2017 The Year In Strange


2017 saw more than two thirds of the total traffic this website has ever seen. It was by far our biggest year. It was also the year I lost nearly every single liberal friend and colleague I’ve ever had. I lost friends so close to me this year, I had to re-write my living will to remove a guy I trusted so much, I was willing to put my entire literary legacy in his hands after I die.

It’s also the year I launched my podcast network and skyrocketed past 20,000 downloads due to my coverage of the Bizarrocon and Bizarrogate controversies. Speaking honestly about those two events got me blacklisted and excommunicated from the horror and bizarro small press communities.

2017 was also the year I showed everyone in those communities that their endorsement is basically worthless. I have higher web traffic than even their main hub for bizarro fiction, BizarroCentral.com. I am far more popular now without their seal of approval than I ever was with it. In fact, it seems to me like the years between retiring from filmmaking and leaving the bizarro community did little other than hold me back artistically and socially.

2017 was the year I finally drew a line in the sand and stood up for my country and my culture after years of biting my tongue in a sea of liberal writers. Yes, everything before this year WAS me biting my tongue. As outspoken and vociferous as I’ve always been, I’ve always tried to maintain an air of civility and open-mindedness about my liberal cohorts.

But Trump derangement syndrome changed all of that. It is no longer possible for me to sit by and watch so-called professional writers claim that “white men” are responsible for all of the atrocities on the planet. I can’t sit back and listen to them psychotically call President Trump a Nazi, or anyone who disagrees with their opinions Nazis for that matter. I can’t allow editors and publishers of so-called subversive fiction to publicly praise censorship and privately reject any fiction not expressly promoting and praising progressive politics.

Brilliant authors have been reduced to writing inside a narrow minefield of topics and points of view for fear of offending the alt-left feminist leaders who have taken over small press fiction. Writers who in years past have never shied away from controversy now just existing as quiet, muted voices fearing that they’ll be the next white guy to fall to the ferocious beast that is the progressive Left.

Amazingly talented artists have gone off the deep end and now just draw pictures of Donald Trump and Mike Pence as gay lovers as if being gay lovers is some kind of insult.

Worse are the soy boy male feminists who have decided that the best way to navigate Trump Derangement Syndrome is to go balls-in and pretend that their girlfriends and wives ballooning up an extra 75 pounds, growing out their armpit hair and dyeing it blue while shrieking like starving hyenas on social media about the evils of all men is AWESOME! If 2017 has taught us anything it’s that the male feminist is feminism’s biggest target right now.

These guys have to spend every night laying awake just sweating bullets hoping against hope that their number isn’t picked next.

2017 saw the closing of Lazy Fascist Press, one of the premiere bizarro small press publishing imprints. Although, ask anyone associated with them and they’ll tell you that the mysterious “market downturn” had nothing to do with Trump Derangement Syndrome nor the curious tendency for more and more bizarro authors to simply stop writing bizarro fiction while pushing for mainstream literary acceptance.

Even though the editor of LFP himself said he’s a leftist who feels uncomfortable owning a press with the word fascist in its title. He’s gone so far as to leave the press’s logo off of the last few books released by the imprint. If that’s not Trump Derangement Syndrome, I don’t know what is.

This time last year I was promoting my newest short story collection ALL THE TOXIC WASTE FROM MY HEART. I went on to publish two more novels in 2017, I DIED IN A BED OF ROSES and BEETLE BRAIN while I serialized a 4th book for free right here on this website called SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN which is currently published through chapter 32.

My podcast READING TO STRANGERS not only covered controversial publishing news, we also recorded and released half a dozen brand new audio books from the Kevin Strange collection. I hope to get back to recording in the new year to provide you with even more audio flavor from Strangeville.

Not to be outdone, our podcast partner Jeremy Maddux launched a podcast on the Strangeville Podcast Network in 2017 called THE QUIET PLACE. Jeremy broke his own ground by covering a myriad of important social, political and publishing world topics. He was able to secure fantastic interviews with highly relevant guests like conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison, Lovecraftian historian ST Joshi, freelance journalist and tip-of-the-spear covering the Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas Scott Binsak and many, many more.

2017 was by far one of the best ever for Strangeville. I see nothing but greatness on the horizon in the next few years, as well. Conservative voices will continue to rise throughout western culture but particularly in the entertainment fields where progressives and deranged feminists have begun to lose their choke hold on audiences.

I will proudly count myself among those new voices who offer a sane alternative to all of the caterwauling and teeth gnashing coming from the insane Left. President Trump is truly making America great again and we here in Strangeville are doing our part to make conservatism weird again!

God bless and happy new year from Kevin Strange and all the peculiar denizens of Strangeville!

