The Bizarro Starter Kit (Blue) Paperback – Dec 18 2007
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From the Inside Flap
"The Bizarro literary movement is the ultimate in outsider lit." - 3AM Magazine
"[Bizarro is] universally intriguing, thoughtful, intelligent and, most importantly, a hell of a lot of fun." - The Pedestal Magazine
"The literary equivalent of a David Lynch or Tim Burton film ... These stories offer a glimpse into a rising genre that functions like the cult movie section in your local video store." - Horror World
Even though the Bizarros are underground cult outsiders, they still have gained an incredible amount of respect in the publishing industry, having been praised by the likes of Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, William Gibson, Alan Moore, Piers Anthony, Cory Doctorow, and Charles de Lint, to name a few, as well as the publications Asimov's Science-fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science-fiction, Cemetery Dance, Fangoria, Wizard Magazine, Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Face, among many others. They have also been finalists for the Philip K Dick Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Rhysling Award, the Wonderland Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize.
Bizarro isn't just weird fiction, it is damn good weird fiction, and the genre grows exponentially every single day, so, love it or hate it, you'll be seeing a lot more of it in the years to come.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is probably one if the best introductions to bizarro you can get. With authors like Jordan Krall, Bradley Sands, and Jeremy C. Shipp... this is a great gateway high into the surreal world of altered states that is bizarro literature. As Lou Reed once said "Take a walk on the wild side."
Introduction or What is this Book?
The first "Bizarro Start Kit" (colored orange) was an instrumental book in introducing bizarro to a wider audience. Combining eight of the top bizarro writers into one volume, it was responsible for hooking many readers (this reviewer included) on these strange new authors. This year, Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Press, and Afterbith Books have combined forces yet again to give us "The Bizarro Start (blue)."
This time we have ten different authors contributing novellas and short stories for our reading pleasure. Due to the nature of this book, let's look at each writer individually.
Fracalossy starts off the volume with twelve short shorts characterized by word-play and a strong sense of fun. These stories start the book off right, getting the reader into a strange and logically-loopy frame of mind. "A Body in Motion" is the stand-out piece in which a man's body rebels in some rather creative manners.
Jeremy C. Shipp
"Flapjack" is a novella about two men in a prison with one recounting the strange tale of how he got there. The story floats along with dream-like logic as Shipp creates new language and cultural customs. The main-character narrates with a sense of innocence and an ever present shadow of darkness. Tim Burton would be right at home directing an adaptation of this story.
Krall contributes "The Longheads," the middle novella from his collection "Squid Pulp Blues." The Longheads from the title are disfigured war vets that have some sinister plans for a small town. Meant to be read as a middle piece between two related novellas, "The Longheads" feels underdeveloped on its own. While Krall is a strong writer, one wishes he had submitted something more stand-alone appropriate for this collection.
"Monster C*cks!" is the attention grabbing title to this contribution. It is a novella about a man who gets much more than he bargained for from a penis-enlargement system that actually works. Hansen tells a funny and thrilling story that in the hands of a lesser writer would just be juvenile. Instead, the reader receives an engaging tale that gets inside the head, and pants, of the main character.
Shell is a sort-of bounty hunter, hired by The Rotting Man to go to Hollow City and bring back a woman named Pearl. So begins the surreal/horror/noir novella "The Devastated Insides of Hollow City." Prunty has a talent for writing dark and enthralling tales and this is no exception. For horror fans, this is the stand-out piece of the collection.
"Nin and Nan" is the exceptionally strange offering from Gerdes. Nin and Nan live on top of a hill and when billboards and roads start to impede upon their space they are forced to take action. From there, they embark on a journey that takes them to the very top powers of the government. Those crazing the extremely bizarre will be sated with this story.
"Cheesequake Smash-Up" is the story of a place where buildings have the ability to levitate. To determine which fast-food franchise will monopolize the market, a race is being held with the structures themselves being used as vehicles. Sands has created a tale even weirder than the previous two sentences suggest. He easily wins the award for strangest, balls-to-the-wall weirdo-fest.
"Shamanspace" is the meta-physical offering that Aylett gives us. Dealing with the role of history, books, and self it is a complex and dense tale. Including a brief history of the story's world and a fictional bibliography, this is the most experimental story of the collection.
"The Order of Operations" is the story of several people whose lives intersect around a common payphone. In a book filled with outlandish concepts, Tebordo's story stands out as it is mostly based in reality. Where it is unique is in its presentation, skipping back and forth between several perspectives. This one is for the more literary-minded readers.
Rauch finishes the collection with seven short stories. The reoccurring theme of his pieces is how the average person is suppressed and crushed by the weight of the world. Of course, this is told via miniature people in ant costumes and cranium enlargement. This selection of stories is a thoughtful final contribution to the book.
One could call this the second generation of Bizarro writers. They are a group of writers that are influenced by many authors contained in the first starter kit. What is most exciting is these authors, while influenced by, are not rip-offs of the first line of writers. Each of the eight authors contained within stand on their own as writers. With the shear amount of variety present here, any fan of weird fiction will find something they can love.
"Bizarro Starter Kit (Blue)" has a different but humerous style of writing. With more than ten stories to choose from it's some what difficult. "It's a Jungle Out There" by Ray Fracolossy has been a unique example of this new writing concept. When a man accidently gets crabs, he wonders how on earth he'll manage to get through the night on which he has "band rehearsal". Not being able to cope with all of the itchiness he later decideds to come foward with the truth about his "crabs". He becomes a motivational speaker on behalf of his crisis. With humor and sarcasim, this story was easy to read a long with entertaining as well. Even though we hear everything in the media and everywhere else, it's good to get a laugh out of something here and there.
Another different yet interesting story by Ray Fracalossy, is "Me and the Martian". Here the concept is about the steady obsession we see now a days regarding our personalities. The martian is symbolic to all humans and how deverse and unique everyone is. Ironically the story finishes with the martian concluding that all humanans are worthless. Judging and labeling are part of human nature and we don't hessitate to do either or.
Personally relating to some of the different stories, was something I wouldn't have thought of doing. All in all the new genre of writing is really something that needed to come out sooner or later. Having a little of bizarre in all of us, was a matter of time until someone brave enough wrote about it. I can really say I enjoyed these stories and hope to come across more in the future.
Another story by Fracalossy is "Cornflakes". The story is one that can be enjoyed by all who have lived with a roommate. The story starts off as a bomb being in the cereal box of a person that is enjoying cereal as a part of a meal. Then again he begins to yet eat another bowl with the bomb still being there. The bomb seems to tie in with there being no clean dishes, so they must eat off the bowl with the bomb. The story is interesting but can lead the reader to believe different things depending on who reads it and their interpretations. The book is one to be read by those who have an open mind and are willing to think outside the box. Overall something to definitely read!