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New Eraserhead Press Team Member: Troy Chambers

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the Eraserhead Press Team, Troy Chambers. I am very proud to announce that Troy is our new office assistant at the Bizarro Headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Eraserhead Press has seen enormous growth in the past year and we are extremely happy to have Troy on board. He will be assisting us with various projects from copy editing to web design. Troy has been a fan and supporter of Bizarro Fiction since he was 16 years old and has been an active member of the Bizarro community online and has volunteered to help with the organization of BizarroCon for the past two years. Troy is an enthusiastic, talented, passionate person and we are very excited that he has joined our team full time.

I conducted this brief interview with Troy that I would like to share with you:

What makes you the perfect person for this job?

“ Bizarro is everything to me- I’m the type to sleep in the office (or not sleep at all) to get the job done. I seriously believe in Eraserhead Press- and Bizarro as a whole- and I’m willing to put in the time and energy it takes (plus a little extra) to keep this thing we have running smoothly. I came from Connecticut to Portland last last year for BizarroCon, and never left. I’d been wanting to move in closer to the action for years, and once here I just couldn’t get back on the plane to leave. When I was offered the chance to be added to the core Eraserhead Press team, I knew that finally I’d found a job that’s not a filler job- this is an opportunity to stay with something that I love. Once you start working at a place where you feel guilty when you’re not at the office, when being there and working is what you look forward to every day- THEN you know you’re in the place you need to be. I’m really glad that I’m so lucky to be in that place. I’m here, I’m willing and able, I’m ready to go. Vivat Bizarro!!”

What does Bizarro mean to you?

“What’s Bizarro to me? Pure unadulterated joy. When I first found Bizarro I knew it’s where I needed to be- it’s what I had been searching for, and had yet to find. When I found it, I knew I couldn’t rest until I was able to help it in any way that I could. Like I said before, Bizarro is my everything. I eat sleep drink and breath to be with these books, and the wonderful authors who create them. Bizarro really has found a way to bring readers what they want- the fun, weird and otherwise homeless books that usually would cause a publisher to scoff: ‘We could never publish THAT!!’ Bizarro isn’t like that. Bizarro, and Eraserhead Press, is willing to take those chances because it knows there ARE people who want to read those books, and plenty of them. They were also willing to take the chance on a goofy guy ecstatic to be able to be involved and help the company, and for that I’m ever grateful. I’m SO happy to be here!”

What were your first few days working at Eraserhead Press like?

“I knew instantly that I had been invited into the best job ever. When I first came in to start working, I knew that this is what I wanted to keep doing. I came in to the Eraserhead Press offices the first time to do edits and work on Whargoul, Dave Brockie’s new book out through Deadite Press. It was really an amazing opportunity to get to work on that book- a big responsibility, a serious project, but something that I was trusted with enough to get to work on. I was impressed and got pulled into the Eraserhead atmosphere right away- hard work, but on something the Team cares about, with people who are mutually helpful, supportive and fun. The Eraserhead Team is great- working with Rose, Carlton, Cameron and Jeff is an absolute dream. The place is fun, inviting and fast paced- the kind of place where a day at work can  be made up of working like crazy to meet a deadline, helping an author get better at their work, or playing video games and watching weird movies. Eraserhead Press is just as awesome on the inside and in the offices as its books- maverick strangeness that’s a hell of a lot of fun. “

What are your five favorite Bizarro books right now?

“Do I really have to choose just five? I’ve yet to read a Bizarro book I really disliked. Having to choose is little trying to pick a favorite pet… Alright though, in no particular order: The Emerald Burrito of Oz by John Skipp and Marc Levinthal, The Egg Man by Carlton Mellick III, Shall We Gather At The Garden? by Kevin Donihe, Ass Goblins of Aushwitz by Cameron Pierce, and How To Eat Fried Furries by Nicole Cushing. I don’t know if I’d put it on the list since I can only choose five, but Apeshit is close to my favorite TYPE of Bizarro novel- the really violent and over-the-type gore books, filled with insane and ridiculous humor. In a book, I like laughter with my blood.”

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There’s a new genre rising from the underground. Its name: BIZARRO. For years, readers have been asking for a category of fiction dedicated to the weird, crazy, cult side of storytelling that has become a staple in the film industry (with directors such as David Lynch, Takashi Miike, Tim Burton, and even Lloyd Kaufman) but has been largely ignored in the literary world, until now.

