Monday, December 28, 2015

Where Are They Now? Interview With Daniel Vlasaty

by Lee Widener


I first became aware of NBAS author Daniel Vlasaty when I worked on the under-appreciated “The Bizarro Zombie Anthology That Wouldn't Die,” which also featured work from NBAS authors Dustin Reade, S.T. Cartledge, Kirk Jones, Gabino Iglesias, and myself. His tale of alien space zombies attacking a rocket ship was terrifying. His NBAS book “The Church of TV as God” with its legion of TV headed addicts is an equally terrifying work of social commentary. I recently caught up with Daniel in a secret dungeon deep beneath Santa's workshop in the North Pole.

LW: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Daniel. First off, how the hell did you get involved in Bizarro fiction?

DV: The first time I ever even heard of Bizarro Fiction was when I just happened to stumble across issue 6 of Bust Down the Doors and Eat all the Chickens (from Bizarro author and former NBAS editor Bradley Sands) at Quimby’s in Chicago. It was the cover that got me. All the eyeballs and the big ass chicken head. After that I started noticing all these weird ass books coming up on my Amazon recommendations. Carlton Mellick and Jeremy Robert Johnson. Those were the first two authors I bought. It was The Cannibals of Candyland and Angel Dust Apocalypse. And then I just got more involved through like Facebook and the internet and shit. I was still in college and my writing usually tended toward the weird so it seemed like I’d found my place.

LW: How did you end up writing a book for the NBAS?

DV: I had a bunch of short stories published in online magazines or whatever. Usually they were just flash pieces. Never over 2,000 words. And I wanted to try to write something longer. I was in one of Garrett Cook’s writing workshops and I had talked to Kevin Shamel about submitting something.

LW: Who was the editor that year?

DV: Spike Marlowe was the editor of THE CHURCH OF TV AS GOD.

LW: What was it like working with her?

DV: Spike’s awesome and working with her was great. I feel like she really got the bones of the book and helped to make it the best it could be. She was patient with me and listened to all of my anxious freak outs over individual sentences and she helped me figure that shit out. She’s a great editor. And I also hear that she may or may not be a superhero.

LW: Tell us about The Church of TV as God, your NBAS book. What was your process like, writing it?

DV: THE CHURCH OF TV AS GOD is about a dude with a TV for a head and the TV-worshipping cult that believes him to be the one to bring about the second coming of their god, The Great TV in the Sky. I started writing it as an experiment, really. I remember reading somewhere online that Carlton Mellick and Kevin Shamel and Cameron Pierce had written some of their books during marathons. And I wanted to try that. My goal was 20,000 words in 10 days. I ended up finishing the first draft of TV in 3 days. I had an office type of job at the time and I just ignored my actual duties to write the book. So in a way I was paid to write THE CHURCH OF TV AS GOD, which is kind of cool.

But then something totally shitty happened. On the very same day that I finished the first draft of my book I lost the USB flash drive thing with it saved on it. It was the only copy of the book and I hadn’t had a chance to save it anywhere else or back it up or whatever. I had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. It kind of sucked. But I still hope to someday find that flash drive thing. I’d love to compare the two and see how the book might have turned out.

LW: Do you see people's obsession with television as dangerous?

DV: It’s funny because when I was writing THE CHURCH OF TV AS GOD I wasn’t even thinking about the obsession to TV. I was writing it more as a commentary about religion. But personally I think most TV shows are stupid and a waste of time. I have some that I like and I’ll catch them on Netflix or whatever. But for the most part I don’t have much time for TV.

LW: You mentioned taking one of Garrett's workshops. Did you find taking a workshop helped your writing, and if it did, in what ways?

DV: I know that it helped my writing. I don’t really know how but I know it did. Maybe it just showed me that there were other people, new to bizarro like me, trying to do what I was doing. I don’t know. Not long before I signed up for his workshop, I had just come off of a spell where I didn’t write a single word for like two fucking years. I was fresh out of college and I think it was a combination of disillusionment from four years of very literary-leaning writing workshops and a massively growing drug addiction. I liked Garrett’s workshop because it was just about writing. And reading the other writers’ work and giving them suggestions. There was no pretentiousness to it.

