Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sneak Preview: The Horror Show

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming poetry collection from Bizarro Pulp Press. The collection is actually a story written through a series of poems. It's a surreal story clocking in at nearly 200 pages (of poems!). At the conclusion of the poem I have provided the book's synopsis.

This is kind of like a rock band's "concept album," similar to something maybe Mars Volta, Pink Floyd, or Smashing Pumpkins would have created (I'm not comparing my work to theirs... no way). 

Here is a review of the collection, in addition to two more poems analyzed by the horror-academic, Anthony Servante.

Boiled Scream

There was a romantic who died
years ago in front of a mountain,
his eyes open while ice
melted over his eyes. 
In his hands he held a photograph
believed to be a woman,

shapeless, no form worth
mentioning because the lines

Later, authorities 
discovered a love letter
to a nameless woman 
in the romantic's home,
and in it he described 
his dream of her.

In the description he
mentioned a story
that inspired him, 
a tale of woe
about a goddess
who fell in love with
an angel. Both women 
met while discussing 
the nature of mortal love,
and the goddess wooed 
the angel with a story, about

two men who crossed paths
by voyaging between planets;
both defied each other's
perception of form and thought,
but when they met
their curiosity blossomed
and they agreed to explore
each other and 
the cosmos. 

One of the men was a painter
who designed galaxies,
and they were only men
as gods defined them,
human for the sake of 
The painter asked his lover
to pose so that he might
compose the universe.

Inside his spiraling wormholes
were two blind children
who held hands 
and slept in a tomb
at the edge of time.
They whispered into 
each other's ears
while their skulls

One of the twins 
ripped out its eyes
and explained one of them
was made of emerald, the other,
sapphire. Handcrafted eyes
made a saint and a sinner,
sexless creatures dwelling
inside of an abyss
or a labyrinth. 

The sinner died over 
the fire, and the saint
bled upon each gem. None 
of it was painful, for 
the sinner and the saint
were romantically in love


A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches of his soul reveals a blood-soaked past which threatens to repeat itself.

While Doctor Humphrey collects his precious data, he devises a terrible plan to satisfy his own terrifying vision for the future. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: All Art is Junk by R.A. Harris

Lana Rivers, a girl with paintbrush hair, is missing and it's up to Lancelot, her cyborg knight, and his bionic conjoined twin, Cilia, to find her before her evil father, a disrespected artist turned mad-scientist, performs a terrible experiment on her.

Lana is somewhere on The Installation––once an unknown artist's subversive statement on society and now the only thing keeping it afloat, literally. A deluge of biblical proportions has wiped 99.99% of mankind from the face of the Earth and the only survivors are all on the floating art installation, addicted to a drug known as oil.

Lancelot's mission is thrown into jeopardy when the people of The Installation begin to go insane, forming gangs, each with their own fetish, and go to war against each other as a dread drum soundtrack shakes the very foundation of their world.

As Lancelot races to rescue Lana in time, he'll discover the origin of oil, himself and the truth about Lana's father's experiments. And in doing so, he'll learn more about humanity, morality and love than he ever expected.




We can look up the definition of “art” as it applies to different mediums, but an artist, if such a thing exists, would tell you that sacrifice is part of the process. Creating anything that is “art” is a primal process that involves blood and emotion, and when the composition is complete, something new is learned or gained by the artist. R.A. Harris conveys this concept in his bizarro novella, “All Art is Junk,” although I don’t know if that was the author’s intention. You see, one may interpret art to derive personal meaning, and that is this story’s greatest success.

The plot seems straightforward and almost obvious: a cyborg named Lancelot must brave the insane world of chaos and nightmare to find a young girl named Lana. We can expect the robot is going to learn about humanity and love, as the summary on the back of the book suggests, but the meat of the book is Lancelot’s interpretation of these things in contrast to the ideas that have helped create the strange world Lancelot confronts. Here’s a book that revels in the artistry of an idea and doesn’t let go. The author’s prose remains unique and in-focus; the reader isn’t distracted by heavy-handed prose because Lancelot’s goal is the impetus for each sentence. This book can be a simple journey of self-discovery, or it can be a quest to understand innocence; the Harris has provided a story of anti-art, an understanding of the humanity that is lost or gained through the process of creation. 

Metaphors and symbolism are everywhere, but the writing is the main attraction here. Harris brings this world to life as if he were painting the pages rather than writing them. Lancelot came to life; I wanted to know what he would learn, and most of all, I wanted to know how he would learn it; The Installation is an interesting setting that is fun to explore through Lancelot’s eyes; his quest for Lana is a fun adventure that can be enjoyed without delving deeply into the text, although Harris allows you to understand the story on your own level, just like Lancelot. If you’re curious to know what the heck that cat is doing on the front of the cover… 

A fun read. I appreciated the prose and the author’s unique approach to the concepts that are explored within the book’s pages. Harris has a bright future ahead of him; it’s hard to believe this is his first book. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Hellraiser Comics: Read Them

Fanboy Rant:

The Hellraiser Comics are Cool

I’m not sure why, but I’ve recently become obsessed with Clive Barker’s work. If you’re a horror fan and have never read The Books of Blood or The Hellbound Heart, you need to read them. Now. I can recommend several other works by Barker, but I suggest you start with The Books of Blood. The movies that have been based on his fiction are classics in their own right: Candyman, Nightbreed, Lord of Illusions, and of course, Hellraiser. For all intents and purposes, we only count the first two Hellraiser films, despite everything Doug Bradley has done to keep the others from being disastrous.

