Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bizarro - Just Like it Sounds

June 1, 2012

At a recent writer's group meeting, one of our members mentioned that she was interested in writing "bizarro."  Now, in my mind, Bizarro was a twisted comic strip I used to read, I didn't realize that it was a fiction genre.  As it turns out, it is an emerging genre that focuses on satire, the grotesque and the absurd.  While it might not be my cup of tea, it's obviously somebody's so more power to them. According to Rose O'Keefe of Eraserhead Press: "Basically, if an audience enjoys a book or film primarily because of its weirdness, then it is Bizarro. Weirdness might not be the work's only appealing quality, but it is the major one."  Think of it like a David Lynch film but in book form.

Like I said, this genre hold little appeal for me, but some readers might really enjoy it.  So, if you're curious or excited, here's an excerpt from D. Harlan Wilson's Dr. Identify:

I returned to my office to find Bob Dostoevsky blowdrying his armpits. Like Gilbert Hemingway and the rest of the faculty employed by Corndog University’s English department, Bob had legally changed his surname to an author in his field who was of interest to him in some pedagogical or scholarly way. Additionally, he had done his best to dress himself up like the Russian novelist, sporting dimestore spectacles, a long greasy beard, and a motheaten overcoat. He had grafted eye bags onto his face, too. These were departmental requirements. When I was initially interviewed for the job by the search committee, I thought it was a joke. When I later accepted the job and moved to Bliptown, I discovered it was reality. I considered reporting the instance of absurdity to the HEA (Higher Education Armada). But I couldn’t afford to burn any bridges, and I had racked up unspeakable financial debt over the years. I needed a fulltime income. So I agreed to appropriate the surname of an unknown speculative fiction author whose body of work, in my view, was vastly underrated, and while I refused to get plastic surgery, I tried my best to recreate myself in his image. Fortunately I looked a lot like him. My choice wasn’t well-received. But it was tolerated on the condition that my colleagues could refer to me by the nickname Blah Blah Blah.

In truth it reminds me a little of William S. Burroughs, bizarre and vaguely drug-like.  So, there you have it--a brief introduction to Bizarro.  It may not be your cup of tea, but you will turn a few heads with your knowledge of up and coming, yet still obscure, literary genres.

No comments: