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Bizarro Fiction

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What is Bizarro fiction? Well, there are two ways to explain it: the long way and the short way.

The Short Answer

You ever wake up from a dream that made perfect sense at the time; but now that you're awake, you're left thinking, "What! Was! That!?" Bizarro Fiction is like that.

The Long Answer

Bizarro Fiction is a contemporary literary genre known for high weirdness. As the print media equivalent of the cult film, bizarro fiction strives to be not only strange but also thought-provoking and fun to read. Bizarro fiction takes place in a dreamlike alternate reality where the unexpected, unpredictable, unfathomable, or plain horrifying is commonplace. Think Magic Realism on... oh never mind... It's it is it is it is AAAAAARRRRRRGGHH*splot*

Traits of Bizarro Fiction:

  1. Bizarro, simply put, is the genre of the weird.
  2. Bizarro is literature's equivalent to the cult section at the video store.
  3. Like cult movies, Bizarro is sometimes surreal, sometimes avant-garde, sometimes goofy, sometimes bloody, sometimes borderline pornographic, and almost always completely out there.
  4. Bizarro strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.
  5. Bizarro often contains a certain cartoon logic that, when applied to the real world, creates an unstable universe where the bizarre becomes the norm and absurdities are made flesh.
  6. Bizarro was created by a group of small press publishers in response to the increasing demand for (good) weird fiction and the increasing number of authors who specialize in it.

Frequently overlaps with Horror, Black Comedy, and Science Fiction. Overlaps, but is distinct from New Weird. May contain an affinity for the Punk genres. See also Genre-Busting. When it comes to fan fiction tropes, compare Crack Fic.

Here's this article that lists five common components of the genre, and this interview on Rose O'keefe about what bizarro is and isn't, and now a Booked Podcast episode!

Bizarro Publishers:

  • Afterbirth Books
  • Burning Bulb Publishing
  • Eraserhead Press and its many imprints:
    • Deadite Press
    • Lazy Fascist Press
    • Raw Dog Screaming Press
    • Swallowdown Press
  • Grindhouse Press
  • Library of Bizarro Horror Press
  • Legume Man Books

Novels, Novellas, Collections and Anthologies

Web sites featuring Bizarro Fiction

Tropes often found in Bizarro fiction: