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!

How To Make Horror Fiction Cool Again (Or How I Got Blocked On Facebook By Joe Lansdale)

This past week, renowned author Joe Lansdale blocked me on social media. He blocked me because I took exception to a post of his denigrating prayer while the bodies of the Texas church shooting victims still lay in the morgue.

Mr. Lansdale also used this opportune time as families of the victims still stood in shock at what had happened to call for stricter gun control. Never mind that the perpetrator of the shooting had obtained these guns either totally illegally or because of a clerical error at the US Air force after being dishonorably discharged for abusing his own ex-wife and son.

Nevermind that the person who stopped the shooting before the perpetrator was finished murdering everyone in the church was an ex-NRA instructor and expert marksman who shot him at least twice and chased him off the church property.

In short, Mr. Lansdale was just being your average horror novelist on social media in the current year. And when pressed to defend his beliefs and statements after having spent years getting rich and famous off of gun violence, he saw fit to shut down and silence the conversation rather than let the marketplace of free ideas decide if he was right or wrong.

Look, Joe Lansdale is one of my favorite authors. He is a powerhouse storyteller and has inspired me and my writing for years. Also, I’m no Christian. I’m a staunch atheist. But there is a time and a place to debate the practicalities and effectiveness of religious prayer (you might be surprised where I fall on that particular topic.) And that time ain’t while the blood is still drying on the church floor.

Furthermore, before abruptly ending the conversation and blocking me, Mr. Lansdale made the audacious claim that he writes ultra-violent shoot-em-up fiction AS CAUTIONARY TALES because we live in violent times!

This is akin to the Notorious BIG or Snoop Dogg claiming that they didn’t glorify gang culture. That their music, videos and lifestyle were merely a reflection of the rough and tumble streets in which they grew up. These excuses were always tongue in cheek as they pushed the gang bang aesthetic further and further and shoveled boatloads of cash into their bank accounts in the process.

As a final nail in the coffin, Mr. Lansdale then admitted to being a gun owner himself. Now I don’t know or care where he lives or if this analogy literally applies to him or not, but calling for gun control as a celebrity is exactly the same to me as a celebrity who calls for open borders or lax immigration laws while living behind gated all-white communities protected by armed guards.

In other words, Mr. Lansdale is virtue signalling to his liberal masters (while I have to imagine alienating a large portion of his audience) doing his best to claim some kind of moral high ground while ignoring blocking and refusing to participate in discussions about his blatant hypocrisy.

And Joe Lansdale is not alone. Not only is he not alone in his sanctimonious liberal virtue signalling, he’s not alone in having blocked me on social media for calling him out and trying to make him explain his public positions on social matters. Positions which serve to do nothing except keep his head safe in this era of SJW witch hunting.

For such a bold writer willing to take so many chances in his fiction, in the real world he capitulates immediately to the most trendy and popular talking points of his compatriots. It’s almost like his publishing contracts and money train are at stake?

In our brief exchange, I compared Mr. Lansdale to Alice Cooper in the 90s. After decades of taunting and fanning the flames of the Satanic Panic and getting rich doing so, Mr. Cooper retired to liberal land where he played golf and conveniently claimed to be a Christian. Claimed he was only playing a character on the Tee-Vee.

It’s no coincidence that rock music and heavy metal fell off in the late 90s and has never recovered. As such, horror fiction has fallen off due in no small part to the great authors of the genre from the 80s and 90s like Joe Lansdale pulling an Alice Cooper, trying to have it both ways capitalizing on the culture while trying to act morally superior to it.

If we ever want to make horror fiction cool again, we have to start ruffling some feathers. Live the goddamn gimmick, man. You want to scare people? Shock people? Piss people off? Get people talking? We have to start taking cultural risks again. Dare to be unpopular with trendy mainstream cultural values.

Especially those of us who write bizarro and hardcore horror. We expect readers to take our fiction seriously as truly provocative when the majority of us are triggered by the lamest little incidents online? When we fall all over ourselves to virtue signal to whatever new trendy activist hashtag pops up next week?

Nah, son.

Show kids that breaking the conditioning of our oppressive liberal masters and screaming outside the lines, that we will NOT do what they fucking tell us not only has value and significance, but is cool as fuck to do.

If we’re ever going to make horror cool again, we have to start living the lifestyle. Fuck the system. Raise hell.




How to Revive Bizarro Fiction

With the recent closure of Lazy Fascist Press and Bizarrocon seeming to draw less people with each passing year, it’s time to talk about what we can do to revitalize the genre of bizarro fiction.

