I've never read those pulp stories of yore. Or stories about teddy bears for that matter. So this book was a first for me. In several ways.
In this bo...moreI've never read those pulp stories of yore. Or stories about teddy bears for that matter. So this book was a first for me. In several ways.
In this book, we have five stories detailing Jimmy Plush's adventures with furries, zombies, and giant mob bosses. Stories which form an increasing sequence of weirdness, culminating in the final story (Jimmy Plush in the Tomb of the Martian Pharaoh) in which Jimmy, his chauffeur Chang, a flamboyant Spaniard, and a Frenchman get drunk on turtle urine and end up being swallowed by a giant mob boss named Townsquare Vanzetti.
Cheers for the wise-cracking stuffed detective and his devotion to duty.
Jeers for his nasty tendency to pour hot coffee on his ass-kicking chauffeur. Naughty teddy! (less)
Starfish Girl is the Bizarro Literary equivalent of Kip Addatto’s “Wet Dream.” (If you’ve never heard it, you’re missing out: http://www.youtube.com/w...moreStarfish Girl is the Bizarro Literary equivalent of Kip Addatto’s “Wet Dream.” (If you’ve never heard it, you’re missing out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEZG14....) A yellow algae causes humans to transform into sea-mutants. Ohime, a girl with a starfish on her head (and at least some of the attributes of starfishes, like regenerating limbs), tries to find the good people left in the dome under the sea. One person that she’s convinced is one of the “good ones” is ex-assassin Timbre. Ohime follows Timbre as they both run from the evil Dr. Ichii. (The doctor offers the dome residents special implants to assist with survival. But the implants have a costly price.) Eventually Timbre starts to follow Ohime, who sets out on a quest to liberate the good people from the dome.
The interesting backdrop of this story doesn’t get sketched out enough, unfortunately, but the characters at the heart of the story do. If you want a story populated by fish-oriented mutants, this one’s for you. If you want a post-apocalyptic tale with a feminine touch, read this story. If you want a story in which the sentence “She whipped her tentacles away from his fingers, decapitating the dead lobster-dog and its body fell from the ceiling fan” makes sense, check this out! (less)
Upon finishing the first chapter of RSWFKY--in which Rico deals with an annoying passenger on a flight by ripping out her throat (don't worry, he comf...moreUpon finishing the first chapter of RSWFKY--in which Rico deals with an annoying passenger on a flight by ripping out her throat (don't worry, he comforts her with a peck on the cheek), then throws a would-be hijacker out of the plane, and finally parachutes down to Disney World--I began to suspect that this was no ordinary tale. After finishing the remaining 49 chapters, my suspicion was confirmed.
Imagine if the action hero played by Arnold Schwarzenegger (in that movie with the guns, explosions, and killing) had, as a child, been raised by Philip K. Dick and Bjork, whilst living next door to Chucks Palahniuk and Norris. The result just might be Rico Slade. Or Chip Johnson, the balding actor who plays Rico Slade. Or who maybe is Rico Slade.
The unbridled testosterone in this (sadly too short!) story is an intoxicating blend of bling (with apologies to African American golfers) and bizarro. You need to read this book. Yes, that's right: you. Or else Rico Slade might rip out your throat. (less)
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...moreBizarro 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 carrying weapons to class. Hilarity (or the Bizarro equivalent) ensues. Carleton Mellick III – Based on the title of this novella, one might think that “The Baby Jesus Butt Plug” is about a baby Jesus being used as a sex toy. In fact, the story is about, well, actually, yeah, that’s what the story is about. Although the title makes the story sound like a cheap attempt at being edgy, Mellick does have some interesting social commentary floating in this story. Jeremy Robert Johnson – “Extinction Journals” is a post-apocalyptic tale about a man who survives nuclear war (and eventually finds love) by wearing a suit made of cockroaches. Kevin L. Donihe – Imagine a bicycle race in which one of the riders is the Black Knight. This is Donihe’s “The Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports.” (And when I say the black knight, I mean the one from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.) Gina Ranalli – Ranalli’s “Suicide Girls in the Afterlife” is probably the most normal tale in this collection. (Is that an insult for a bizarro writer?) It’s a fun tale of one Pogue Eldridge’s first few hours after dying. Andre Duza – “Don’t F(beep)k With the Coloureds” tells the true story about animated characters in exactly the way that Who Framed Roger Rabbit didn’t. Vincent W. Sakowski – Sakowski’s contribution is two short stories (“The Screaming of the Fish” and “Peel and Eat Buffet,” which can be found online) and the novella “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Ragnarok.” In the novella, a married couple are given the chance to survive Armageddon, as long as they don’t kill each other—and even if they do. Steve Beard – “Survivor’s Dream” is a (challenging) tale of Dead Girl’s near-death experience. John Edward Lawson – “Truth in Ruins” is another post-apocalyptic tale; this one involving much more disturbing characters than Johnson’s “Extinction Journals.” Bruce Taylor – Several short stories from Taylor finish off this collection: “The Breath Amidst the Stones,” “A Little Spider Shop Talk,” “Of Tunafish and Galaxies,” and “City Streets.” The stories involve talking walls, spiders, and stoves; in other words, typical Bizarro.