When I was in my college writing classes everyone wanted to write the next great American novel or some shit. But the problem with that was we were all like 19 and didn’t know shit about life. So we just made it up or copied Kurt Vonnegut of Chuck Palahniuk or whatever. In Garrett’s workshop we all just wanted to write weird shit and have fun. It was less academic and forced.

LW: What effect has having a book published in the NBAS series had on your life?

DV: It made me realize that there is more to being a writer than just writing. It made me realize that once the book is finished it’s only the beginning. It made me realize that I don’t know shit about promoting a book.

LW: What have you been up to since the NBAS? Any projects published since then? Anything you're working on now?

DV: Since THE CHURCH OF TV AS GOD came out I’ve had a handful of short stories and poems published, in print and online. My second book AMPHETAMINE PSYCHOSIS was published by Black Dharma Press (an imprint of Dynatox Ministries). My next book is set to come out in 2016 through All Due Respect Books. It’s called ONLY BONES. It’s a crime story set in Chicago about a bike messenger who starts working for his drug dealer to pay off a debt.

Other than that I’m working two other books – their working titles are TOO MANY DEAD MEN and NEXT ONE LAST. Also a possible sequel to ONLY BONES called NEVER CLEAN. And two comic scripts. OFFICER SEXY MAN is an ultra-violent Bizarro story that I am writing with my friend Mike Zdanowicz. And PURPLE DONKEY about a dead stripper, a crooked cop, and a sleazy strip club owner.

LW: Wow! You're really keeping busy. Which bothers you more, avocados or Chicago, and why?

DV: It’s a tough one, but I’d have to say Chicago bothers me more. Because I’ve never been robbed by an avocado.

LW: What advice would you give someone interested in writing Bizarro Fiction?

DV: I don’t like giving writing advice…because who the fuck am I? But if I had to give one piece of advice, it would be: Just go nuts. Whatever. Don’t fucking worry about anything but the story. Be crazy. Get crazy.

LW: Would you be happy living in a world made of ice cream?

DV: No I would not be happy living in a world made of ice cream. For a few reasons really. I am not a huge fan of dairy. It would be cold, and the cold sucks. And also I feel like everyone would be pretty fat. Fatter than they are now.

LW: If beards were outlawed tomorrow would you start a revolution?

DV: Yes I would. Viva La Beard!

LW: If you could live inside a book or movie, which one would it be, and why?

DV: I just finished reading this graphic novel called Blacksad. Maybe I’m just choosing it because I literally just glanced over at my bookshelf and it was the first thing I saw. Or maybe I’m choosing it because it’s a gritty as fuck story about a P.I. that also happens to be a black cat. This is a world full of anthropomorphic animals. And murder. And race relations. And violence. And sexy sex. Also it’s drawn by a former Disney animator. So it’s super pretty.

At this point Santa burst into the room and using a large whip tried to force us to cook dinner for him, so we both fled screaming. Thank you so much for talking to me, Daniel! It was super fun!

Thanks to Ross Lockhart for the photo of Daniel reading from The Church of TV as God, while dressed as a TV, at BizarroCon.

The Church of TV as God 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Toilets And Sad Pets - What To Buy The Excessive Rainbow Fan

by Madeleine Swann

Rainbows are wondrously wonderful, and now you can harness their power in gift form for that chromatically aware person in your life who makes your eyes bleed whenever you meet for a drink. 

This rainbow sponge, video edited by FoundFootageFest, is a must. She's having a jolly old time, we want some of that too!



These shoes by Marjorie Schick were made as part of her Chipines and Puddles collection. How can you be sad when your feet are literally oozing rainbows?




This toilet foot stand apparently makes you poo edible rainbows:



We all know humiliating pets is the new fun thing so why not embarrass yours with a rainbow unicorn outfit



And finally, nothing says joy like body leakage, especially if it's multi-coloured: 



So that's it! Merry Santa Day, and may you all be as horrifically joyful as I am in the picture below.


