Caris's Reviews > The Bizarro Starter Kit

The Bizarro Starter Kit by Carlton Mellick III
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Aug 16, 10

bookshelves: bizarro, 2010
Read from July 31 to August 16, 2010

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 rather complex. It has its roots in weird (think: Kafka and William S. Burroughs), but, I've read, isn't just weird for weird's sake. Very few people would want to read an incoherent list of strange plot points. Bizarro fiction is the literary equivalent of the B-movie. It's campy. It's violent. And, when done right, it's gratuitous in every way imaginable.

This was my second time reading bizarro (my first was the gutwrenchingly enjoyable Cows ), and that's a good thing. If I'd started with this, there may have never been another attempt. It's not really the book's fault. It is what it is. The problem lies in the fact that its a short story collection. I don't like short story collections.

They're like gas station lottery scratchers. If I were to buy one, I'd spend a lot of time on it. Every bit of gray would be scraped away before I even thought about seeing if I'd won anything. However, if I were to buy five at one time, I'd scratch like a maniac, barely uncovering my losing symbols before dropping the thing on the floor of my car. Having so many in hand suggests to me that the next one will be better than what is in front of me at the moment. If I had a single ticket, I'd be ecstatic about winning a single dollar, but if I had five, I wouldn't blink an eye at winning ten. A novel is perfect because it requires me to stay present and doesn't allow me to jump ahead to something better. With a collection such as this one, I speed through the stories and convince myself that the ones I kind of enjoy aren't as good as what I haven't read yet. This is a terrible way for me to read.

But let's focus on the good, because, oddly, I don't feel like complaining. Kevin Donihe's The Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports was, hands down, my absolute favorite. I'm not going to say what happens, but, I can assure you, it really is the greatest fucking moment in sports. And Jeremy Robert Johnson's Extinction Journals, in which a fellow makes a suit out of cockroaches to survive nuclear holocaust, was pretty darned entertaining. And everything by Bruce Taylor was memorable, as he writes like Bukowski, which is, as we all know, a really, really good thing.

Whether surprisingly decent or awful, each of these stories features unconventional acts of imagination. And I really like that. It's the same feeling I get when I watch Alien Apocalypse or Drag Me To Hell. They're just a good time.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! No complaining? Are you ill?

Also, this, "There were also some that were sci-fi, which is, as we all know, a really, really bad thing." A-hole!


message 2: by Matt (new)

Matt I haven't read this one, but do you have the Blue Kit? Mykle Hanson's contribution to that one is pretty great, and Steve Aylett's prose is mind boggling.

Congratulations on the book deal!


Caris Eh! Bridge-Humper wrote: "No complaining? Are you ill?

Also, this, "There were also some that were sci-fi, which is, as we all know, a really, really bad thing." A-hole!"


Eh!-hole!


tadpole wrote: "I haven't read this one, but do you have the Blue Kit? Mykle Hanson's contribution to that one is pretty great, and Steve Aylett's prose is mind boggling.

Congratulations on the book deal!"


Thanks! It's my NaNoWriMo novel, if you can believe that.

I haven't got the blue one. I'll have to check out Hanson's stuff. I've been wanting to read Help! A Bear is Eating Me! I need to read up on Aylett, too. I'll probably be meeting alot of these folks in November, so I'd like to have read their stuff before them. Thanks for the suggestions.


message 4: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! I'll probably be meeting alot of these folks in November

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


message 5: by D. (new)

D. Pow I thought this book was about my all-time favorite Superman Villain 'me love lois lane', but no such luck.

Still, the typical stellar review from Mr. Where The Wild Things Are.


message 6: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine I second the mykle hanson thing definitely help a bear is eating me I didn't like the raging fuckers one nearly as much.

you should also look at zerostrata by andersen prunty if you like bizarro it is a really fun book.


Caris Ha. Thanks, D.

Thanks for the recommendations, Jasmine. I'll be sure to check those out.


Caris Eh! Bridge-Humper wrote: "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Yeah, pretty cool. A bit nerve-wracking, though.


message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael Corngranulations on the book deal! That's awesome.


Caris Thanks!


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