The Driftless Area Review


Last February, I reviewed Pixiegate Madoka by Michael Sean LeSueur at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (CCLaP). I had an email interview with Michael, where we discussed gender politics, bizarro literature, and pop culture.


Why did you writePixiegate Madoka?

I grew up as a video game and anime nerd, but always kept a distance to the culture behind it. I was raised by my single mother and was instilled with progressive, feminist views from a young age, so I often felt myself at odds with so many of these kids shouting misogynistic/racist/transphobic/homophobic slurs and jokes over voice chat and would purposefully isolate myself from these people whose views and lifestyles I found absolutely appalling. I wanted to write a coming-of-age story inspired by the things I loved for the misguided kids I once knew in the form of a literary “OVA” [original video animation – Ed.]…

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Gratitude and Accolades

Posted: November 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

This piece is a bit late coming but I’ve been overwhelmed lately. A lot of great things happening in my life. Moved to Portland, found a place, finally nailing it down on Monday and moving my stuff in. So, there’s that and that’s great. That’s the biggest change for me but not the only one. I’ve had nose to grindstone as a Bizarro and sometime horror author in earnest for about seven years now. It’s been tough going, I’ve lost faith in myself and my work and my potential a lot. I’ve thought of every bad situation I’ve been in “this is all there is, that’s the breaks.”  I cannot count the amount I have suffered because one time or another I thought something I did didn’t matter or a hundred bucks or so for something I need could never be attained and felt millennia away.

But here in Portland, things have started to change in big ways. First of all, I have been writing much more short fiction due to the influence of my editor Jeff Burk and colleague Edward Morris and Portland’s stellar community of writers and pubishers including not only many of my Bizarro brethren, Eraserhead’s inspiring and amazing editor-in-chief and publisher Rose O’ Keefe but also the peerless Miss Jennifer Robin. I have thrice come up with fresh fiction for Ed’s reading series The Hour that Stretches, which is a great place for you to see all manner of stellar talent, such as Nathan Carson, also of the metal band Witch Mountain, whose friendship and support has been completely integral to my establishing myself in Portland. If Nate is doing something, you should see it. If he is selling something, you should buy it. But anyway, I have gotten into the habit of writing a lot of stories and one of these has managed to pay off for me in a very special way.

Ross Lockhart of Word Horde, the editor of The Book of Cthulhu, The Book of Cthulhu 2 and Tales of Jack the Ripper and also the author of Chick Bassist has accepted my story “Hello, Handsome” for his anthology Giallo Fantastique. Giallo Fantastique features an assortment of authors taking on the Italian crime genre in their own inimitable fashions. I love Gialli so made sure to ask Ross if there was space in the antho. I am relieved, grateful and proud to have gotten into this anthology. It represents my first semi pro sale. It paid a phone bill and fed me for several days. It makes me happy to have sent out one of my little bloodbirds and had it come back.

I was also proud to have recently found out that another of my stories has made some headway for my career. Integral Splatterpunk, editor and Fangoria columnist John Skipp took notice of my story “Beast with Two Backs” from the anthology In Heaven, Everything is Fine, Fiction inspired by the films of David Lynch. When I was mentioned in Fangoria online, I felt like Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show on the cover of Rolling Stone. Fangoria has been serious shit in my life. Ironically, it’s where I discovered Dario Argento, whose films were obviously an inspiration on my story for Ross’ anthology. This would have been enough to make me grateful I wrote that story and had the “HOLY FUCK, WHAT WAS THAT?” dream that inspired it. But the story didn’t stop giving from there. Ellen Datlow, THE EDITOR when it comes to horror, not only read but took notice of this story. I am proud to say that this led to an honorable mention in Best Horror of the Year 2013. I was over the moon. You don’t always get to count on any kind of money or recognition for writing, so this story and those who believed in it truly blessed me.