If you’ve seen the Hellraiser films, you’d be happy to know that Clive Barker himself will have a hand in the reboot, although he hasn’t stayed away from Pinhead’s crew completely over the years. The Hellraiser comics from Boom! comics pick up the storyline after the second film; all of your favorite characters are back. The storyline is resumed, almost as if the graphic novels were written right after the second movie was released.

I’m a horror nerd, and I figured I would share my enjoyable reading experience with other horror nerds. The conflict between Pinhead and Kirsty is at the center of the mythos, and it’s the driving force behind the new story. Kirsty and some of her friends have been all over the world hunting down artifacts that act as portals to Hell, just like the infamous puzzle box. 

Pinhead has been shown a glimpse of his former self (in the second film… like I said, these books are faithful to the story every step of the way), and has decided that he wants to become human again so he can find redemption and salvation. Pinhead needs Kirsty’s help to enact his complicated plan. This basic premise reveals nothing about what actually happens in the graphic novels; this is the basic premise of a complex narrative.

New characters and new demonic creatures grace the well-illustrated pages. Clive Barker’s direct involvement means that more of his hellish universe is revealed; some of Barker’s sketches for the new demons are included in one of the graphic novels, which is an interesting treat.

If you love Clive Barker, or if you just love the Hellraiser movies, I recommend you check out the graphic novels. The story might be a little confusing for people who’ve never been exposed to Hellraiser before, which means it’s a faithful composition that includes horror icons fans of the genre all over the world can identify.

*As of right now, Amazon shows the same cover for books four and five, but they do have different covers. I can attest to this.

Friday, July 5, 2013


By Grant Wamack

What is bizarro fiction? Well that's a damn good question. Let's go back in time to answer this question. Follow me, young world.

When I was 17, I was just coming off my Lovecraft phase and looking for something different; something weird. I stumbled across bizarro when I found out about Eraserhead. I researched bizarro head honchos such as Carlton Mellick, Kevin L. Donihe, Jeremy Robert Johnson, etc. At first the whole idea scared me. I pictured surreal stories that would just fly over my head. Regrettably, I moved on. 

However, a year later a lot of bizarro writers were creeping into a lot of horror magazines and anthologies I read. So I gave them a chance and I fell in love. These stories were absurd, similar to Kafka, but to a higher degree. They were funny and weird but at the same time relate-able. I want to stress that word again: relate-able. Throughout all the weirdness and quirkiness, there was always a human element you could clutch on to that made me feel for the characters no matter the situation. 

Bizarro is an umbrella term for the weird, the absurd and/or the quirky usually with a dash of humor mixed. Think cult movies-those weird films that you love but you have no idea why. All you know is that they're ridiculous fun. 

In terms of writing, bizarro gives me the freedom to do what I want. I'm not saying breaking literary rules or just being weird for the sake of being weird, but I don't have to worry about staying within a genre. Many times I can just let my imagination run wild, crossing multiple genres and forcing the reader to react in a variety of ways. 

*Shameless plug alert* 

If you would like to find out more about bizarro visit or you could just dive in and buy Grant's bizarro novella Notes from the Guts of a Hippo here

Grant Wamack writes weird fictions, raps and weaves dreams at night. During the day, the Navy employs him as a Mass Communication Specialist, in other words, a "super" journalist. Visit his website here

Monday, July 1, 2013


If you know horror fiction, you've heard the name Max Booth III, and the proof is that you've just read this sentence. An editor for Dark Moon Books and co-founder/editor for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Max does a lot behind the scenes to bring quality fiction to people who feel like reading now and then. Critic, editor, and satirist; Max is a force on the move in the literary world, with work that bends our perception of literature and genre. Referred to as the "Douglas Adams of horror fiction," Max was kind enough to hang out and talk about his latest book you're supposed to be reading, They Might Be Demons, and share his musings about writing and aliens.

To understand the myth behind the man, we'd like to start by asking about your genesis as a writer: what made you decide to publish your first story?

Well, I’ve been writing since I was seven years-old. It’s just something that I’ve always been fond of. There has never been any other person that I’ve wished to be. My first story was published was I was seventeen. I was one of those who were taken advantage of by Anthony (Tony) Giangregorio with his Open Casket Press company. Fortunately I’ve had better luck with who’s published me since then.

How did you get into the editing business? What was your first gig?

I used to belong to a now defunct writing website called It was basically a website where aspiring published authors would post their stories and others would critique them. It got to a point where some of the new members would send me their stories ahead of time to go through and fix. So I guess that was my first experience with editing. My actual first gig, however, was with Dark Moon Digest. I answered a call for editors, passed the initial trial run, and was hired as a story editor. I’ve since been promoted to Assistant Editor of the magazine.

