchors
Shelves: bizarro, fiction
This introduction to Bizarro fiction is intentionally eclectic, so it's hard to say one thing about all of the stories. Some grabbed me more than others. Some didn't grab me at all. Most of the stories were angry, mocking, sarcastic and so seemed morbidly funny, transgressive and sometimes a little forced. Some of the stories were beautiful, many were ugly, but powerful. Some were weak and forced and disgusting without much to redeem them. You'll probably disagree with me on which ones were whic...more
Edkrak
Huge disappointment. The biggest problem of this compilation is lack of writing skills which range from level of mentally challenged child to mediocre at most. Some stories are absolutely unreadable and it's a disgrace there are people willing to publish something like that ("The Greatest Fucking Moments in Sports" for example). Pretty much the only story that I genuinely enjoyed was "The Baby Jesus Butt Plug" - it was so crazy and fucked up I couldn't stop reading. "Suicide Girls in the Afterli...more
Lady Ethereal Butterfly
"Suicide Girls in the Afterlife" and "Extinction Journals" were both very enjoyable for me. I'd say The Bizarro Starter Kit is worth reading for those two. The rest of the stories were very hit and miss for me. Some I couldn't get into at all as they were too strange for my personal reading tastes, but they may be perfect for other readers. I'd certainly recommend this book as a good place to start for readers looking to dip their toes in the waters of bizarro fiction since it offers a good vari...more
Andrew Powell
If love unconventional, absurd and bat-shit insane stories, I'm sure you're really going to love Bizarro fiction. Bizarro fiction is called "The literature equivalent of the cult film section at a cool video store" and that's the best way to describe this genre. Each of the stories included in this anthology are funny, surreal and off the wall in the best way possible. "The Bizarro Starter Kit" is the perfect introduction for adventurous readers who want something weird and strange in their lite...more
Patrick
There were some really interesting aspects of this book, a collection of a bunch of short novels and short stories, but in the end, I don't think bizarro is for me. I never actively "quit" reading this one, but just sort of wandered off and didn't come back. Perhaps the format of all these short, totally crazy stories just allowed me to do so. Nothing against the authors, it's just...well, it would be a lot more fun as performance art than as words on paper.
Johnny Broadway
Only recently read this. It wasn't available on Kindle, so it took me a long time to order it since I live outside of the USA at the moment, and shipping is slow and expensive.

Very good. I wish I read this before I tried to write any Bizarro fiction on my own. I read a bunch of novellas first, but the starter kit is essential for truly understanding the boundaries and limits (or lack thereof) of the genre.

Highly recommend.
Meg
If I had had no prior experience with the Bizarro genre, this book would have been a wonderful introduction to all of its nooks, crannies, and general quirks. Since I've had the pleasure of reading several Bizarro books this just furthered my knowledge and enjoyment. Several authors are represented with a good mix of stories from each of them. I highly recommend it, whether as a crash course or because you can't get enough.
Zac
incredible so far - favorite so far, and BY far is Extinction Journals

---ok, so finished awhile ago. it's a collection, so some were good and some god-awful. was bummed that the ones I liked were all basically readers digest versions of full novels: I'd have liked to have read the full novels without knowing the conclusions. If you like short reads, this a good one to pick up whenever, read a short, and put back down.
Thomas McAuley
Though not every story in this premier Bizarro collection is a hit, it does effectively serve as a successful introduction to the still-young genre. And there ARE a number of the dozen or so stories that are worth reading on their own merits. There's certainly enough here to spur a curious reader in to seeking out more work of a similar style.
Steven Rage
Covering a wide range of Bizarro styles and the writers that inflict them, these Starter kits introduce the new reader to the genre in fine form. Where the strange is commonplace and the surreal is everyday, Bizarro is where the edge of print lies. CM3's "Baby Jesus Butt Plug" stands out.
David
I had a lot of fun reading this volume. There's a lot of interesting and thought provoking writing in here, and it certainly has to be a good glimpse into the lit style as a whole. There were some I dug more than others, but I dug all of them in one way or another.
Chris
This is a good introduction to the bizarro genre. Although, I don't think the shorter stories were as good as the longer ones. Of the authors featured, my favorites were Mellick, Johnson, Donihe, Ranalli, and Duza.
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
Finished up last night. There were some great stories in here and some mediocre ones. My favorite 2 are Carlton Mellick's Baby Jesus Butt Plug and Gina Ranalli's Suicide Girls in the AfterLife.
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Carlton Mellick III (July 2, 1977, Phoenix, Arizona) is an American author currently residing in Portland, Oregon. He calls his style of writing "avant-punk," and is currently one of the leading authors in the recent 'Bizarro' movement in underground literature[citation needed] with Steve Aylett, Chris Genoa and D. Harlan Wilson.

Mellick's work has been described as a combination of trashy schlock...more
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