But I’m not through feeling grateful and bragging. I seem like a person life hasn’t been kind to and that’s often true. But my Bizarro family has blessed me deeply with their acceptance, their generosity and their friendship during this transition time and that would have been plenty. But this year, I earned a nomination for the Wonderland Award. The Wonderland Award represents the best in this genre, chosen by readers and fans and also by my peers. The Wonderland is the only award for the Bizarro genre, so the competition each year is fierce, particularly as the genre expands and the floodgates open on new works. The community surprised me again when I won this award. This means for me that my work does not go unnoticed, that the times when my sense of purpose is challenged, it is only a nightmare I am living. I write books and people give a shit. Thanks, everyone.

Wonderland Award

Me, accepting the Wonderland, but not the thought of being photographed with it.

Make Your December Weird

Posted: October 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Santa monkeys

Christmas imagery the week before Halloween. Bet it makes you mad. Mad enough….chainsaw


Yeah. Thought so. It all came together when I spotted fur from a Green Persian cat on your coat. Only one man in town owns a green Persian and that was Penderghast. Yeah. No use running now. Scotland Yard’s on the way. Or maybe it was some other guy. I don’t know. You could just have a big green angora rabbit. Whatever. I’m bored. Let’s talk about something else. Like Christmas apes and why they’re on my blog. I assure you, there’s a damn good reason.


Unlike for that giraffe. That was frankly frivolous and uncalled for. Christmas apes are a symbol. A symbol for December. A month that right now fills you with whitehot rage. Enough, perhaps…to kill! Okay, fine. I’ll stop accusing you of murder and start talking Bizarro. Bizarro is a tough genre to break into, easy as some folks make it look. It’s not that the community is insular, it’s that we make it look easy. Combine any two objects in your kitchen. Add a talking butthole. Hilarity ensues. Sadly, Toasterdildo and Kevin Spacey’s Butthole doesn’t cut it for most Bizarro publishers and if somebody takes Toasterdildo and Kevin Spacey’s Butthole, they probably only have moments before I burn their fucking house down. No, really. Kevin Spacey’s Butthole is only funny to you because you’re high or me because I can’t stop saying Kevin Spacey’s Butthole. If every offhanded remark you came up with while you were high got turned into a successful property, we would all be lined up around the block to see Michael Bay’s  “You Know What? Chipotle is Fucking Awesome!”

But just because you’re high doesn’t mean you’re dumb. We all forget that the TV is on mute sometimes. There’s hope for you yet. Bizarro takes work. It takes a new way of thinking and generating work. It takes not just technical but perceptual skillsets put to use to generate stuff nobody has seen before. And this is how we can combat the menace of Kevin Spacey’s butthole and get to the place where funny, poignant, scary, sexy, thoughtprovoking books like the ones written by me, Garrett Cook, three time Wonderland Award nominee and two time Ultimate Bizarro Showdown Winner. Garrett Cook.

For the month of December, I’ll be showing twelve lucky Bizarro cubs how to roar like Bizarro lions. You’re gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware!  There are ten slots in this class remaining and they’re gonna go fast. It’s done via Facebook group, four exercises each on different aspects of the Bizarro thought process will get four stories written and put you in a place where you can more easily see what your flavor of weird tastes like. And make sure that, once again, that flavor is not Kevin Spacey’s butthole. Anyone can do this, no matter how little or how much Bizarro you’ve written.


Ha, ha! Yes, even you, Tiny Mechagodzilla. But only if you get off the smack. Email for more info. Or just outright Paypal $25 ($35 after November 14th) if you think information’s for sissies and cowards!

Two years ago, my Bizarro colleague Jordan Krall asked me to write a series of monster paperbacks for his chapbook publisher Dynatox Ministries. While I was excited to do this, I was not sure I could publish them or if readers would embrace me writing extreme gothic horror. A few months later, I decided to give it a try under a pseudonym. Thus, Henry Price was born. I got in touch with some of my darkest places and some of my nastiest influences. It was fun, cathartic  and horrific. 

Not only did it sell well, but it got some good feedback from everyone  who purchased the chapbook. The series continued and went into even more brutal places. A third followed in the Summer. It’s been fun to be Henry Price and I look forward to creating more under this guise. 