If you want to get a good feel for the world of Bizarro literature, this is a good place to start.(less)
You know how you hear about a book being good, and you think it can't really be THAT good? (I ran into this with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) Oka...moreYou know how you hear about a book being good, and you think it can't really be THAT good? (I ran into this with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) Okay, well, Muscle Memory falls into this category. I heard that it was good. But was it really THAT good? So I read it; and, yes, it was really THAT good. An easy five stars--although I would have given it 73 if that was an option. (And ignore the fact that Steve Lowe only gave it three stars; he doesn't know what he's talking about.)
If you've read the summary, then you know it involves Billy Gillespie switching bodies with his wife. I won't expand on that, because the events are more fun if you read them without knowing what's coming. So I won't say anything about Edgar.
And while this book is classified as Bizarro Lit, it really lies on the edge, in the sense that, other than the body-switching, this story is almost as normal as can be. The characters react in reasonable ways. (Hopefully the author won't get kicked out of the Bizarro Club for that.) And, since it is classified as Bizarro, it has to satisfy the rule of being under 100 pages. (Okay, not technically a rule, but Bizarro authors seem to write stories like Matthew Sweet writes songs.) And even though the ending leaves many questions unanswered, it still seems hauntingly perfect. But, if you want to continue the story, the sequel starts HERE on Steve Lowe's website.(less)
Based on the description of Bucket of Face, I suspected that this would be a straight-up bizarro tale, with none of that pretentious intellectual nons...moreBased on the description of Bucket of Face, I suspected that this would be a straight-up bizarro tale, with none of that pretentious intellectual nonsense that always seems to pop up in literature. Which is fine with me: if God had wanted me to think, He would have made me intelligent enough to finish this analogy. But Hendrixson fooled us. The bastard went and wrote a story with intelligence and bizarrousity. Fundamentally, it’s a noir tale, in a similar vein as Garrett Cook’s Jimmy Plush Teddy Bear Detective. In a world where fruit have become sentient (due to a mishap during a raid on a suspected child molester--don’t worry, that bit of WTFery becomes clear by the end), Charles witnesses a shootout between an apple and a banana at the donut shop where he works. After the two fruit knock each other off, Charles confiscates the briefcase and bucket they were fighting over. He gets harassed by a couple of cops, but manages to get them out of the shop so he can clean up and make some apple-filled donuts. Charles and his kiwi girlfriend Sarah then try to figure out why the bucket and briefcase are so important. What are the contents of the bucket and briefcase? (Well, you can look at the book title for part of the answer.) Enter Roma, the hit-tomato with a Michael Jackson fetish. He searches for the briefcase, chasing Charles and Sarah until the story brings everything together in a climax of Shakespearean fruit salad. In addition to the adventure and excitement, the ending was far more touching than any book involving talking fruit should contain. Hendrixson’s tale is full of action, romance, clever puns, and probably vitamin C. This is only the second of the current batch of the New Bizarro Author Series that I’ve read, but both have been terrific—kudos to Eraserhead. And kudos to the Michael Jackson of Bizarro Lit: Eric Hendrixson. (less)
Imagine two copies of Ignatius J. Reilly, minus the arrogance, but infected with malapropism. This is Grundish and Askew, two best friends with one wa...moreImagine two copies of Ignatius J. Reilly, minus the arrogance, but infected with malapropism. This is Grundish and Askew, two best friends with one want and one don’t want. Their “want” is simple: they want to run a marijuana-dispensing brothel in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the US. Their “don’t want” is also simple: they don’t want to end up in jail. Anything--including an untimely death--but that. They hook up with Askew’s great aunt Turleen, and then spend some time in the Buttwynn residence. Why? Because the Buttwynns are on vacation, their house is empty, and it’s the perfect set-up for the “Turd Burglar”. But then Mr. Buttwynn returns early and some hell breaks loose. Grundish, Askew, Turleen, and a teen hooker go on the