Madeleine Swann's book Rainbows Suck is a surreal tale of the dark side of fame. Visit her website.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

YouTube Curation: What Monsters May Come

by Karl Fischer


I was approached by my editor, Garrett Cook, with a special assignment: "Write a piece of flash fiction[...] and read it as your pug rampages across some wargame scenery. Film this." I hadn't made a film since before I could drive, but having more than once considered exploiting the dog's cuteness for fame and profit on YouTube, I decided that this would be a splendid project. "All in all, it's maybe two hours work," continued Garrett, in what I would now call a laughably optimistic calculation (either that or he had something a little more "gonzo" in mind).


Considering that I had only Windows Movie Maker, a smartphone, and a headset at my disposal, I'd say the final product turned out significantly less shitty than one might have reasonably expected. Actually, it's amazing what you can produce with a little ingenuity and some cheap technology. The "wargame scenery" that Garrett references indicates that he thinks I'm a giant Warhammer 40k nerd. I mean, I WAS, but I certainly never had my own tabletop scenery. It would have been nice, though. So, I went with the next best thing: nipple-topped chess pieces from my Cow Chess Game. 

Honestly, getting the pug to "rampage" through my little cardboard and cow udder prop was a greater challenge than anticipated. Dogs are never bashful about getting all up in your shit when it's least convenient, but if you've planned for it, somehow they've got better things to do. Below, you will find some unedited footage regarding this phenomenon.


video

There were THREE milkbone pieces in that city. What is her fucking problem? Anyway, making movies takes a lot of work, even when they're only 2 minutes long and purposefully crappy. But I loved the whole thing and you can bet I'll be making more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Where Are They Now? Interview with G. Arthur Brown

by Pedro Proença

P: Let's start with the most basic question: Who is G. Arthur Brown?

G: Good question. I've never met him. He cannot be biographied for reasons unknown to literary science. 

P: How did you discover Bizarro Fiction?

G: I had been submitting a lot of my short fiction to sci-fi, fantasy, horror markets and they were all like, "No thanks." So I started checking into weird lit genres, like Slipstream and New Weird, and pretty quickly came across Bizarro fiction. I picked up the Bizarro Starter Kit Orange and the rest, as old people say, is history. 

P: What are your favorite Bizarro books? And non-Bizarro books?

G: For Bizarro, Haunt by Laura Lee Bahr, Edie & the Low-Hung Hands by Brian Allen Carr, Tales from the Vinegar Wasteland by Ray Fracalossy, How to Avoid Sex by Matthew Revert, Shall We Gather at the Garden? by Kevin L. Donihe, Lost in Catbrain Land by Cameron Pierce, Zerostrata by Andersen Prunty, Stranger on the Loose by D. Harlan Wilson, Clown Tear Junkies by Douglas Hackle, Death Machines of Death by Vince Kramer, and Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams.
Outside of Bizarro, The Wavering Knife and Last Days by Brian Evenson, Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, The Dead Father and Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme, Et Tu, Babe? by Mark Leyner, The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, Perfume by Patrick Suskind, The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes, City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  Gaiman really got me back into writing seriously. 

P: How did you get involved with the New Bizarro Author Series?

G: There were not many Bizarro markets open to unsolicited manuscripts at the time. I ran across the NBAS page when checking out Eraserhead Press and I contacted Kevin L. Donihe, who was the only listed editor at the time. I'd read a few of his books already and I thought, "Heck, my writing might just be up his alley." Luckily, he liked Kitten. And the rest, as old people say, is history. 

P: How was the process of writing Kitten?

G: Kitten evolved from a short story, to a longer short story, to a novelette, and then finally a novella. The original short story had a sort of cop-out meta ending. My pal, cover artist, and beta-reader encouraged me to actually "give it an ending." That all became Part I. The entire second half of the book was written more than a year later, after contemplating the fact that the titular Kitten's story didn't really get to be told yet. 

P: Kitten was a major influence to my NBAS book, along with Brian Auspice's Deep Blue. Do you get that a lot? Do you feel like you've influenced people in the genre?