Now, the first two Satan’s Mummy books are now available on Kindle. These previously existed only as limited edition chapbooks. 

Satan’s Mummy on Kindle

Satan’s Mummy vs. Teenage Frankenstein on Kindle



Five More Julie Newmar Stories

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

This Friday, Bizarrocentral put up four of my Julie Newmar, strange little prosepoetics bits of flash fiction about Julie Newmar and my complicated relationship with women. You can read them here. Since some of you seemed to enjoy those, here are five more.One of these first appears in my cryptic poetry/prose chapbook Pserpent Psalms, available for only 1.08, or once cent per psalm. 


            Another Fine Mess


Julie Newmar has discovered my secret and my five bosses are coming over for a dinner party to discuss my promotion. My bosses are deciding if I should be promoted or shot out of a cannon into space. I get my dog, the Indian actor Sabu, and we bury my secret. Relieved, we rock out to Steely Dan. My five bosses arrive on the back of their bosslizards, the race of reptilians that conspiracy theorists believe rule the Earth. Bosses rule the Earth instead, since they are bosses. I am nervous when Julie Newmar walks in in an apron and polka dot dress. She might not be ‘, as I previously thought. She is carrying a tray of delicious rice crispy squares.


“Honey,” she says,  “you never told me your bosses were so handsome.”


I notice now that my bosses are all Julie Newmar wearing a fake mustache. Julie Newmar kisses me on the cheek. My bosses do not promote me but they do give me a gift certificate for Henderson’s mustache wax.


My bosses leave.


“Why?” I ask.


Julie Newmar laughs.


“You’ve got an awful lot to learn about humans, Garrett Cook.”







Julie Newmar walks into my office. I’ve been expecting her. I expected her to wear the outfit, to offer the dance as tribute before she opens her mouth to explain. The dance should just about cover it. I pour her a glass of scotch and I pour me a glass of Scotch. I don’t like it. Seems like she’s hiding something. I know she is.  I expected this. I make a phonecall and it’s confirmed. Professor Lundquist’s invention is a weapon. A terrible weapon the likes of which the world has never seen and there are people who would pay a fortune to get their hands on it. Her betrayal wounds me deeply. She places her hand on my oozing betrayal wound and it feels nice. The look in her eyes is exciting. “I knew I came to the right man for the job,” she says. And now I know as well.





Julie Newmar walks into my office, tells me the mask I’m wearing is too pallid and waxy by far. I’m annoyed by this since she hasn’t come to get me to solve a case or to seek reparations for some harm that I have done, merely to complain of my mask. The mask and jaundiced heart are my business as any man’s mask and jaundiced heart are his business. She hums a few bars of a Dylan song I like. No, not that one. I would not stay frightful if it was that one. She does it purrfectly. And I would approach her, but I wearing this mask and my skin and soul and heart are jaundiced. I fear it is ‘ in a Julie Newmar costume just as Julie Newmar wears a Catwoman costume that some theologians would say is the guise of ‘. But those who do would be quite cruel to cats. Those who do would show no love at all for cats. I hold out my arms for nought until I no longer feel like extending my arms, but like pounding a piano or performing a blasphemous play.


“Will you be in my play?” I ask, confidently, boldly.


She shudders. Her fingers twitch. But from somewhere she doesn’t recognize, a “yes, of course” emerges.




It’s So Cold in Alaska


“I’m the jealous type,” says Julie Newmar, spearing a big chunk of my salad.

“Waiter,” I say, to change the subject, “there’s a Deep One in my soup.”

“Who,” she asks, “is ‘?”

I rise to my feet, leap up on the table and draw my gun.

“Waiter, I said, there is a Deep One in my soup!”

The fishy baby in my minestrone coos. I try to ignore the resemblance and I try to ignore the resemblance of this situation to a story by Orson Scott Card, whose other works I never really liked. Sabu, howling and whining at my feet, still a dog, wants a taste and I’m tempted to give it to him. I also feel slightly tempted to shoot him, gods help me.