The Bizarro Starter Kit (Purple) features short novels and story collections by ten of the leading authors in the bizarro genre:

Russell Edson – prose poems
Athena Villaverde – Clockwork Girl
David Agranoff – Punkupines of the Apocalypse
Matthew Revert – three stories
Andrew Goldfarb – comics
Jeff Burk – Cripple Wolf
Garrett Cook – Re-Mancipator
Kris Saknussemm – Sparklewheel
Cody Goodfellow – Homewreckers
Cameron Pierce – The Destroyed Room


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New Reviews of Fistful of Feet

The Bizarro Western, Fistful of Feet by Jordan Krall has been reviewed on two different blogs this week.

One review is by an avid fan of the Western genre, Matthew Revert over at “Clockwork Father“:

“I went into Jordan Krall’s latest novel, Fistful of Feet, with a certain bias. I am an avid fan of the Western, be it the traditional Hollywood kind or the Spaghetti kind. This same bias could have ultimately worked against it however, if it wasn’t pulled off very well. It might have fallen into a Western pastiche, stealing the associated aesthetics and bastardising them superficially. Fistful of Feet doesn’t do this. It is a triumph and clearly written by someone with a deep respect for everything a Western stands for. The characters one would expect to populate a Western abound; the mysterious stranger, the busty brothel owner, the town crazies, a corrupt sheriff, hardened cowboys, gamblers, whores and storeowners. They’re all touched upon, and touched upon beautifully. Wrap this up in a gooey, Bizarro shell and it makes for a wild, touching and unforgettable ride through the dusty landscapes of a surrealist hell.”

(Read the full review here)

And one by Michael Allen Rose who isn’t typically a fan of the Western:

“The story follows the archetypal lone wanderer, Calamaro, a rough and tumble stranger with many mysteries following behind him (my favorite mystery by far is the wooden donkey he drags along, which holds many secrets of its own). Calamaro drags himself to the local brothel in the small town of Screwhorse to set himself up with a room, but of course, as the genre demands, nobody’s comfortable with the new stranger in town (save a madam with a heart of gold and a few others). From there, things get perverse and hilariously wild, and that’s good: Krall is at his best when he taps into the reader’s prurient interests. This book is delightfully filled with sexual depravity and otherworldly references to unspeakable acts. The descriptions of the various delights at the town’s whorehouse are alternately stimulating and grimace-inducing, and that’s exactly how Krall holds the reader’s attention. A careful balancing act of alien starfish and four-footed prostitutes on one side with all the classic tropes of the old Clint Eastwood films on the other.”

(Read the full review here)

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New Review of Zerostrata
A review of Zerostrata by Anderson Prunty
by Michael A Rose

If Zerostrata was a tea, I would call it “bracing, with a hint of undeniable sweetness.” I would drink it on Wednesday mornings at work to make me feel on edge with anticipation of the day to come, and awaken me to the possibilities while simultaneously clearing my sinuses. But Anderson Prunty’s Zerostrata is not a tea – it’s a book – and a damn good one.

Zerostrata follows the story of Hansel Nothing as he returns to his childhood home in an effort to find himself and give his life some sense of meaning. He has no memory of where he’s been for the last decade or so. In a normal story, the plot would quickly become a tiresome cliche in which the focus is getting back lost memories, but in Prunty’s capable hands, the story stays firmly planted in the present – a present where a beautiful girl runs naked in the rain and a mysterious therapist named Doctor Blast prescribes a strange series of events that shake Hansel Normal’s world up completely.

One of the best things about reading Zerostrata is the juxtaposition of bizarro humor and strange events with a real sweetness. Sure, there are gang members who make the world’s most delicious salad from their own flesh, and liquid-like airspace complete with magically mobile trampolines to keep falling victims safe for their therapy, but at its core, Zerostrata seems to be a love story. Not in the traditional sense, but in the sense that once we find the right person, nothing else matters outside of that, no matter how difficult or mundane. There is a beautiful scene which I will not ruin for you involving raindrops toward the end of the book that contains a monologue I may ask Prunty for permission to use in my wedding vows some day. That’s the kind of experience this book gives a reader – being carried through the strangest of places, only to come out on the other side and find some sort of magic.

This is a quest story where the protagonist doesn’t know what the ultimate goal is, and as it is revealed to him, the reader sees it as well. That conceit alone makes this truly worth the read; highly recommended.

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World Horror Convention 2008 Photos

Though I only took my camera out on one day of the World Horror Convention, I got some great shots of authors reading, including Andersen Prunty, Jordan Krall, Cody Goodfellow and Carlton Mellick III.

Friday night was the mass autograph signing. We had an entire Bizarro table with the above mentioned authors in addition to Bradley Sands, Gina Ranalli, and Kevin L. Donihe.