From Wonderland to Sad Puppies- Kevin’s 2015 Year in Review

12074588_10154229043183098_1875444079680907625_n (1)When I first picked up my pen in 2010 and decided to try my hand at fiction, I wasn’t sure how long that experiment would last. I didn’t know if I was any good. I just knew I still had a fiery passion for telling stories, and that making micro budget horror comedy movies just wasn’t cutting it any more. It was too hard for what little payoff we were getting. Our flicks always looked like we were goofing off. But behind the scenes, my crew and I were hardly fucking around. Back to back 16 hour shoot days would leave us exhausted and raw.

Three months later we’d hit the road with the finished flick and people would laugh at us at our convention tables like we were all retarded. They were right. We were retarded for putting all of that work into movies that ended up looking like crappy rush jobs that couldn’t have taken more than a day or two to slap together. I couldn’t keep doing that to myself and my crew. 5 years and 7 movies with little to show for it had been enough.

I quit.

Now here I am, ringing in 2016 and my SIXTH year as a published author. I’ve now officially been writing books longer than I made movies. And I still love it, and I still have a fiery passion for telling stories, in spite of everything that’s been thrown in my way. In spite of the people who continue to create barriers, email publishers talking mad shit on me, refuse to pay me my earned royalties, and everything else that’s come my way this year.

I’m still here.

2015 saw the acceptance and publication of many short stories and a double nomination for the Wonderland Book Award for Excellence in Bizarro Fiction. Two books, STRANGER DANGER and MURDER STORIES FOR YOUR BRAIN PIECE were nominated in the collection category. A double nomination. A Wonderland Award first.

2015 also saw the publication of the novel I started back in November of last year. TEXAS CHAINSAW MANTIS. My 9th published book. I’ve now written more books than I made movies.

I moved out of the South St. Louis City hood this year, too after my apartment was robbed. I live in the county now and I don’t fear for my life when I go to and from my car anymore. In spite of losing all connection to the publishing house that I founded, the house that still uses my name to sell books, in spite of being unceremoniously ejected from two anthologies that I personally created, in spite of all of that, I’m still here.

I was cyber stalked, bullied and harassed by a wannabe horror con artist and his girlfriend in 2015. They’re still at it by creating multiple accounts on Goodreads.com and giving one star reviews to all my books, artificially dragging the average ratings down.

DespiteĀ all of that crap, it was a decent year. I could have written more books. Pushed aside the bullshit and focused on the words on paper. But I didn’t and that’s that. What I did do is start a really cool motivational series directed at aspiring authors called Motivational Strange. It’s a lot of fun to rant and share my philosophy and wisdom from my years in the game and people are responding well to it so far.

And right here on December 31st, 2015, I just found out that my story THE TWINS from the Weird Book magazine publication was selected by TangentOnline.com for its end of year recommended reading list. I guess these guys are affiliated with the “Sad Puppies” Hugo award group. I really don’t know anything more than that. I do know that some of the small press authors associated with the Bizarro genre seem to hate the Sad Puppies with a passion, which leads me to believe that the Sad Puppies lean conservative or at least to the conservative end of the liberal spectrum because these same small press authors are so liberal they probably bleed blue.

Which is whatever. I’ve spent all the time arguing common sense to extremist political types online that I’m willing to spend. I hate politics and I hate fighting with people on social media even more. All this Sad Puppy stuff says to me is that my fiction is being praised on both sides of the social spectrum. A pair of Wonderland nominations from one side and a best of year list on the other side.

I never wanted to be affiliated with one specific genre. Ask anybody that was in the John Skipp workshop at Bizarrocon 2014 with me. I talked about how my ambition as an author was to transcend genres and to blur the lines like Joe Lansdale or Harlan Ellision.

It appears I’ve succeed at least in some small degree in that regard.

I can’t think of a better way to end the year than with that information. See you in 2016, gang for a whole new 365 days of Strange.

Kevin Strange’s Top 3 Bizarro Books of 2014

kevinthestrangelogo4

Another year has come and gone, gang. 2014 was one of the more challenging years since I began writing fiction full time. But, even though the year was full of doubt, ended relationships, far too much isolation and second guessing decisions, there were many bright spots, many wonderful surprises and challenges overcome, lessons learned, and friendships built and solidified with the promise of great, powerful things to come in the future.

I moved into a new apartment. I started a vlog show. I released a short story collection and a double novella with Danger Slater. I started two more novels and wrote a dozen short stories. More than enough for another collection. I ended some toxic relationships. I saved a lot of money for a cross-country move to somewhere still not decided. I launched this website. I started a newsletter and released its first issue. I attended Bizarrocon for the first time.

