WORDS: CHELSEA HAITH
American mainstream publishers simply have not been keeping up with what young people want to be seeing in bookstores. Yes, good fiction by respected authors is being published and yes, it is worthwhile…
But, there are subcultures that are being left out (which seems sort of self-obvious) and this has given the space to a generation of alternative writers that the independent publishers are supporting and nurturing, just because they think they should.
Lazy Fascist Press is an imprint of Eraserhead Press and is run by Cameron Pierce, the author of Our Love Will Go The Way of the Salmon and winner of the 2010 Best Collection Wonderland Award for his short stories titled Lost in Cat Brain Land.
Eraserhead Press was founded in 1999 and is one of the foremost publishers of Bizarro fiction. The imprint headed up by Pierce was intended to run as a similar platform. However, it changed direction under his leadership. Although he is a Bizarro writer himself, Pierce has made it his project to produce an author list for Lazy Fascist Press that is more accessible within the genre of Bizarro fiction.
“By signing writers like Sam Pink and several other authors I took it in a very different direction. Most of the books now published by Lazy Fascist Press are not Bizarro books but are books that form bridges between Bizarro and all sorts of other literature,” Pierce said, explaining his vision.
Testament to the lack of nuance and diversity in mainstream publishing is the success of Alt Lit writers like Noah Cicero, Mira Gonzalez and Steve Roggenbuck. Right behind these internet sensations are the Bizarro writers Sam Pink, Brian Allen Carr and Carlton Mellick III.
While most Bizarro and Alt Lit writers reach only a select audience due to the style and content of the work, sometimes the contents speak to a larger audience, such as Noah Cicero’s The Human War. Published in 2003, the novel is cited as the forerunner in Alt Lit and sparked the rest of the movement to grow exponentially. The plot of the novel expresses the impotence and despair felt by young Americans following the invasion of Iraq by American forces following 9/11.
Lazy Fascist Press is always looking for emerging writers and Pierces supports work that he thinks is worthwhile and what the mainstream publishers think is “just too weird.”
Trying to bridge the divide between ‘normal’ literature (is there such a thing?) and Bizarro fiction, Pierce is reaching out to new readers and writers to exceed the limits of realism and explore the imaginative space available to them.