Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief

Donna Kossy - 1994
    A rich compendium of looniness!

Henry Darger

Klaus Biesenbach - 2009
    Angel-like Blengins with butterfly wings, natural catastrophes, innocent girls, and murderous soldiers all appear in Darger's scenes, which are reproduced in this book in double-page and gatefold spreads. In the volume's introductory essay, Klaus Biesenbach examines the radical originality of Darger's art, including his use of collage, incorporation of religious themes and iconography, and frequent juxtaposition of innocence with violence. An essay by Brooke Davis Anderson illuminates Darger's source materials and techniques. Michael Bonesteel puts Darger's life in the context of his work and selects key texts to accompany the illustrations. The book also includes for the first time the text of Darger's History of My Life, A" the artist's autobiography. The only book of its kind, Henry Darger offers an authoritative, balanced, and insightful look at an American master

How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection

David F. Dufty - 2012
    DickIn late January 2006, a young robotocist on the way to Google headquarters lost an overnight bag on a flight somewhere between Dallas and Las Vegas. In it was a fully functional head of the android replica of Philip K. Dick, cult science-fiction writer and counterculture guru. It has never been recovered.In a story that echoes some of the most paranoid fantasies of a Dick novel, readers get a fascinating inside look at the scientists and technology that made this amazing android possible. The author, who was a fellow researcher at the University of Memphis Institute of Intelligent Systems while the android was being built, introduces readers to the cutting-edge technology in robotics, artificial intelligence, and sculpture that came together in this remarkable machine and captured the imagination of scientists, artists, and science-fiction fans alike. And there are great stories about Dick himself his inspired yet deeply pessimistic worldview, his bizarre lifestyle, and his enduring creative legacy. In the tradition of popular science classics like "Packing for Mars" and "The Disappearing Spoon," "How to Build an Android" is entertaining and informative popular science at its best."

The Vertical Plane

Ken Webster - 1989

Alfred Jarry: A Pataphysical Life

Alastair Brotchie - 2011
    A century later, Jarry is firmly established as one of the leading figures of the artistic avant-garde. Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Philip K. Dick, Paul McCartney, DJ Spooky, Peter Greenaway, and J. G. Ballard are among his many admirers. A community of scholars and artists maintain a posthumous dialogue with Jarry's ideas through the Collège de 'Pataphysique in Paris (named after the "science of imaginary solutions" he conceived), while a steady stream of books on twentieth-century drama pay tribute to his absurd and grotesque play, Ubu Roi. Even so, most people today tend to think of Jarry only as the author of that play, and of his life as a string of outlandish "ubuesque" anecdotes, often recounted with wild inaccuracy. In this first full-length critical biography of Jarry in English, Alastair Brotchie reconstructs the life of a man intent on inventing (and destroying) himself, not to mention his world, and the "philosophy" that defined their relation. In short, Brotchie gives us the narrative version of what Jarry himself produced: a pataphysical life. Drawing on a wealth of new material, Brotchie alternates chapters of biographical narrative with chapters that connect themes, obsessions, and undercurrents that relate to the life.The anecdotes remain, and are even augmented: Jarry's assumption of the "ubuesque," his inversions of everyday behavior (such as eating backwards, from cheese to soup), his exploits with gun and bicycle, and his herculean feats of drinking. But Brotchie distinguishes between Jarry's purposely playing the fool and deeper nonconformities that appear essential to his writing and his thought, both of which remain a vital subterranean influence to this day.

Glorious Nemesis

Ladislav Klíma - 1932
    of what Ladislav Klíma wrote and stood for.—Bohumil HrabalKlima's intense inner life and complex mental state are reflected in his peculiar writings. The eccentricity of style and occasional violence found in his prose were intended to convey the deep conflicts attending his thought processes, and this is perhaps best exemplified in the novella Glorious Nemesis, a balladic ghost story that explores the metaphysics of love and death, crime and reincarnation. Sider, a man of twenty-eight, is confronted in the Tyrol by a giant mountain named Stag's Head and an ancient hovel standing under a high, black cliff. Out one day on a hike, he encounters two women who will mark his fate: the elder Errata, dressed in red, and the younger Orea, dressed in blue (the two colors of the Virgin Mary). From this point on Sider is on a quest for the All, the Absolute, and to achieve eternity by atoning for the misdeeds of a past life. Willing to risk his entire fortune and sanity, he succumbs to his dreams and hallucinations as Orea, or her doppelgänger, becomes for him the apotheosis of the Feminine, a representation of the goddess Nemesis who initiates him into the mysteries of life and death through her attribute of divine retribution. Published posthumously in 1932, this is the first English translation.

Futility Closet: An Idler's Miscellany of Compendious Amusements

Greg Ross - 2013
    This book presents the best of them: pipe-smoking robots, clairvoyant pennies, zoo jailbreaks, literary cannibals, corned beef in space, revolving squirrels, disappearing Scottish lighthouse keepers, reincarnated pussycats, dueling Churchills, horse spectacles, onrushing molasses, and hundreds more. Plus the obscure words, odd inventions, puzzles and paradoxes that have made the website a quirky favorite with millions of readers -- hundreds of examples of the marvelous, the diverting, and the strange, now in a portable format to occupy your idle hours.