lamb [sick], ultimately making their final stand at Jerry Mathers’ Foreign Car Parts and Service. The tale features the kind of absurd situations that pop up in Bizarro Lit (albeit somewhat subdued—which I suspect is the first time that word has ever been applied to anything Carbuncle has ever written) and the occasional surreal characters that you find in Christopher Moore’s work. In addition to the weird plot lines, this book has probably the best set of footnotes in literary history. For example, cures for internal hemorrhoids, funny porno names, the world record for the loudest burp, and made-up words like muddlement and droopage. Has there ever been a book review asking for MORE footnotes? Well, there is now. More footnotes, please! (less)
This is a collection of flash fiction (and some other stuff, but mostly not) from the unbounded mind of Bradley Sands. Some stand...moreMy rating: 3.86 stars
This is a collection of flash fiction (and some other stuff, but mostly not) from the unbounded mind of Bradley Sands. Some standouts:
Seth Schultz - in which Seth Schultz ruins an orgy by wearing a bear costume and ripping someone's throat out.
Refrain - in which Sands goes to great length to explain how the story did not happen.
The Attic - where dad's backup family lives.
A Suicidal Amputee Tries to Kill Himself by Rolling Off His Bed, Down the Stairs, Through the Screen Door, and Into Traffic; Some Dominican Kids Poke Him with Sticks Too, and an Eagle Shits on Him - in which an amputee's left and right limbs battle for control.
Cormac McCarthy - in which Sands one-ups McCarthy and does away with even more rules of grammar.
The Detective - who helps a man locate his lost TV remote.
Gathered in Nerdy Congress - in which Congress can't stop playing Wii.
Scenes from the Life of a Greeting Card Designer - in which we find out what life is almost certainly like for designers of greeting cards. (And the story in which this literary gem resides: "He wants to visit Fort Knox and rub his testicles over every gold bar in the treasury.")
One of Those Poorly Written Stories That Are Impossible to Follow Because There Are Too Many Goddamn Characters - which sounds like a literary critique of the work of Greg Bear, but maybe I'm reading more into that than I should.
If you're a fan of bizarro flash fiction, then you can't miss with this collection. One warning though: all of the rumors about this book are true. It really is nothing like Tucker Max, and there just isn't a trace of fratire to be found here. If you can get past that glaring shortcoming, then you may be able to enjoy yourself.
This is a collection of short stories and poetry from Garrett Cook drizzled with religious imagery and themes. The standout tale is "The Torments and...moreThis is a collection of short stories and poetry from Garrett Cook drizzled with religious imagery and themes. The standout tale is "The Torments and Indignities Suffered by Job During His Tenure at the Hello Kitty Factory." Pure bizarro fun! Just before that is "Assorted Salesmen at the Birth of the Antichrist," a gathering of quips from five salesmen regarding, well, the birth of the Antichrist. I would have liked to have read some more--they were pretty funny. On the other side of Job's story is "Coathanger," which is a rather deep story, and coming right after such a funny story it gave me a touch of literary whiplash. The final tale in the collection is "Along the Crease," a love story of sorts. It's the flip side of the coin in Vincent Sakowski's bizarro tale, "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Ragnarok." Although Cook's material is solidly bizarro, there's always been something additional that I could never quite put my finger on, but finally figured out after reading another review (so I'm totally ripping off Matthew Vaughn's review here): the human feel. This is especially true in the final story. (less)
David Barbee is a National Treasure, which is to say, he is an action-packed thriller starring Nicolas Cage. In Carnageland, we follow the exploits of...moreDavid Barbee is a National Treasure, which is to say, he is an action-packed thriller starring Nicolas Cage. In Carnageland, we follow the exploits of Invader 898 as he takes over a planet of hypersexualized fantasy characters from our childhood (like Rapunzel and Peter Pan). And with his Doomshooter (the equivalent of Green Lantern's ring), nothing can stand in his way. In fact, the only challenge he really faces is keeping the green flap of skin between his legs from becoming erect and sounding off like a trumpet. I suspect that flap is symbolic of something.