I began the year full of doubt that anyone truly understood me or what my goals were in this fiction game, or even in my personal life. I end the year with the profound sense that I am understood. Maybe not always liked, and often disagreed with. But understood. And that’s all life is, in the end, isn’t it? A battle cry out into the emptiness of space. Hear me! Understand me! This is how I interpret the human condition! This is my sliver of the universe perceiving itself!

The calendar resetting doesn’t change who we are, fundamentally. But it gives us a moment of pause to assess where we came from and where we’re going. As long as we’re healthy enough, and have the piece of mind, we can take another step forward. Every journey in life, in love, and toward success starts with that first step every day, week, month, and year.

Here’s to that first step into the new year, gang. For all of us, let’s make it a good one.

-Kevin Strange

 

OK, with that nonsense out of the way, here are my top three bizarro books of 2014:

 

20141230_180123

1. Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus- Cameron Pierce and Jim Agpalza

This is, hands down, my favorite book of 2014 and one of the very best bizarro books I’ve ever read. It is sad. It is violent. It is bleak. It is full of the most beautiful imagery Jim has ever created. All of his strengths are at work here. Awkward looking gaunt characters with looks of profound sadness that only Jim can create. Lots of nudity, an Agpalza mainstay. But more than those things, he’s able to take Pierce’s ethereal, dreamlike prose, and just go with the flow. Mom is young and beautiful until she isn’t. The humans are real, until they’re puppets. Tetsuo grows a whale foot named Candle. Summer goes blind and becomes something less than human. Cameron has written his darkest, most bleak tale to date. Jim has created his finest, weirdest illustrations to date. This is a masterwork of bizarro fiction. I can’t wait to see these two giants of the weird collaborate again.

2. Wormjob- M.T. Granberry

Humor is extremely hard to pull off in fiction. Many brand new authors attempt humor because it feels safe. Like they’re not committing to much. Like they’re simply goofing off and if they fail, oh well, they weren’t taking themselves seriously anyway. Humor is often employed by those afraid to fail. The problem is, those people aren’t actually committing to much. They aren’t actually putting much thought toward their comedy. This is true for all art. Movies, music. A lot of brand new artists think starting by goofing off is the best way to test the waters before they plunge in with what they really have to say to the universe.

And that’s fine. Maybe that’s the way it should be. But most of the time, those jokes aren’t funny, and that humor is really bad. Not the case with M.T. Granberry’s Wormjob. This delicious body horror tale of a woman getting experimental breast implants full of, you guessed it, parasitic worms is an absurdist tale to be sure. But the humor is funny. The absurdity is the style in which we’re told these awful people’s story. And it works! It works so well it had me laughing out loud.

Fiction doesn’t have to be crafted with pompous, pretentious prose to be moving and tell a larger truth. Newspaper comics have been cutting right to the heart of truth with absurdist cartoons for more than a hundred years. And that’s what Wormjob is. A cartoon in prose attacking the absurdity of superficial, manufactured beauty. The plastic surgery industry. Consumerism. Religion. And it is done well!

Don’t let the silliness of Wormjob fool you, Mr. Granberry is a powerful voice in bizarro fiction. One that will create many more tales of the absurd that just might give you pause and make you think that maybe, it’s not his fiction that’s absurd, but the world around you instead.

3. Kill Ball-Carlton Mellick III

For an author with 40+ books in print, one might guess that Carlton Mellick III might be running out of things to say in his fiction. And while a lot of his books aren’t exactly making profound statements about the human condition, they are always weird, always heart-felt and typically do leave the reader with a few things to chew on after they’ve closed the book.

Kill Ball shows a true bizarro veteran’s ability to take just about any premise, and create characters and a plot around them that are both engaging and honest. When Kill Ball begins, we meet a young boy who wants to touch his ailing mother so badly, he crawls inside of her protective plastic bubble, only to see her melt before his eyes. Fast forward a decade, and everyone on earth lives inside mobile plastic bubbles lest they meet the same melty fate.

That’s the setup. That’s the world Carlton creates for us, and does so effortlessly. Within 15 pages, you’re immersed in bubble world not questioning for a second the ridiculous idea that an entire planet of people would bounce around inside plastic bubbles. That’s easy to do when reading a Mellick book, because he approaches these nonsense premises with absolute sincerity.

What follows is a classic Italian horror tale of a leather clad killer ball chasing down and murdering strippers. It gets really weird and takes several turns that you will not see coming. It’s a solid book with a crazy premise that works on every level. If this guy is still hitting homeruns at 40+ books, imagine what he’ll be writing when he gets close to triple digits? I, for one, can’t wait.