Do you love and seek out weirdness? Do you want to read things that stimulate your imagination and make you see the world differently? Are you sick of things that are boring? We are! Everyone says that they want to read something unique, but not everyone means it like bizarro fiction readers. We want books where the wacky sidekick is the main character! We want books where we couldn’t guess what would happen next because no one could! We aren’t satisfied by traditional tropes and prefer them mashed together and served with a side of weirdness. We like things surreal, absurd, dark, sexy, funny and beautiful all at the same time!
Founded in 1999, Eraserhead Press is an independent publisher of bizarro fiction and cutting-edge horror. Under the leadership of Rose O’Keefe, the press has developed an international cult following for its main line of trade paperbacks and e-books. The HWA Speciality Press Award-winning press has published over four hundred titles by 150 different authors including Piers Anthony, Brian Keene, Michael Cisco, Stephen Graham Jones, Carlton Mellick III, Jeremy Robert Johnson, John Skipp, Edward Lee, J.F. Gonzalez, Laura Lee Bahr, and Wrath James White. The company publishes under three imprints: Deadite Press, Fungasm Press and The New Bizarro Author Series.
Located in Portland, Oregon, Eraserhead Press is the oldest and largest publisher of bizarro fiction having helped introduce readers to the genre with The Bizarro Starter Kit and The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade anthologies. In addition to publishing unique well-crafted books, they have experimented with different business models, from their humble beginning as a DIY zine publisher, to an author collective, a volunteer staff of for-the-love writer/editors, to a full-time publishing house with multiple imprints and international distribution. Eraserhead Press has gained a reputation for their eye-catching covers and compelling titles such as The Haunted Vagina, Help! A Bear Is Eating Me!, Baby’s First Book of Seriously Fucked Up Shit, and Shatnerquake. They are also known for their unique marketing strategies like homebrewing beer in honor of their books to be served at parties, busking on street corners, selling books at film festivals and rock concerts, throwing performance art events, and advertising books inside the boxes of local pizzerias. With an eye for keeping things fun, Eraserhead Press values open-mindedness, curiosity, and artistic expression. The company motto is: Take what you do seriously but never take yourself too seriously.
Over nearly two decades, the press has been successful at attracting readers and writers, outside the mainstream, who get invested not only in the work but in the community associated with it. Readers call the books “addictive” and often comment that they’d given up on reading until encountering these books. Writers have moved to Portland to get more closely involved with the press, fans have tattooed images of the company logo and characters from the books, and half a dozen other small presses internationally have cited Eraserhead Press as an inspiration for their formation. The press also frequently collaborates with international publishers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists on adaptations and translations of the works.
Bizarro is a genre of fiction that began in 2005, Bizarro fiction books are similar in tone and style to films such as Six-String Samurai, Brazil, Repo Man, Pink Flamingos, Tromeo and Juliet, and David Lynch’s Eraserhead. And they are often inspired by the literary traditions of surrealism, absurdism and weird speculative fiction.
Satan Burger by Carlton Mellick III was the first bizarro fiction success and the genre has grown exponentially since the first wave of authors introduced in The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange) which included work by Mellick as well as Jeremy Robert Johnson, Kevin L. Donihe, Gina Ranalli, Andre Duza, Vincent W. Sakowski, Steve Beard, John Edward Lawson, and Bruce Taylor. In 2020, bizarro fiction is being published by dozens of presses and written by hundreds of authors around the world. Some of the most exciting voices currently being published in the genre are Danger Slater, Mykle Hansen, Autumn Christian, Brian Allen Carr, Robert Devereaux, Laura Lee Bahr, Cody Goodfellow, Garrett Cook, Jeff Burk, Cameron Pierce, Madeleine Swann, Jon Bassoff, Tiffany Scandal, and S.T. Cartledge.
Further reading on the introductory lists from Eraserhead Press:
An interview with publisher Rose O’Keefe, Bizarro Fiction 101: Not Just Weird for Weird’s Sake from Fantasy Magazine
The Ultimate Introduction to Bizarro Fiction from LitReactor July 26, 2013
A Beginner’s Guide to Bizarro Fiction from Flavorwire Aug. 24, 2012
Bizarro fiction: it’s terribly good from The Guardian Jul. 16, 2010
This post may contain affiliate links. Further details, including how this supports the bizarro community, may be found on our disclosure page.