Speaking of symbolism, as a math professor, it is my job to highlight some of the key symbolism in this tale. (Actually, that's not true: as a math professor it is my job to make fun of English professors who look for key symbolism; but let's ignore that.) The goals of conquest put forward by Inpire Inc. are symbolic of the imperialism of Western Civilization. The struggle of 898 to control his skin flap while trying to eradicate fairy tale creatures is clearly symbolic of a child growing up and getting rid of the trappings of childhood while trying to figure out what in the world is going on between their legs. The pornoconomy is symbolic of pornography, because sometimes symbolism doesn't have to be at all subtle. And the Ninjabreadman is symbolic of Geddy Lee, because anything that awesome can only be symbolic of Geddy Lee.
All-in-all, a fun, deprived tale. Unfortunately, a little short--but there's a sequel at David Barbee's website, and it can be conquered for free.(less)
"Write what you know." Ancient writers' wisdom "I can do that." Steve Lowe
According to best-selling not-as-funny-as-Steve-Lowe author Suzanne Collins,...more"Write what you know." Ancient writers' wisdom "I can do that." Steve Lowe
According to best-selling not-as-funny-as-Steve-Lowe author Suzanne Collins, the idea for The Hunger Games came from watching war images and reality tv. Lowe had the same experience and came up with almost the same idea: King of the Perverts. The story of Dennis Porter, a man down on his luck, who joins an internet reality show sexcathalon. (Maybe instead of seeing war images, he was watching The Aristocrats.) Does Dennis have what it takes to perform the necessary deeds? The Abraham Lincoln? The Angry Pirate? (By the way, there's a variation of Angry Birds, called Angry Pirates: http://www.physicsgames.net/game/Angr... . You're never too old to learn something new.) The Dirty Sanchez? The Pulsating Pineapple? The Twisted Pipecleaner? (Okay, I may have made some of these up. Or did I?) Needless to say, this is not a book for the youngins. But if you like your humor like your coffee (dirty and bizarro funny), then join the competition. (less)
In the introduction to this collection of short stories, Jason Wuchenich refers to Jonathan Moon’s writing as “bizarro-silly-gore.” That’s a decent en...moreIn the introduction to this collection of short stories, Jason Wuchenich refers to Jonathan Moon’s writing as “bizarro-silly-gore.” That’s a decent enough term, as each tale involves at least one of those, and sometimes all three. Moon’s stories involve grotesquery painted by the kind of phenomenal writing that just won’t let you look away.
“Everyone gets their chance to pass the tangled wreckage. One eye on the road and one on disaster.”
The collection contains flash fiction, zombies, and straight-up horror. The standouts (with some indication of the ingredients-- Bizarro, Silliness, and/or Gore):
Poisoned Meat (G): A tale of life in zombieland Roadside Crosses (BsG): Wade is dead and Susan isn’t. And Wade is determined to do something about it. Conversing Doctor DeFeo (BG): A fantastically written horror tale with some zombieness Corpse Eater (bG): Marty learns the truth about the county morgue All That Glimmers Isn’t Copper (G): The best tale in the collection. You could put this story in any collection of Stephen King’s, and it would feel right at home. So Proudly They Crawl (BG): A conglomeration of zombies, Nazis, and mayhem!
This is probably my fourth favorite coloring book ever. My only complaint is that the pictures had too much blood: I went through four red crayons bef...moreThis is probably my fourth favorite coloring book ever. My only complaint is that the pictures had too much blood: I went through four red crayons before I was done with the book.(less)
Another collection of bizarro tales to warp your fragile mind. Let's take a look at the book’s innards.
