BIZARRO FICTION: It’s Terribly Good
by Damien Walter
Have you discovered the genre that can be stupid and intelligent at the same time?
Jeff Burk’s Shatnerquake is the story of William Shatner. Yes: Wiliam Shatner. All of the characters he has ever played are suddenly sucked into our world on a mission to hunt down and destroy the real William Shatner. As one Amazon reviewer insightfully states, if you have ever wondered what would happen if William Shatner came face to face with the incarnation of every character he ever played, then “this is the book for you”. It is also, undeniably, Shatnertastic.
Shatnerquake is a comparatively mild example of the Bizarro fiction genre. Bizarro fiction defines itself as the literary equivalent of the cult film section in a video store, taking inspiration from films such as Repo Man and Eraserhead. It aims to satisfy the demands of readers who are looking for weird, in the same way other readers go looking for action or romance. Starting a decade ago with the work of indie publishers Raw Dog Screaming Press, Afterbirth Books and Eraserhead Press, the genre now has over a dozen small publishers, its own convention and an increasing cult status among readers and writers who know weird when they see it.