I really love weird crime fiction, but I haven’t been able to find much of it. Jordan is involved in the bizarro fiction scene. Many of the books in this list are bizarro fiction since most of those writers specialize in novellas.
9. Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link
About a pirated TV show. I like television a lot more than I care to admit.
8. Help! A Bear is Eating Me, by Mykle Hansen
Sort of like Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine, but rather than going up an escalator, the protagonist spends the entire book getting eaten by a bear. Hilarious. I can’t think of any other character in fiction who I loved to hate as much.
7. Being There, by Jerzy Kosinsky
I read this one a few months after I saw the movie. I was thinking about writing a novel about a man spends the first twenty years of his life locked in a room, where television is his only connection to the real world, until he escapes. Then I realized that Being There had almost the exact same setup. So I read it and fell in love with the prose.
6. The Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports, by Kevin L. Donihe
Full disclosure: I once had a beer bottle cap war with this author. My favorite Donihe book. It’s about a bicycle race and involves a ninja and the apocalypse. It also appears in the first Bizarro Starter Kit (orange).
5. My Work is Not Yet Done, by Thomas Ligotti
Ligotti normally writes stories, but this is his first novella. It’s about an office worker who takes revenge on his co-workers. Ligotti’s work feels like it’s in another dimensional and does weird things to my brain. This book is out of print, but being re-released at the end of April.
4. Sea of Patchwork Cats, by Carlton Mellick III
Everyone in the world commits suicide at the same time except for one alcoholic. The Earth floods with water and the alcoholic survives by living in a floating house. Mellick’s most beautiful book.
3. Shamanspace, by Steve Aylett
About an occult assassin who is trying to kill God. Unlike Aylett’s other novels, this one doesn’t have any jokes. It’s like a modernized version of an epic poem. It also appears in the second Bizarro Starter Kit (I have a novella in there as well).
2. Light Boxes, by Shane Jones
Happy surrealism that’s written in a simple language, but feels magical. Jones really likes the term, “happy surrealism.”
1. In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan
Brautigan writes science fiction. So good that it leaves me with the inability to say very much about it. One of my favorite books of all time.
Bradley Sands writes absurdist comedies that demolish the walls of reality. He lives in Amherst, MA, where he edits Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens (A Journal of Absurd and Surreal Fiction). He experienced enlightenment after walking into a bookstore and being shocked to see his picture on the cover of Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful. Visit him HERE.