G: Thanks, and no, I wouldn't say I get that a lot. It's very pleasing to hear a lot of people who influenced me or that I admire liked my debut book, though. And it's very cool to know that I'm having an impact on people like you. 

P: How was the promotion process? What were your strategies to sell your book?

G: Really it was just word of mouth. I made friends with cool people who helped me get the word out. Making friends with book store employees and librarians helped. I tried to do a contest but that didn't work, because it actually required people to do stuff, and as we all know, there's nothing people like less than having to do stuff to win prizes. I'm pretty sure the title sold it because everyone on the internet likes cats so much. 

P: Did you work with your fellow NBAS that year? Was there lots of communication between you guys, or was it mostly a lone wolf kind of thing?

G: There was a brief online "feud" between Andrew Wayne Adams and myself. It fizzled out quickly because Andy is just not a very angry guy. Or maybe he holds his rage in, like a cauldron of hatred. Hard to tell. We all also reviewed each others books. We attempted to write some scripts for a cartoon series that featured us all as characters. The NBAS class of 2012 was known as the Bionic Six (guess how many of us there were?), which was taken from an old 80s cartoon., so we were doing a spoof of that show. The concept was to post these scripts on Bizarro Central to get some attention for the NBAS. It proved really hard to coordinate working together on the scripts, though, with Tamara Romero in Spain and S.T. Cartledge in Australia, so we only managed to finish one episode, which J.W. Wargo gave away as a prize at the Bizarro Con breakfast raffle in 2013. 

P: This year's class is the Suicide Squad! Nice to see that the whole group nickname is something that has been done before.

G: Yes, each year has a nickname. The Fantastic Four, The Crazy Eight, The Seven Samurai, etc. Not sure what the three from last year went by.  The Three Stooges? Heh. 

P: What's your advice for this year's New Bizarro Authors?

G: Make friends. Create a strong brand. The audience is reading you, the author, not just your book. They will become your fan only if they trust your overall brand. 

P: Seeing so many author drama on social media, with people arguing and feuding over petty stuff, this is truly great advice.

G: Yeah, don't too hung up on your ego. But also don't lose yourself. 

P: If a crab has sex with a wireless telephone, is the resulting crabophone baby functional in the terms of long distance communication? And is it inappropriate to use it as such?

G: This reminds me of the time that Eugene Ionesco came to my apartment and cooked me lobster. We did not communicate for long, because it was a "foodie call," and certainly there was long distances involved. My couch is only about 15 feet from the stove.  Save these sorts of science puzzles for someone like Brian Auspice. 

P: Ionesco has also coooked me lobster! That whore.
G: And then I died because of my shellfish allergy.


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Bizarro Holiday Guide for Those Trying to Escape Reality

Hey there, folks. I hope the holidays are treating you well and instead of steering your gigantic death machine toward a helpless civilization, you’re able to kick back with some booze and enjoy the company of your friends and family. However, if you or someone you know is working the skin from their hands under the tyranny of a vicious and uncaring god, then you might want to pick up some things this Christmas to help you or your enslaved loved ones experience a brief reprieve from the never ending workflow.

1. Santa SangreOne of surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s later films, Santa Sangre tells the tale of Fenix, a young man trying to cope with the violent acts he witnessed as a child. Got the holiday blues? Think your life sucks this Christmas? Trust me. It doesn’t when compared to Fenix's. 



2. Perfect Union By Cody GoodfellowOne hell of a body horror novel that makes Cronenberg’s early work look like fucking Care Bears. If you haven’t already been indoctrinated into the Cult of Goodfellow then I feel bad for you. Get in here. Join us. We need you... 

3. Perturbator's Dangerous DaysWhat better way to get your blood pumping for a revolt than with 80s inspired synth-tunes like “Humans are Such Easy Prey” and “Satanic Rites” ?!


4. Ovipositor and Alien MaskIf movies, books, and tunes aren’t your thing then how ‘bout diving head first into that alien fetish you’ve been hiding all these years? Break the chains of that vanilla sex life this season and give into your extraterrestrial naughty side. 









