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July 28, 2011

I thought Bizarro was just a Superman character…

but he is also a literary genre.

Rose O’Keefe from Eraserhead Press gave a great definition here.

 Many people say that science-fiction is weird fiction. But the thing is, most science-fiction has only a single weird element to the story. With bizarro, there are three or more. So to make a science-fiction story bizarro, two or more weird elements should be added.

Jurassic Park – the weird element for this that makes it science-fiction is that it is about a zoo for dinosaurs. So to add another weird element, I’d change the characters from a nice family of scientists to a group of pornographers who have broken into the park in order to film bestiality fetish porn with the dinosaurs. For a third weird element, I’d make it so that the act of having sex with these dinosaurs somehow gave the porn actors super powers. Right there, the story would be weird enough to be labeled bizarro. I’m not sure if it would be any good, but it would be bizarro.

Very clear. Yes.

I think there may be bizarro elements in some of our books. Here they are ranked by Bizarro-ness.


Hollywood on the edge of forever – 2 words “Statham’s Brain” (in the Japanese translation that is three words. In the french, four)

Automatic Assassin – Genocide-based space travel, jelly-based torture, sharkmen with obscene genitalia

Charcoal – Time travel powered by Jack Nicholson, puppets to live, Potentialism


Concrete Underground – “Steve Jobs/Sergey Brin” with a mutilation fetish

Scribbling on Foucault’s Walls – Inventing and Impregnating Madame Foucault

Tokyo Zero – Hovering gurus with flippers

Stray Dog – Death by sock


Vein Fire – Totally jacked up young folk who suddenly attack each other

Backstabbed in Brooklyn – “Harvey Keitel” in life crisis at Chinese Restaurant

(you can buy those books you know… over on the right…one of them is even free I think)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 10:43 pm

    That is a lucid elucidation of bizarro and the levels of it in ZP’s books!

    Since I liked Automatic Assassin so much, I realize I must be a fan of bizarro!

    But only with the right mix of weird elements. The dino story used as example didn’t sound as fun, even though I like dinos. I might just be a fan of ZP, not all bizarro.

    • July 29, 2011 1:10 am

      Well, there’s different degrees of “liking” dinos…
      Our research into Bizarro continues since we just heard about it yesterday.

  2. July 31, 2011 10:33 pm

    I like the way MMe Foucault got to be the main character in Bizarro world. As she certainly wasn’t in her own life. But I think Scribbling on Foucault’s walls was also quite bizarro e.g. in Mark Simpson interviewing Foucault from The Dead, and also in Foucault’s Daughter travelling from the 80s to 2008 – oh I think I added in that after editing….

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