To help celebrate Eraserhead Press's seventh annual New Bizarro Author Series, we decided to let the authors take control of our blog. Publisher Rose O'Keefe created this series as a gateway of sorts, to introduce hesitant readers to the wonderful world of bizarro! Garret Cook curated the series and they released a record breaking NINE titles last week for the 2015 set.
You'll be treated to strange and fabulous original guest posts from a handful of the NBA authors all week long. Today, Karl Fischer congratulates you on surviving the Apocalypse with these handy dandy survival tips.
Apocalypse Survival Guide (Type 2E8D)
Directed and administered by the Everybody Company
(The hegemonic mega-corporation that cares)
If you’re reading this, it means you are not dead. Congratulations! If you do not yet know why so many others are dead, look up. Look around you. What do you see? No, that’s not swamp gas. That enormous creature—towering over a thousand feet into the air and possessing a multitude of reptilian heads from which death and destruction are dispensed wholesale—is Leviathan. It might also be the Beast from the Sea. It might also be the Great Deceiver Himself. It might also be a manifestation of the Demiurge. It might also be the Guardian of Lerna. It might also be one of Vishnu’s innumerable avatars. It might also be the Third Impact. It might also be a collective delusion of our dying race as it is hurled screaming into oblivion by circumstances entirely beyond our control. (The Everybody Company is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on religious, theosophist, cultural, or gestaltic grounds.)
The appearance of these nephilim dragons, which we will be referring to in the singular and plural as Leviathan, are responsible for the total dismantlement of civilization. There can be no hope. Not unless you follow our patented, easy-to-use survival guide! In just fourteen steps, you and your loved ones will be set for an acceptable mode of existence in the rapidly fading twilight of the human race.
Step 1: Food and Water
Due to the astounding size and weight of Leviathan, its every movement upon the Earth’s surface is capable of great devastation. With just a few strides, the titanic hellbeast can produce tremors, landslides, and floods that will destroy any building or piece of infrastructure that is not heavily reinforced. Fortunately, as a survivor, you will be able to follow in Leviathan’s wake and scavenge off the ruins. Across thousands of homes and businesses, there should be enough canned food, bottled water, and alcohol to last a lifetime. Boil rainwater if absolutely necessary.
Step 2: Shelter
Nowhere is truly safe while Leviathan is on the rampage. Abandon any notion of having a permanent residence and adopt a nomadic lifestyle. It’s very liberating! Sturdy branches can be used to make shelter. You could also just loot a department store for your favorite name brand camping supplies.
Step 3: Companionship
Everybody needs companionship. Even you. Yes, you. You asshole.
Why are you alive, exactly? Why haven’t you died horribly?
Remember all the opportunities you had to connect with friends and family. Remember the excuses you made. You were too tired. You were too hungry. You had a bunch of things to do. You were late for a party. It was always about you. And now what? The world is ending and you just want to feel loved. Well, go ahead. There’s your loved one now. Perhaps in these unreasonable new circumstances you can attain the serenity of purpose you always wanted. There’s no time like the present.
Step 4: Weaponry
There is no bullet that can pierce Leviathan’s skin. No ordnance that can sear its hide. The mighty are dispersed before it. They go without courage. Leviathan regards all proud things. But on the off chance that you encounter another survivor who is following an off-brand guide, you will want to have a loaded gun. Remember, if you don’t draw first, you don’t get to draw at all.
Step 5: Transportation
While there may be a wide selection of cars and trucks available, you will not be able to rely on road conditions. Cityscapes will be transformed into broken concrete labyrinths—unnavigable by any ground vehicle except a tank—and country roads will soon deteriorate without maintenance. Take up equestrianism. Cultivate a fine stock of horses and ensure your future mobility.
Step 6: You Can’t Do It, Can You?
What is this feeling of dissipation? You look into your lover’s eyes, but you feel muted. Empty. Everything you thought you were is being unraveled, one inexorable thought at a time. It was such a marvelous dream, this love of yours. Such a beautiful connection. But all things end, don’t they? Look around you. Death walks the Earth. What victory can swallow up that monstrous thing? How stand your infantile desires in this wasteland?
Step 7: Electricity
There is none. You will live as the progenitors lived. The Age of Technology is over.
Step 8: Health and Wellbeing
Tell yourself over and over again that it’s not real. It’s not real. It can’t possibly be real. Because if it was real, what kind of person would that make you? What kind of irrational, irresponsible, insensate creature would you be? And yet the thoughts continue. The emptiness continues. Hold tight to your lover. Don’t let them find out how much it hurts you.
Step 9: Medicine
Are you insane? Medication is for the weak. And the weak are all dead now.
Step 10: [inarticulate screaming]
[inarticulate screaming] [inarticulate screaming continues]
Step 11: NOT HUMAN
Maybe that’s the key. You aren’t human at all. You’re just a simulacrum. Built to mimic life, it is your function to pantomime the effects of love, to create the signifier without being the signified. And with self-reflection comes your only desire: a genuine response from your gangrenous consciousness, no matter what depths your cannibalism takes you to. One day, the wounds will stop healing. Why won’t your fears stop hiding from you? Why won’t they just come true, all at once, in a hideous blast of recognition that proves you were right all along?
Step 12: The Towers
Those colossal structures mock you. Look at them. Unassailable. Small guns and big guns. Rockets and missiles. Mines below and drones above. No man or monster can take them. But wait, it’s not the fortress that mocks you. The Operators mock you, those who have become one with the steel gods. They think they can just leave their bodies and their problem and this shithole of a planet behind. They think they can have the perfect escape? The perfect purpose? Why can’t I be perfect? Why do I have to feel so much doubt?
Step 13: Lucidity
All life operates at the line between death and fantasy. Where there is self-reflection, there is the capacity for doubt and faith alike. Perfection is such a tyrannical word. What was it that ate men and ravaged nations when they thought themselves perfect? Those that dwell in the Towers have nowhere to go. They can only cling so tightly to an armored shell. They will never come back. But you have something they don’t. Your companion is with you still, undeterred, unbroken, even in the wreckage after Leviathan. You have choices. And you chose one another. That’s why you’re out here and not in there.
Step 14: The Post Post-Apocalypse
Now that you’ve implemented our patented techniques, you’re ready to internalize what you have fought so hard to deny. In a world where seraphim and monsters stalk the land, everything is transient. But this was always so. You have never been without claws and missiles and armor plating and scary voices and that horrible, horrible moment without moments. You have always been this way.
Go forth and kill. Go forth and live. Go forth and be transient.
We’ll see you in the future.
Karl Fischer is a writer and crazy person living in Portland, OR with his wife and their pug child. He is the author of Towers and his writings can be seen in weird places like Space Squid and Bizarro Central. He likes bad movies, fantastic movies, black coffee, and books that make him cry. To read his thoughts on culture and soulless corporate marketing, visit his website, the Everybody Company. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter.
Check out Karl's debut bizarro book,
part of the New Bizarro Author series from Erasrehead Press.
When we are locked inside ourselves, nothing outside could be worse.
After fending off giant monsters for a thousand years, a sentient guard tower is ready to go to heaven with his soulmate. However, the lovers are reborn as lowly humans and forced to live inside the structures they once piloted. Separated by thousands of miles and trapped within menageries of horror, their only hope at being reunited is to turn into giant monsters and roam the wasteland in search of one another.