Another Sunday Readin’ Tip

Hey, kids. I recently blogged over at my other haunt, Women and Words, about “gambling.” That is, taking a gamble on writing and reading genres you don’t normally write or read. To that end, today’s tip is about just that.

Now, I normally don’t read horror or the genre known as “Bizarro,” but I met an author who writes in those genres, so I decided to read some of her work. For those not in the know, Bizarro is a mixture of the absurd, outlandish, nutso, crazy, on the edge (and often over the edge) satire. Some of it can be foul, sexist, raunchy, ribald, and downright offensive to virtually all sensibilities. Think literary Dada. Not sure what Dada is? Here’s a great definition from the National Gallery of Art:

Dada blasted onto the scene in 1916 with ear-splitting enthusiasm: rowdy, brazen, irreverent, and assaulting. Its sounds were clamorous, its visions were shocking, and its language was explosive. Yet Dada was not aimless anarchy. Rather, the artists were responding to the violence and trauma of World War I—and to the shock of modernity more generally—by developing shock tactics of their own.

That’s kind of how you might think about Bizarro. You could read it as a response to this freaky, modernized, consumer-ridden culture in which we currently exist.

So the author in question whose stuff I decided to read is Gina Ranalli, and you can find her here, at her website, and on Facebook. So I’ll totally promote one of her books here, which is Suicide Girls in the Afterlife.

source

Here’s the synopsis:

What if you killed yourself and discovered that the “Afterlife” might actually suck? Pogue Eldridge is a woman who does just that, and she starts to realize that this Afterlife stuff isn’t at all what she expected. First, she’s required to stay on a specific floor at the Sterling Hotel until renovations in Hell and Heaven are completed. That’s the rules. Second, she can’t go up to the nice floors where all the rich people are. More rules. And third, the food isn’t that great, and there’s nothing to do. Death imitating life? Pogue thinks so, and along with 15-year-old Katina, who died of a drug overdose (another form of suicide), they decide to go exploring, and bring along some of the others they’ve met. But because of the rules, they can only go down in the hotel elevator. And once they’re in Hell, they can’t leave unless “Lucy” decides they can. Join Pogue and her companions on a seriously twisted, often funny, and macabre trip through the Afterlife, where a Goth Lucifer suffers from depression, Jesus plays video games and smokes way too much pot, and Hell truly is a crappy place to be.

There you go. It’s available in paper and on Kindle, and if you’re looking to stretch your horizons a bit into a genre that often flips things completely around, Ranalli is a great place to start. She effectively combines horror with the hilariously bizarre, all with a sly little wink at the reader, and she makes you think about what it means to be human, and how completely freaky the world actually is. Thanks, G! 8) And if you’re interested in more of her stuff, she has an author page on Amazon and as I said before, you can find her on Facebook.

Happy reading!