Review: Spider Pie by Alyssa Sturgill

(Review for Bizarro Brigade.)

One of my earliest introductions to the weird and wonderful realm that is bizarro fiction, Alyssa Sturgill’s SPIDER PIE assembles 24 “salacious selections” of unabashed oddity. Steeped in pop culture and infused with a manic, almost whimsical, sense of humor, Sturgill dishes out these snippets of the strange with breezy deftness.

Though the stories in SPIDER PIE are really sketches or vignettes (most span a few hundred words; even with two dozen tales and illustrations the book runs less than a hundred pages), Sturgill packs in plenty of bizarre imagery and keen insight. Standouts include “Leviathan” (a coming-of-age story in which a shy young boy learns life lessons from his pet squid), “Beware of Kittens” (a teenage girl’s broken curfew results in her mother’s spontaneous birth of a litter of kittens), and “We Twins” (Siamese twins meet an inevitable fate in a rogue magician’s stage act).

Featuring a skin-swapping Abe Lincoln, a woman who gives birth to a television, a dinner date with Countess Bathory, and Jon Lovitz’s disembodied ear, SPIDER PIE presents a wide array of the weird in its abbreviated page count. Fans of cult humor will want to check out this collection.

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