Planet Bizarro was founded toward the end of 2021? Whaaaat? I guess my brain is still in that weird pandemic time warp because it feels like they’ve been around a lot longer. I’ve been reading bizarro a lot longer anyway.
Peculiar Monstrosities is a bizarro horror anthology comprised of 14 wild stories by 14 different authors, some well established and some new, who absolutely shine in the genre. Each story is unique and everything you want from a good bizarro story.
Before I get into the actual content, I want to talk about the narrator. Despite being a fairly prolific audiobook narrator, Talia Carver is a new voice to me. Her voice changes to suit the characters she reads in a way that brings the stories to life without being distracting. That is a big deal for me. I don’t like full cast audiobooks because I find them to be way too distracting, and the ones where they just read can be monotonous. This style is a happy medium and Carver pulls it off skillfully. Her narration is a pleasure to listen to.
Let’s talk about some of my favorites. This collection starts off strong with a story called The Colour Leeches, by Tim O’Neal. Saving the world from shadow monsters who are hungry for pigment? Yes please. I found the solution to the colour leech problem to be pretty clever and the ending satisfying. For the Children, by Joshua Chaplinsky describes a cartoon character brought to life and the consequences of doing so. The Thing She Carried, by Shelly Lyons caught my eye because of the title’s similarity to an old favorite, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. Of course that is where the similarities end. This story was honestly hilarious. Imagine being on a camping trip with your lover, stopping to fuck when the mood hits, and suddenly he dies and is face is stuck in your lady bits. And now you have to figure out how to get back to civilization and deal with weird shit along the way. Jukebox Heaven, by Zoltan Komor also had me rolling. A man goes to a match making service to find a wife and is paired up with a jukebox. Please insert coin. Man/jukebox sex. And then it gets weird.
I particularly liked the pet-centric stories. The Cat Factory, by Tim Anderson describes a world where cats are hand crafted by artisans until someone gets the idea to start mass producing them and things go awry. Kevin J. Kennedy’s All I Wanted Was a Little Friend is another pet story, but instead of cats, the pet is a blob of some sort. Pet breeding and ownership are strictly controlled and the reason for that becomes evident almost immediately after the main character acquires a pet. And then it gets weird.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. Most of these stories can be described as a series of somewhat weird events happening, and then it gets weird. It’s what I like about bizarro and why I think bizarro fans should read Peculiar Monstrosities.
You can buy Peculiar Monstrosities on Amazon or read it as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription. I bought the kindle version of this book when it was published in March of 2022. Planet Bizarro offered free review copies of the audiobook last week, effectively moving Peculiar Monstrosities to the top of my TBR. Thank you for the review copy, Matt Clarke/Planet Bizarro.