If anyone has seen me on Facebook you’ll notice that I read a lot of crazy shit. I promote a lot of authors, websites, and even t-shirt designers. I get absolutely dick in return and a lot of people are scratching their heads trying to figure out why I would do this. A lot of what I read and even wear are from indie companies. These guys put out high quality shit and do so because they, like me love a certain genre of fiction. I had no idea when I stumbled onto the bizarro genre that there were so many cool people involved. I don’t just mean the fans I mean the authors themselves.The writers that create these books are by far some of the coolest people I have ever encountered so it makes sense that I would read their books and promote them. If you like something why the fuck wouldn’t you support it? To answer the question I don’t do this to get free shit. I do it so more people will discover it and become fans.
How did I discover bizarro anyway? It was actually by accident. Three years ago I had just gotten a tablet and loaded up the Kindle app but had nothing to read so I went searching for free books just to see if I would like the digital format. I found this website that threw out free titles and lo and behold I saw Bradley Sands’ Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy and figured it was free so why not check it out. As I began reading something just clicked. This was some really absurd shit and I loved it. I think at the time I was looking for something new anyway and this just fit somehow. From there I read They Had Goat Heads By D. Harlan Wilson and this was even more bizarre and absurd but at that point I was hooked and knew that I had found a genre that fit my personality. I was growing bored with a lot of what I was reading at that point and bizarro fiction made reading fun again. That was something that had been missing for a long time.
I think everyone reaches that point where they grow tired of playing it safe, they grow tired of reading the same authors over and over. A lot of the mainstream writers I had once supported weren’t really doing anything interesting anymore. Horror had gone underground and Stephen King was no longer writing anything decent. I had no idea that Kurt Vonnegut wrote bizarro and who knows, maybe that was the beginning for me. When I read Breakfast Of Champions I can see the influence that Vonnegut had on the bizarro genre and it stands up pretty well next to The Traveling Dildo Salesman. I didn’t see the disconnect I was encountering with mainstream fiction and when it happened I was quite surprised by it. When I got my first tablet the Kindle opened up a variety of possibilities and I no longer had to play it safe. The e-books were much cheaper too so I was suddenly able to discover even more authors.
Bizarro about breaking the rules and being different. When I first discovered bizarro my wife and I had just separated and I was totally lost. I didn’t know who I was and bizarro was a good release for all the confusion I was facing. When you’ve been married for thirteen years and find yourself single and living alone it really messes with your head. I had no idea who I was, and I was broken. It was a time of transition and I wasn’t even sure how I was going to make it on my own. I never had to but being a single guy wasn’t something I was adapting too as easily or as quickly as I had hoped. When a relationship breaks up does anyone ever recover quickly? I needed a distraction or at the very least something that I could call my own.
The splatterpunk genre was a natural progression for me. I cut my teeth on classic horror so when I discovered that there was something harder and edgier out there I was in. I read The Light At The End when I was younger but I didn’t realize how important that book was. I have it on my Kindle because I can’t remember what it was about. Richard Laymon was the true intro to splatterpunk and The Stake is still a book I still have mad respect for because at that time I was still into traditional horror. When I discovered bizarro I also delved into the splatterpunk genre. I was able to buy more books and scour the net for clues on what splatterpunk was and to see what I had missed out on. Keep in mind that a lot of these books were out of print so I was clutching at straws and hoping that I could find some of these books. I also discovered new guys like Shane McKenzie and Wrath James White. These were writers that were in a class all their own. These books were all about pushing the envelope as far as it would go and sometimes it was totally destroyed.
The thing I love about splatterpunk is that these are stories based on shit that could actually happen to you. The monsters weren’t made up, they were your neighbors or even your husband. You could be in the woods being hunted by some psycho crazed hillbillies. They made their monsters human and that changed the landscape of horror. Sure, it was violent and even graphic but these were the darker sides of human nature that I couldn’t explore on my own. I could but I would have to be a total whack job to do so. This past year has seen a massive influx of great titles as well as great publishers. I have finally gotten a collection that I’m quite proud of and thanks to Facebook and the internet I can find the titles I want without getting dressed.
Lastly, I was thinking about this the other day and I realized that if I had still been married would I have rediscovered splatterpunk or even discovered bizarro fiction? The answer is probably not. Every marriage is a democracy and remember it was the tablet that got all this rolling so I doubt very much that she would have allowed me to get a tablet because I wasn’t working and she was. We had three kids and a tablet isn’t something that a wife would allow her husband to buy when you have all these other expenses. On top of that I have spent a lot of money on books. When my house caught fire I had always wanted to have a book collection I could be proud of and I have done exactly that. I have hit every Goodwill I can, every thrift store and have even supported a Kickstarter campaign just to beef up my collection. I work my ass off and buy books. It could be smack or heroin.
So I guess to close this out I should throw out some links so you can explore these genres on your own. I can’t list all the publishers I support but hit up amazon and type in Bizarro fiction and that will get you started.
Jordan Krall, Jimmy Pudge, Danger Slater, Cameron Pierce, http://www.strangehousebooks.com, Rooster Republic Press, Eraserhead Press, Carlton Mellick III, CV Hunt, Anderson Prunty, Vincenzo Bilof, Dynatox Ministries which specializes in limited edition chapbooks, Grindhouse Press
Splatterpunk Authors and publishers
Deadite Press, Dark Regions Press, Wrath James White, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Morbid Books, Charlee Jacob, Shane McKenzie, Brian Keene, and again for splatterpunk titles just go into Amazon and type in either splatterpunk or extreme horror, and you should also look up William Malmborg and Brian Smith.
This is why people no longer ask what I’m reading. You never know but at least when you do ask I’ll have something interesting to talk about.