The Ballad of Billy the Squid - The first line...moreAnother collection of bizarro tales to warp your fragile mind. Let's take a look at the book’s innards.
The Ballad of Billy the Squid - The first line sets the scene: "Scott Plammer had an octopus for a head." Since we're dealing in bizarro, you know that that line means exactly what it says. What does a man with an octopus for a head do with his life? You guessed it: move to Japan and star in tentacle porn videos. And deal his special brand of vengeance upon evil-doers.
I Think I'm in Love (Or, The Stranger in the Stall) - There's an old song about looking for love in all the wrong places. Now there's a story about looking for (and finding!) love in the bathroom stall. Music by Eddie Money.
A Hand Walks into the Bar - It's amazing how many bizarro noir tales there are out there. This one stars the disembodied hand of Caligula Zigguroth, trying to find its owner.
Princess Di's Mercedes and the Dead Man's ASL Chimp - A whacked-out tale of conspiracy theory, complete with an obsessive Three's Company fan ("Original Formula. Ropers. Norman Fell, motherfucker!") who almost meets his finale at the hands of sign-language ninja chimp ("Oh Jesus Christ. I'm gonna git the fuckin' AIDS from a ninja monkey throwing star!").
The Apple of My iPhone - What happens when a phone gets too attached to its owner? Things get Siri-ous! (See what iDid there?)
Life Cycle - A brilliantly written allegory on the cycle of human society. Freaky, but deep.
The Legend of a Ho Named Walrus Sounds - The story of Walrus Sounds, the outcast girl who would lead Walruskind to the top of the food chain.
Walkin' After Midnight - Want out of this time loop? Bring me the severed heads of the following five people.
Clear Skies Today, God Willing – Look, up in the sky! It’s the latest thing!
The Interstellar Quest for Snack Cakes – In the future, how will humans make their mark on interstellar commerce? By dealing in Ho Hos. The key line in this tale: “Men who dig blue women have what’s called Kirk-Cameron Syndrome.”
365 Yesterdays – Want to save the world? Just say no to hot dogs and hamburgers.
Necrocandy – Do you wish your girlfriend was this sweet?
The Free Monster – “The Free Monster originates from our innermost ancient desires.” And the price is just right!
Bread Alone – The adventures of Billy of the Sandwich Corps in the Antarctica.
Laser Tits – Take the top two ingredients of sci-fi movies and what do you get? The Bizarro version of Game of Thrones, perhaps. (less)
TV Snorted My Brain is the latest literary offering from Bradley Sands. For those not familiar with the scene, Sands is the Randolph Mantooth of Bizar...moreTV Snorted My Brain is the latest literary offering from Bradley Sands. For those not familiar with the scene, Sands is the Randolph Mantooth of Bizarro Lit. And what could be more Randolph Mantoothy than a retelling of the King Arthur legend, set in the world of TV Land? (Actually, a good bizarro tale involving firemen would probably be pretty Mantoothy too.)
“My mortal enemies are the rules that govern society.”
Our protagonist is Artie Pendragon, a teen wanna-be anarchist--like a slightly mature Tucker Max. He has to put up with a widowed mom, an ex-wrestler uncle, and an annoying younger sister.
“Extra hot mustard is not very anarchist. Extra hot mustard is the tool the overlords use to keep down the proletarians. It is what they threaten us with whenever we speak our mind.”
But upon finding that he (and he alone) can work the Excalibur 3000 to change TV channels, his life begins to change.
“He who worketh this remote control is the true king of all TV Land.”
He and his family end up in TV Land. And he’s king. Isn’t it good to be king?
“Homeless people smell really bad. I believe smelling really bad is the most anarchist scent in the universe. The second most anarchist scent in the universe is Obsession for Men.”
Not with his family, it isn’t. But once in TV Land, he meets up with magical Merlin, pretty Gwen, stylish Lance, and Gawain, one of those observation-based comedians.
“Why do zombies always want to eat people’s brains.? Brains must taste awful. If I were a zombie, I’d yell ‘General Tso’s Chiiicken!’ while I attacked people. That stuff is delicious.”
And what happens? Things get weird. Because that’s what happens in Bizarro. And it’s what happens in a Bradley Sands book. Go on, read it. Because reading Bizarro is totally anarchist! (less)