Tell us about the process behind They Might Be Demons; did you write it wherever, whenever…?

Originally, Dark Moon Books wanted to do a book series of authors penning short flash fiction collections. However, that idea fell apart, but the publisher—Stan Swanson—contacted me about doing a collection anyway, since I had previously pitched my idea for the book series, and he liked it. My idea was basically basing every story on the same day, in the same town, with most of the same characters. So I started working on it, but it wasn’t exactly a project I focused all my energy on, but more of a book that I would go to when I was feeling extra silly—add a chapter here, there, then leave it for a few weeks. Eventually, it became a finished product. If it’s even legal to call this thing a ‘product’.

The demons in your book seemed to enjoy their vacation on Earth. Did they have an after-party?

They would have, but the author had already hit “SEND” to the publisher.

Your work seems to balance moments of horror, humor, and humanity for an enjoyable reading experience; emotion and entertainment are wrapped up in a nice package. Is there a particular moment while writing There Might Be Demons that really stands out as a memorable experience? Is there a specific piece you're fond of?

I’m really a fan of the copyright page. I didn’t personally write it, but my publisher did, and I think he did a top notch job.

The demons in your book decide to grab a bite to eat; where would they go? Whatburger, Wendy's, Subway… or would they prefer finer cuisine? (Describe your demons a bit, what they might eat, etc.)

I imagine that some of the more ancient demons who are more behind on the times would visit Five Guys, Burgers and Fries based on the prospect of eating five guys. Plus, you know, their food is delicious.

Why do you think your work can be categorized as "bizarro" fiction? Did you consciously choose this as a genre? What the heck is bizarro, anyway?

I did not consciously choose it as bizarro fiction, no. I just set out to write something extremely goofy. This is the result. Bizarro fiction, to me, is humorous horror that even your dreams would find unbelievable and weird. The kind of stuff you doodled on the back of your math homework in 5th grade.

If an alien showed up at your front door, what would it want, and why would it want it? Would the alien share its name with you, or would it just want to hang out and eat a Big Mac?

It’d probably want to borrow five bucks. Aliens are always trying to borrow money from me. I’m sick of it.

Kurt Vonnegut seems to be a major influence on your writing; is there a particular work that stands out to you from Vonnegut? Are there other literary authors who you're particularly fond of? In other words, if you could play Texas Hold 'Em with any authors, living or dead, who would it be?

I’ll go with the obvious choice and pick Slaughterhouse-Five. It is hilarious and depressing and horrifying, and I am a sucker for time travel. As for other authors, I would love to have dinner with Christopher Moore.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would portray you? What kind of movie would it be?

Tim Roth would play me, and the movie would be called Four Rooms.

How have you changed as a writer since your first piece was published?

Well, I think I’ve gotten a few inches taller. I’ve gained weight. I started watching Doctor Who. I’ve also began insisting people tell me about themselves in the form of book blurbs.

Our blog spends a lot of time advertising and writing about zombie stuff; you happen to be involved with the horror sub-genre. One of your pieces in They Might Be Demons showcases an interesting discussion on zombies; what do you think are some of the problems with the genre, and where do you think might happen in the near future with zombie literature?

I’ve read and edited a lot of zombie fiction and the problem I always come across is the majority of them read exactly the same. There’s a man with a gun and he shoots the undead a bunch of times in the head, then he escapes or kills himself. It’s all just Dead Rising-fan fiction. There’s not enough focus on actual plot. As for the future of zombie fiction, I was beginning to think that it was slowing dying. However, with the recent release of World War Z: The Movie Based off the Title of an Unrelated Book, I think it’s going to come back full force. And I guess that’s a good thing, since I’m currently writing a zombie novel, which is something I promised myself of never doing.

 As an editor, what's the biggest pet-peeve you have?

Peeved pets.

Which authors are you reading these days?

I just started King’s Joyland, but what’s the point in naming authors you’ve already heard of? From the small press line, I’ve been really enjoying Richard Thomas, Christian A. Larsen, Jay Wilburn, T. Fox Dunham and some guy named Vincenzo Bilof.

If you decided to live on the Mars colony and you were allowed to bring only one, special personal item, what would it be? Why? (This one might be a book)

I would take the expression, “That’s so Raven”, with me.

Let's get personal for a moment: can you tell us about a particularly memorable nightmare? Do you think it's shown up in your writing somewhere?

My therapist has recommended I do not share my dreams with anyone else.

Do you have any advice for wannabe writers like myself?

Be like Nike and Just Do It.

Thanks for the help, Max! Is there something else you want to tell your adoring fans before you go?

I am a sad and thirsty tomato in a garden of intentional neglect.


Max Booth III is the editor-in-chief of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, assistant editor of Dark Moon Digest and fiction editor of Kraken Press. He has edited various anthologies and authored the books True Stories Told by a Liar and They Might Be Demons, along with a few others being juggled around submission purgatory. Follow him on Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth and visit his website