Athena Villaverde: a bizarro author to watch


Every once in a while I mentor a new bizarro author that I think has a lot of potential. I work with them one on one helping them chapter by chapter, line by line, until they complete their first publishable work. The last successful author I mentored was Cameron Pierce, who went on to write great bizarro works such as Ass Goblins of Auschwitz and The Pickled Apocalypse of Pancake Island. Recently, the latest author I have been mentoring is Athena Villaverde (pictured above). A young bizarro talent from Toronto, Canada.

Athena is inspired by two of my favorite authors, Kathe Koja and Francesca Lia Block, as well as a lot of Japanese anime that I love. Her stories tend to be cute and stylish yet dark and disturbing.


Her first book, Starfish Girl, is a great debut. I call it “Francesca Lia Block meets Bio Shock.” It’s about a post-apocalyptic underwater dome world where human beings are mutating into insane fish creatures. It’s about a cute teenaged gothic lolita girl with a starfish growing out of her head, who befriends an assassin with sea anemone hair. An awesome post-apocalyptic adventure with lovable characters and strange beautiful imagery.

Here is the official description:

In a post-apocalyptic underwater dome, there lives a girl with a starfish growing from her head. Her name is Ohime. She is the starfish girl.

Alone in this world, Ohime must fight for her life against lecherous crabmen, piranha people, and a yellow algae that is causing humans to mutate into fish. Until she meets Timbre, a woman with deadly sea anemone hair. Ohime thinks she is safe with her new protector and friend, but Timbre is on the run from a violent past. Now they must escape Timbre’s former master, the evil Dr. Ichii, who is determined to conquer the underwater dome . . . and destroy the starfish girl and her friend in the process.

You can get it at

bizarro starter kit purple

She also wrote a novelette called Clockwork Girl for the Bizarro Starter Kit (Purple). Clockwork Girl is about a poor girl who was disassembled and transformed into a living windup clockwork doll for a snobby rich girl. A very touching and heartbreaking story, like a bizarro Velveteen Rabbit.

Get it at

Athena Villaverde adds a new element to the bizarro fiction genre that has been lacking for a while. I highly recommend paying attention to her work. She has several books in the works for Eraserhead Press.

Visit her website at:

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