“Who,” she asks again, “is ‘?”

I look around the restaurant, hoping that Plush or some other compatriot is there so I could possibly make good my escape, but no, it is me and Julie Newmar and a very hungry Sabu.

“Waiter!” I scream, “My son is in my soup!”

“Who,” Julie Newmar asks, “is ‘?”





Julie Newmar walks into my office wearing a pig on her head.

“Is this some kind of joke?” I ask.

“Why do you say that?” Julie Newmar asks, looking around the room for Lionheads.

I answer my email. I ignore her. I go shopping. I take the sled I bought and careen down Everest. I break every bone in my body and end up in the hospital. The Surgeons confer and decide that I have been dead for eleven years.

Julie Newmar walks into my hospital room with a pig on her head. The pig laughs at us. She lies down beside me in my hospital bed. Frightened, we await the dawn and the extinction of Surgeons.


This January, I have big news for Kindle users. Not only do I have my newest title available for Kindle, but also a piece of short fiction that has never been available before. I have never done much in the way of digital exclusives save for Heresy and Hearsay and the Pserpent Psalms, both well received by hardcore fans but by no means popular. But, I’m hoping these two  titles will get some of you ebook aficionados interested in my work. Both pieces are Bizarro but they also each have their feet firmly in another genre as well: science fiction. Ebooks, being themselves futuristic, are a good format for telling stories of space and time travel. 

The first of these titles that I have to announce is Time Pimp, my latest from Eraserhead Press. Time Pimp is my personal favorite of my books. It tells the story of a time traveling pimp from an ancient race of alchemist/panderers who travels through time getting historical figures laid. As he does this, he not only finds himself up against the most hostile race of aliens in existence but also his evil twin, Grand Etharch Pope Death Pimp of the Morality Front. Time Pimp is full of sex, violence, weird worlds, mad science and meditations of love, manhood and life. GET IT ON YOUR KINDLE HERE


The second of these titles is my story The Coelacanth Expert from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. A Bizarro Steampunk tale similar in certain ways to Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, The Coelacanth Expert tells a story of epistolary Bizarro cosmic horror like you’ve never seen before. Join Professor Harrington on a journey into a secret sea in the clouds where life may have had sinister inhuman origins. Strange steampunk technology, a jellyfish older than time and brutal races from prehistory await those who folow The Coelacanth Expert. Get it here

Pimpsmas is on!

Posted: November 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

The buffalo wings have been served.


There is only one thing this can mean. Only fools, bitches and jiveass turkeys don’t know that a platter of buffalo wings is traditionally used to denote the beginning of Pimpsmas. The silly bitches of planet Earth celebrate their silly bitch “Christmas” for one day, just as they eat gingerbread houses only on special occasions. On Netzach, planet of love, home of pimpkind in my Bizarro novel, Time Pimp, Pimpsmas is celebrated for an entire month. Dayum.

I will  be celebrating Pimpsmas in various ways and share with you something pimpin’ that I’ve been doing, starting with of course, ordering the Pimpsmas buffalo wing platter. As the holidays draw nearer, I will give away ten copies of the Time Pimp Pimpsmas special, a unique Time Pimp novelette that will be signed and numbered with a unique and very sexy drawing of one of the hos in Time  Pimp’s stable. Dayum once again.

But I am not doing this for free like a punkass bitch. No. I gots to get paid to keep big pimpin’ like this. So, to get entered into the drawing for the ten Pimpsmas special chapbooks you must do one of the following: 1.) order Time Pimp between now and December 22nd. 2.) Hire me on for editing services. or 3) Sign up for the online Bizarro writing workshop I am teaching alongside Tom  Bradley. Novelettes will be mailed out December 23rd. Domestic only. Email with proof of purchase and you’ll be entered to win. All nonwinners will receive digital copies of the novelette.



NaNoWriMo 120 dollar Special

Posted: November 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

So, some of you have decided to join the month of mayhem known as National Novel Writing Month. This is a great endeavor. A writer should stay disciplined and care about and commit to their work and improving it. 