5. Bitchin' Space Biker Shirt by SKINNERMother. Fucking. Space. Biker. Wear this and be the baddest guy or gal in the galaxy. 


 
6. King Space VoidLastly, what better way to round out your surreal, science-fiction inspired sex gifts than with a copy of this here book. 



*Extra cool points if you snag a print of the cover art from that smooth talking paint-slinger Kai Martin's web store: http://www.kaimartinart.com/#/king-space-void/ 

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I LOVE YOU ALL! 

 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Jason Voorheesberg's Hanukkah Gift Guide



Hi guys! I hope you're being cool and enjoying family. I don't have any family and live alone in the woods. I haven't killed anyone in two days and I feel the holiday blues :(  I hope Santa comes so I can murder him.

The only gifts I have are from a group of swingers than stumbled into the woods and I have fun with their bodies. KILLING IS SO COOL!

I have these four things. You can Paypal me at JasonIsSuperCool@cockmail.com

Moonight Sexy Fetish Vagina Nipple Clamps flexible Adjustable breast nipple clip with chain,red

I found the swingers with this stuff and strangled them with it. It makes for good rope.

Moonight sexy Feather anal plug (one size, black)

When I sliced this woman's arms off and then shoved her own arm down her throat, this thing fell out of her butt. I use it clean my cabin but I'll sell it to you for twenty bucks.

Locker Room Poppers


I don't know what it is but when I smell it makes me want to kill more

My Book

Eraserhead Press was so cool and published my life story. Every time someone buys it I get money and I need to buy a new machete. My last one has hardened testicle blood on it, which smells bad :(

Thanks,
Happy Hanukkah

PS I am thinking about learning about Jesus and Christmas and doing a Christmas special.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bizarro Holiday Gift Guide for the Gamergate Otaku




Do you live with, or have a "Gamer Gater" in your life? Not sure what to get them? Have no fear! Here are some gift ideas for that strange Otaku you seem to have become acquainted with.


Scary People by Kyle Muntz(Kindle and Paperback).




For those that like RPG’s, Adventure Time, and Sadness.

 
ChäoS;
HEAd (PC Import) and Future Diary (Anime, Manga)



For those that feel a strong urge to make a difference in the world, especially if they seldom(if ever) leave their house.



















For those that feel like they are surrounded by unintelligible Lovecraftian monstrosities and are desperately seeking that one special girl they can relate to.



“Insert Waifu Name Here” Dakimakura






Seriously… just ask them who their “Waifu” is, google the name with “Dakimakura” after it, and don’t ask any questions. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them, just google Dakimakura and pick one you think they’ll like. They’ll appreciate a printed image they can snuggle up with. Don’t be alarmed if you hear strange whispering's late at night. Some even take them out into the world to socialize. Don't fret. It’s just part of the lifestyle.




Steam Gift Card









For members of the "PC master race" that want to pick a few titles from the dozens of 5$ discount games available during Steam’s annual Winter Blowout. 















For those that want their place to smell like cats without actually having to worry about keeping one alive.

























For those that want a little bit of sweetness with their mustard sandwiches.


Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1& 2




The classic magical girl show they grew up with! This will let them relive their childhood—this time, uncensored!




Now, let them sit back and have their childhood nostalgia for “magical girls” be destroyed by Gen "The Butcher" Urobuchi (who also wrote "Song of Saya", one of the earlier entries on this list).






Iced Tea Concentrate + Home Made Finger Sandwiches


In the event they bring someone home, it’s always good to be ready for some “food play”. They can drink the tea while their guest digs in from the rear with the Finger Sandwiches!








Pixiegate Madoka(Kindle, Paperback)






What more could they want than an anime and video game inspired book featuring one of their own?



メリークリスマス(Merry Christmas)!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Elephant Vice - A Christmas List

 As Christmas approaches with a rapid pace and veracious appetite, perhaps, dear reader, you find yourself in a quandary. Do you have that special someone in your life who loves Elephant Vice? Someone who has read it more than once? Perhaps a father, or sibling, a pet wombat or animated sofa? You do? Wowzers I'm good at guessing, aren't I?
And perhaps you are struggling to find those perfect gifts for that someone to show them ow much you love them this Christmas?
Perhaps you are terrified of that Christmas morning, when your significant person opens their present, only for you to see the love and joy die in their eyes as they see your gift. Well, fear no longer, old Chris will save you this Christmas with his ultimate Christmas List for Elephant Vice Lovers!


