23 January 2011

Post-mortem: Afterbirth

I tried to come up with something new this week. Well, that didn't work. Sure there's plenty of stuff irritating me, there always is. The local NAACP chapter is being more of a disservice to the community than a help; American Idol started again and that always annoys me; and work sucks. I think that you don't want to read me whining about things that are far beyond my powers to change. So I guess I'll go to something more positive, and perhaps a little spammy.

First some background. A little over a year ago (2009, actually) one of the publishers I try to promote had to close up shop, Afterbirth Books. I won't go into details about the whys and wherefores, as it is not my place to say. Suffice it to say this was quite a shame, as all of the books they have put out are excellent and deserve a wider readership. As of this past December that will not be possible as their entire catalog went out-of-print.

So how is the closing of an awesome outlet for some highly creative authors a positive thing? In some ways it is not. A lot of readers will now never know the absurd joy of Ray Fracalossy's Tales From the Vinegar Wasteland or the wild and weird trip that is Gina Ranalli's Chemical Gardens. Then there's Vic Mudd's Deity, and Vincent W. Sakowski's Not Quite One of the Boys. In all, 19 titles that are now on the endangered species list.

When the news came it hit me like a punch to the gut, then there was the big "Oh shit." that ran through my mind. I had spent roughly a year not buying any books from my wishlist, even though the Afterbirth titles were at the highest priority. With the out-of-print announcement it seemed my procrastination had finally cost me dearly. When it comes to my books I am quite the obsessive-compulsive. Maybe that's not the right term, but it's the closest I can think of right now.

So we come now to how all this anxiety and fear are a good thing: because it gave me the perfect justification to purchase the handful of their titles yet to make it into my collection. Thanks to some generous friends and family at Christmas, the remaining titles are on the way and I couldn't be more excited. Sure, I could have bought the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader like I had originally planned, but I'm still a fan of paper and to my knowledge the Nook has yet to become obsolete and out-of-production.

Most of you reading this know me personally out in the analog realm, and know all too well how strange I am. If you looked at my primary Amazon wishlist it becomes even more apparent that "the boy ain't right". That's okay. I've been comfortable with my quirks for a very long time, and you still associate with me despite this. But if I might ask a favor:

Go to Amazon and purchase a Bizarro Starter Kit anthology. There are three (Orange, Blue, and Purple). I would suggest the BSK:Orange as it was my first and I believe best represents the core of what Bizarro is. Also it features a couple of the aforementioned out-of-print titles. Read it, don't read it, that's up to you. If you decide not to, then pass it on to someone who you think will. Also, I know all too well that money is an issue for everyone nowadays, so I understand if you can't. All I can do is ask.

The stories are exceptionally weird, and I'll admit not for everyone. That can't be helped, and is in fact one of the selling points. I ask this of you because I do not want to see these stories die. They are exceptionally creative and engaging in a way that mass-market fiction can not hope to imitate, and if I had the know-how and financial means to do so, I would love to resurrect all of Afterbirth's titles myself. Lord knows I have the time. Regrettably, this won't happen, so instead I'll just ask you all to help me further immortalize a small part of Afterbirth as best I know how.

Until next week, be well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I prefer paper as well. I still don't have any bizzaro fiction reading experience. Perhaps I will get said starter kit for that reason.