I’m all about helping writers get better. As an editor and instructor of online workshops and as a member of the Bizarro community,  I’ve watched a lot of writers grow and change.

These writers all had one thing in common:commitment.  These writers bet on themselves. As a freelancer and an author,  I have to bet the farm on my skills and connections. If I don’t find or finish the work I need, I don’t survive. It’s that simple.  If you don’t commit, you don’t prosper.

I’m going to give three NaNo writers a chance to bet on themselves and guarantee that their NaNo work will grow into something better.

I am willing to edit three people’s NaNoWrMo books at the price of 120 dollars apiece. The catch is, you pay upfront by Friday November 8th. These discounted slots are a great deal so should move fast. Put your money where your mouth is and I will match it with my time and skill. Copy edits, content advice and talk about marketing prospects.  Good luck. Place your bets here. (Note: Deadline was extended to Friday to accommodate those paid at the end of the week.)

UPDATE: One slot has been claimed. Only two days later and two slots remain.

(Originally written for a contest for the Surreal Grotesque Podcast, writing this story, set in the world  of my recent novel Time Pimp from Eraserhead Press helped me flesh out the universe. Because of the mythos content, I thought it would make a nice Halloween week treat. Contains characters from the world of Time Pimp, but no spoilers.) 


They gathered at the Cathedral of Malkuth, from throughout reality, from the secret inner planets of the Sefirot to the Big Rock Candy Mountain to the Black Saloon, the finest school of the Dark Arts the Wild West had to offer. They gathered at the Cathedral of Malkuth, a once golden building changed over to more practical lead to prevent indiscretions with x ray vision. They gathered at the Cathedral of Malkuth because they were tired of Doubt and fabulous could be purchased to support the cause of eradicating doubt.


Represented in the front row, bored by most everything that was up for sale were the lionheads, a race of lionheaded and quilled space reptiles who snatched up worlds and drained their resources out of sheer gluttony and impatience. They had no need for a six day meditation retreat with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, nor for the location of the Pumpkin Planet where Franz the monkey forged jokes at his jokeforge. Nor did they need a talking rainbox or a bag of fertilizer from the Archelon Ranch. The lionhead, psilinked to the Impatience, supreme leader of his race, was already plotting to conquer Malkuth, mine it into devastation and abandon it as was their way.


Beside the lionhead, Doc Faustus, The Tartarus Kid had purchased the retreat with Cyprian but was hoping against hope that his bank plunder would be sufficient to purchase what he’d heard from the ghost of Belle Starr would be on sale today. He wanted to put an end to Doubt for certain, as anyone would, but he had a more substantial stake in all of this.


Beside them were a dozen representatives of the Morality Front, clad in head to toe body condoms, the typical garb of Our Lady of Perpetual Latex. They were unsure about eradicating Doubt since the Chronopope of the Morality Front had recently come out in favor of Doubt. They were there for the real prize. As was the gigantic being behind them.


Squelatinous Quub, the hiphop mogul and gangster took up almost half the cathedral, cutting the potential attendance of the auction into ribbons. The great gooey blob would not be refused attendance, however. And he was the sort of man who had bits of his enemies floating around in his transparent innards. In fact, at this point, his transparent innards were so clogged up with bits of his enemies that he was more or less completely made out of them.


The rest of the room was more or less the usual suspects for these sorts of charity auctions, the Wealthy Dowagers Supper Club of Binah, the Clitoral Empress of Netzach, The Grilled Cheese Consortium and Ken Shifatsu, Grand Sumo of Yesod. They had all come to eradicate Doubt, but were nonetheless eager to leave with fabulous treasures and grand opportunities. Their eyes seldom drifted away from the seraph running the auction, except to look upon two figures.


One:the Pharaoh Nyarlathotep, The Crawling Chaos, dark, resplendent and perpetually amused. The other: a red haired, blue eyed alabaster angel of a leather nun from the convent at Geburah seated beside the infamous Time Pimp, who the seraph was calling up to the podium.