Art Supplies
A loved one, who is into Elephant Vice, will obviously be a fan of the eponymous hero Detective Vincent Van Gogh, and what better way for them to express their artistic bent than to emulate dear Vincent and produce their own art work with this set of oil paints and canvas!


Herringbone Tweed Blazer.
Every detective needs their own easily recognisable style. Detective Vincent Van Gogh is a detective of style. Your loved one can now dress like Detective Van Gogh with this wonderful stylish Brown Tweed Blazer.


Detective Badge and Handcuffs
Any aspiring detective needs a badge and their own set of handcuffs to deal justice on the mean streets of Maybe Beach.

Statue of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant deity
All praise mighty Ganesha, he of the curved trunk and sad eyes. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. His massive body shines like a million suns and showers his blessings on everyone! Any fan of Elephant Vice is bound to love this statue of Ganesha!


Peanut Brittle
Any lover of Ganesha will know Detective Ganesha has a fondness of peanut brittle. And, your loved one will adore this small selection of Ganesha's favourite treat.


Haematite Natural Rune Stones
Sometimes in Maybe Beach you have to go to places you don't like and talk to dangerous people. At times like that it's good to know the local lingo. Detective Van Gogh knows this, that's why he has runes...to talk to the Vikings!

Rubik's Cube
We all love puzzles, and our indomitable detectives are no different. And any fan of the 80's will remember these classic Rubik's Cube puzzles.


The Bipolar Workbook: Tools for Controlling Your Mood Swings
We all get angry at times, and depressed, and Detective Van Gogh is no exception. If your loved one is anything like Vincent Van Gogh, then...they probably need this book.

Elephant Vice
And, of course, what else can a fan of Elephant Vice want on Christmas Day, but another copy of that awesome book!
Elephant Vice - UK  
Elephant Vice - US


And there you have it peoples, my awesome guide to presents for an Elephant Vice fan. Merry Christmas.

Chris

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Buying Happiness With Squirrels - A Surrealist's Gift Guide

by Pedro Proença

Do you like shopping for the ones you love? Do you think reality is just a mere product of your failed senses in an futile attempt to make sense of a chaotic and irreal existence? Well I got the perfect gift guide for you! With these simple suggestions (buy consume acquire stuff it into your mind hole buy dispose consume your own flesh purchase happiness yes you can buy happiness buy buy BUY!) you can make your friends and family happy, cure diseases and save the world!


Sony PCM-M10 Portable Linear PCM Voice Recorder


Wanting to write a book and not having arms is like wanting to scream and having no mouth, am I right?
Seriously, am I?
But with this handy little recorder you can release your inner thoughts and fears into the world, creating your very own masterpiece! Or at least a book about latex ants fighting a monster.












Mr. Postman Boy's Costume

To the child in your life (or the child within yourself), comes this really cute postman's costume. So you can teach a child how to murder innocent dogs, loved by their owners who invested time creating lasting bonds only to be stripped of them by a sadistic little brat in a devil's costume. Buy it now!















Chef

Best movie ever.




















72 Yellow Balloons


Who knows, maybe one of them comes to life and starts spewing philosophical crap.
WARNING: Don't trust anything a balloon tells you. They are all filthy, disgusting liars.















The Riemann Hypothesis: The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, by Karl Sabbagh

Truste me, you'll need this. This is important. Read this, and buy this for EVERYONE.
Plus, the guy's name sounds like Sabbath, which is pretty cool.

















Benjamin, by Pedro Proença

Then there's this thing.
See? Every word in that last sentence begins with a T.
2SPOOKY4ME

Buy this for everyone (except your dog, he or she won't like this book. But your cat might. Maybe not.)















BECOME ONE OF THE COOL KIDS, JUST BUY STUFF.

Happy Holidays, everybody!