When LFP announced earlier this year that it would be closing its doors, several reasons were given. The editor was too triggered by the name of the press given current social and political climates to continue operating a publishing imprint containing the term “fascist.” Understandable considering his compatriots’ enthusiasm and affiliation with the hard-left communist domestic terrorist organisation ANTIFA.

Another reason given is one that I’ve been warning against for over a year here on the pages of my website: A “market downturn.”

This is publishing-speak for “our audience evaporated and we don’t know why.” But we do know why. We know that years of capitulating to one alt-left moral hysteria after another and endless ugly in-genre witch hunts have reduced the readership of bizarro fiction down to only people who aspire to be bizarro fiction writers.

The alt-left progressive gate-keepers of the genre are a humorless bunch. They’re male feminists who spend a good portion of their online footprint being as white as milk while using the term “white people” as a pejorative, and lecturing the public about whatever nonsense neo-Marxist outrage topic is trendy on Twitter this week.

You’ve all seen those cringe-worthy Berkeley ANTIFA videos by now. The upper-middle class white kids who can’t answer basic questions about Communism or Marxism or what the hell they’re even there protesting about. These are the people who claim to be arbiters of bizarro fiction. But as Dr. Jordan Peterson would say, they can’t even clean their own bloody rooms let alone lead a contemporary weird fiction movement.

These dorks are about as cool and edgy as the rapping pastor from the 90s viral video and no matter how many articles they write on trendy lit sites trying to convince you otherwise, it only takes a cursory glance at today’s glut of bizarro books to see that, aside from a few mavericks who self-motivate to push the boundaries, bizarro fiction is in a state of stagnation that offers nothing remotely transgressive or counter-culture to someone searching for a “different” literary experience.

So now that we’ve established that modern bizarro fiction is about as cool as your mom trying to meme on Facebook, the question is, what the fuck do we do about it?

Bizarro is a genre. Albeit a genre that the alt-left gatekeepers have poorly defined over the years leading most people to believe it’s just a lazy goof-off comedy sub-genre of horror or worse that it’s just surreal or experimental alt-lit. But it’s not.

Or at least it shouldn’t be. It hasn’t always been. In its heyday, bizarro was truly transgressive, shocking, offensive. The point of the weird, gross or obscene titles and covers was to evoke a visceral reaction from the reader. “No way did they go there! How the fuck is THAT a book?”

When was the last time you can remember being shocked or offended by a bizarro cover? The trendiest bizarros of today act like moral church ladies. They’re too concerned about their online reputations on social media to dare shock or offend anymore. Bizarro has become milquetoast.

We have to take it back.

I think the only way to do that is to inject an entirely different culture into bizarro fiction. Can you name a single conservative or alt-right bizarro fiction writer? Even one? One of the guiding principals of modern bizarro is to capitulate toward progressive politics. The brain-dead gate-keepers will assure you that this is simply a matter of self-evident natural progression. That all subversive subcultures are left-leaning.

Except that they’re not and haven’t been for some time. The alt-left is as mainstream as mainstream gets. Eminem and The View share talking points with the alt-left. They’re cozied up next to the godawful late night talk show hosts and Kathy fucking Griffin. This movement completely lacks self-awareness. They’re trendy. Worse, they’re boring.

The only way to keep this amazing genre that’s circling the drain from disappearing forever into the blackness of post-modern neo-Marxism is to teach a new generation about its potential as an art form.

Modern bizarros will tell you that what’s bizarre is too commonplace now. That memes are more weird than anything an author can dream up. They’re half right. The memers of the new generation, the internet shitposters who draw shitty comics and create shocking, politically incorrect Pepe memes are the PERFECT heirs to bizarro fiction.

We need the 4channers, the meme factory workers, we need generation Z to pick up the ball the alt-lefters dropped somewhere back in 2011 or 2012. Will Amazon carry books with titles and covers meant to provoke outrage from normies? Who gives a fuck? Bizarro is dead as a door-nail as it is. In another few years, all the bizarro small presses will close up shop or be bought up by bigger publishers who will sanitize the genre even further.

There is literally nothing to lose. Bizarro is failing either way. Fuck Amazon. Fuck even putting neo-bizarro fiction into book form if none of the POD printers will fuck with it. We can publish TRULY transgressive fiction on our websites. On maverick social media like Minds or Gab.ai. Hell even 4chan has a /lit/ section.

Where bizarro goes from here is not up to the alt-lefties in Portland. They had their chance and they blew it. They’re just trying to figure out how to stay afloat in this “market downturn” era. There’s never been a better time to reinvent bizarro and return it to the spirit of what made bizarro so special to begin with.

The genre is yours. What are you gonna do with it?