More Bizarro Than Bizarro – Q&A
Name: John Thomas Allen
Story Title:The Place of No Context
Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?
“Bizarro” is the only genre-non-genre out there. You can write and send anything. Some of the strangest material I’ve read has been the most illuminating.
What does Bizarro fiction mean to you?
Bizarro means “you can write absolutely anything” as opposed to “you can write absolutely anything *but*….and then some ideology.
What was the first Bizarro book you read?
Leonora Carrington’s book “Down Below” was the first book I’ve read which respected nothing. No boundaries, and her account of life in a mental hospital during that time is a vehicle for outrage and an admiration for her resilience. She’s just recently getting her “official” reception in literature. To repeat Thom Gunn about Mina Loy canonization: “As it she cared.”
And which Bizarro book has had the biggest influence on you?
“Hollow Faces, Merciless Moons” by William Scott Home—hard to find—and “The Boy Who Loved Death” by Hal Duncan.
How would you pitch your story to potential readers?
I’ve contextualized books for people but “The Place of No Context” isn’t really fiction. It is more about what’s happening second by second with the internet. They would immediately recognize what is going on in it because we are all living at least half virtual lives.
How close was the finished story to your initial vision?
I sent it to a really top notch horror novelist, T.E. Grau, and he gave me some points for revision. It wasn’t hard for me to do because I felt I had to do it. When you don’t feel you have to do it, that’s when it is hard.
Do you have any additional publishing plans for 2017?
I hope to publish a prose poem/hybrid thing called “Fake Shemp” with Bizarro Pulp Press in the Spring or next year. I’m primarily a poet, not a prose writer, so that will be awesome. And I have a King In Yellow story emerging in “Ghostlight: A Magazine of Terror”.
Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together an anthology, what would be your chosen theme?
I’d like to see an anthology of fiction by writers from all genres about how their community or more specifically they would act if something like the black plague were to re-emerge. Get down to the roots of things!