Time Pimp went to the podium with swagger, performing a series of dramatic kicks that served to show off his platform shoes. In each shoe a tiny psychic octopus was floating in absinthe. He was handsome and tan in his red velvet suit, and his purple velvet hat with a feather of ever shifting colors looked jaunty.


“Next up for bid,” said the three winged fire eyed angelic auctioneer, “dinner and dancing with Time Pimp!”


“Five thousand space bucks!” cried a supper club matron who looked quite smart in her plaid coat and tam o’ shanter.


The leather nun stood up.




“Heavens!” cried the supper club, fainting in tandem.


“Sold,” said the angelic auctioneer.


And Time Pimp sat back down beside the leather nun, glaring at her under his shades.


“I have never been dancing,” she declared, “also, I need to borrow five million space bucks.”


Time Pimp was about to respond to this with anger and frustration, but the angel produced from mid air a stinking repugnant tome bound in human flesh.


“Next up for bid, the Necronomicon. Bound in human flesh. Authored by Abd Al Hazred…well, you all know the score.”


“ONE MILLION SPACEBUCKS!” shouted Doc Faustus, the Tartarus Kid.


“TWO MILLION!” shouted the lionhead.


“ONE BILLION!” cried Squelatinous Quub.


“TWO BILLION!” replied The Grilled Cheese Consortium.


“TWENTY BILLION!” growled Ken Shifatsu ferociously.


Squelatinous Quub briefly contemplated eating the sumo but decided it would be more rewarding to outdo him.


“One quadrillion spacebucks,” the blob gurgled. The supper club regained their footing only to faint again. Time Pimp relaxed his machismo to cling to the nun’s arm. She clung back. The Clitoral Empress vanished in disgust. The lionhead stormed out. The Tartarus Kid quietly prayed to Hades under his breath.


“Sold,” said the angelic auctioneer, “to Squelatinous Quub.”


Nyarlathotep, the Dark Pharaoh stood up with sarcastic applause.


“Well done, Squelatinous Quub. But you cannot buy that for it is mine and always has been.”


The room was filled with  whispers. The blob choked back tears of halfdigested foeflesh. The Seraph reached for the flaming sword at his side. Ken Shifatsu drew a tanto and contemplated seppuku. But worst of all, the room was filled with laughter, the laughter of the shadow that eclipses the sun, the laughter of the Dear John letter, the laughter of the bus driving off right as you reach the stop. It sodomized souls, then concluded.


“Keep your goddamned book,” said The Crawling Chaos, “this is why you will never defeat doubt.”


Nyarlathotep left the cathedral. Nobody learned anything.


[This is just a sampling of the potential strangenesses and exotic characters of the world of  Time Pimp.  To see how many of these characters connect and the adventures Time Pimp and his leather nun companion have, buy Time Pimp HERE. Happy Halloween, you jiveass turkeys.]

Each year, I like to give an online writing workshop for those who wish to learn how to write Bizarro and advances themselves in the Bizarro fiction. And each time, I like to teach beside a Bizarro notable  such as Bradley Sands or J.David Osborne. This time around, I am honored to bring you one of the heavyweights of experimental fiction.

Tom Bradley’s essay the Nab Gets Posthumously Bizarroized is so full of insights into Bizarro that (get this) IT’S USED AS A SOURCE ON THE WIKIPEDIA PAGE! Tom was kind of the first Bizarro scholar and is a talented writer with such books as Lemur and Family Romance under his belt. He’s also a cornerstore of the Imperial Youth Review organization. His support and wisdom have been invaluable. 

For four weeks, this December (and one in January because there will be a Christmas break), we can make your holiday a little stranger and keep you sharp during winter breaks from school. Each week, you will have a short exercise from each of us. Tom will teach how to infuse your work with emotional realism and how to document your experiences, as I flip Tom’s lessons on their head, teaching you how to create and expand your dream worlds. We start at autobiography and end at fabrication.

The cost of this workshop is 40 dollars for those who sign up in October, 60 for those who sign up in November. Thirteen slots are available. Email for info or to sign up.