Suffer the Child

Judith Spencer - 1989
    The story chronicles with unblinking objectivity the harrowing experiences of Jenny, reared in a satanic cult, in a life so untenable as to fracture the self. In the healing process, these experiences, made of nightmare stuff, are assimilated, with the help of therapists with little to guide their committed and necessarily innovative treatment. The horrifying revelations of Jennys healing journey will shock, inspire, and give caution to us all.

Alien Hand Syndrome and Other Too-Weird-Not-To-Be-True Stories

Alan Bellows - 2009
    This collection of too-weird-not-to-be-true stories gives the freakish details behind odd curiosities, from unusual drug side effects to the Alien Hand Syndrome--a disorder wherein a person's hand develops a will of its own.

Encyclopædia Anatomica: A Complete Collection of Anatomical Waxes (Klotz)

Monika Von During - 1999
    Encyclopaedia Anatomica does just this, page after page, with its high-quality color reproductions of the collection of Florence's Museo La Specola. This amazing set of anatomical models, made mostly of wax, are so brilliantly lifelike that the casual reader is sure to mistake them for extraordinarily well-preserved bodies. Organized by anatomical section, each of hundreds of models are displayed to show off their most flattering aspect; despite the respectful attitudes held by the book editors and designers, the macabre nature of the exhibits is irrepressible. Particularly eerie are the tableaux of Gaetano Giulio Zumbo, who used similar techniques to create terrifying metaphorical portraits of the harsh life of the 18th century. While the descriptions aren't specific enough to yield much insight into the anatomical detail, this would still make an excellent companion to a text or laboratory manual. The introductory essays cover the history of the museum, the artists, and their techniques thoroughly and engagingly. If the inside of the body is as beautiful to you as the outside, you should find Encyclopaedia Anatomica a charmingly powerful work. --Rob Lightner

Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage

Charles Fréger - 2012
    People literally put themselves into the skin of the "savage," in masquerades that stretch back centuries. By becoming a bear, a goat, a stag, a wild boar, a man of straw, a devil, or a monster with jaws of steel, these people celebrate the cycle of life and seasons. The costumes amaze with their extraordinary diversity and prodigious beauty. Work on this project took leading French photographer Charles Fréger to eighteen European countries in search of the mythological figure of the Wild Man.

McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War

Hamilton Gregory - 2015
    So, on October 1, 1966, McNamara lowered mental standards and inducted thousands of low-IQ men. Altogether, 354,000 of these men were taken into the Armed Forces and a large number of them were sent into combat. Many military men, including William Westmoreland, the commanding general in Vietnam, viewed McNamara’s program as a disaster. Because many of the substandard men were incompetent in combat, they endangered not only themselves but their comrades as well. Their death toll was appallingly high. In addition to low-IQ men, tens of thousands of other substandard troops were inducted, including criminals, misfits, and men with disabilities. This book tells the story of the men caught up in McNamara’s folly.

Ghosts of the Air: True Stories of Aerial Hauntings

Martin Caidin - 1991
    These are real accounts from pilots who have experienced strange phenomena. Landing at an airfield that wasn't there; planes guided by dead pilots; Bermuda Triangle accounts; sightings of aircraft from the past; airfields haunted by airmen killed in action; ghost warning prevents plane crash; more.

It's a Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, the Postwar Pulps

Adam Parfrey - 2003
    This rich collection, filled with interviews, essays, and color reproductions of testosterone-heavy thirty-five-cent magazines with names like Man's Exploits, Rage, and Escape to Adventure (to name a few), illustrates the culture created to help veterans confront the confusion of jobs, girls, and the Cold War on their return from World War II and the Korean War.Contributions from the original men's magazine talent like Bruce Jay Friedman, Mario Puzo, and Mort Künstler bring the reader inside the offices, showing us how the writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers put together decades of what were then called "armpit slicks." Reproductions of original paintings from Norman Saunders, Künstler, and Norm Eastman are featured within, and Bill Devine's annotated checklist of the many thousands of adventure magazines is essential for collectors of the genre.The expanded paperback edition includes wartime illustrations and advertisements from mass-produced magazines that preview the xenophobia and racist ideas later seen throughout men's adventure magazines of the '50s and '60s.

Unexplained!: Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena

Jerome Clark - 1993
    The 200 mysteries and hoaxes are thoroughly examined, including cattle mutilations, crop circles, spontaneous human combustion, Martian lore, Roswell, Loch Ness, the Old Hag, weather phenomena, faeries, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, living dinosaurs, ghosts, pterodactyl sightings, flying humanoids, hollow earth, and other absorbing puzzles. Along the way readers will learn of hoaxes and witness the creation of various modern myths.