PDA

View Full Version : Ligotti recommendations



nomos
09-04-2014, 03:03 PM
Just cottoning on to him. What's good?

droid
09-04-2014, 03:22 PM
Start with 'The Noctuary' I guess, probably the easiest of his short story collections to get your hands on.

Though as I was saying in the Lovecraft thread, you should check out Laird Barron - 'The occultation' or the 'Imago sequence'.

droid
09-04-2014, 03:30 PM
Conspiracy against the human race is quite bracing though.

nomos
09-04-2014, 04:26 PM
Thanks, Droid. Yeah curious about Barron as well.

Conspiracy is what caught my eye but I think an intro via some earlier short stories would be a good idea.

So much to read, right now. So much cosmic pessimism.

droid
09-04-2014, 04:38 PM
Im all epub these days. Drop me a mail if you can read em.

nomos
10-04-2014, 07:20 PM
:cool: @ the fear ?

you
10-04-2014, 09:50 PM
I got loads of it as mobi file.

Teatro Grotesco is a good place to start IMO. Conspiracy is good but I think probably best to start with the stories and get a feel for the icy bleakness of things.

droid
01-05-2014, 12:27 PM
Hilarious lampooning of one 'Tom L' in the last story of Laird Barron's 'The beautiful thing that awaits us all'.

Reread 'conspiracy'. Possibly the single most important work of philosophy I've ever encountered. Devastatingly convincing.

you
13-05-2014, 12:46 AM
Droid. If you dig CotHR you may enjoy Horror of Philosophy by Eugene Thacker and Slime Dynamics by Ben Woodard. Def worth a look, easy reads.

droid
13-05-2014, 10:24 AM
Thanks for that. Ive come across Thacker before. Dabbling in Cioran at the moment. Woodard looks great. Think I heard him mentioned in an interview recently, the name's familiar: http://uwo.academia.edu/BenWoodard

Ive found a few rebuttals to TCATHR online. Nothing even remotely convincing. Any ideas there?

you
13-05-2014, 11:25 AM
Hi Droid.

Nothing springs to mind, other than faith - in quaint little things like life. Brassier's work on naming and picturing (via Sellars) is, to me, a very slightly different more complex and nuanced angle, not in any way a rebuttal though.

There are loads of people exploring these themes. Have you read Bakker's Neuropath? Fun read. Few comments by pete here -
https://deontologistics.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/freedom-renewed/
and some scattered rambles by me here -
http://notesfromthevomitorium.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/speculative-aesthetics.html

you
13-05-2014, 11:30 AM
I'd strongly recommend looking at Thacker's work - every time I read about the "icy bleakness of things" I think of Thacker's work on Horror.

droid
13-05-2014, 12:41 PM
OK, will take a closer look. Thanks for the pointers.

One of the limpid rebuttals I mentioned: http://lovecraftzine.com/magazine/issues/2012-2/issue-13-april-2012/this-inscrutable-light-a-response-to-thomas-ligottis-the-conspiracy-against-the-human-race-by-brandon-h-bell/

nomos
13-05-2014, 01:35 PM
I can second the Thacker recommendation. I like Dust... quite a bit.

BONUS: Wear your cosmic pessimism...

http://g.nordstromimage.com/imagegallery/store/product/Large/8/_8831548.jpg

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/blk-dnm-in-the-dust-of-this-planet-sweatshirt/3687639

droid
13-05-2014, 01:45 PM
Have you gotten a look at any of that stuff I sent on Paul?

nomos
13-05-2014, 02:59 PM
Unfortunately, not yet, but not because I'm not eager (I did buy a nice desktop e-reader for them though). Just hectic days already involving a lot of other reading. But I'm hoping by the weekend I can get into a short story or maybe start Conspiracy. I'll let you know. Curious too to see how he lines up, or doesn't, with the SR/OOO people who've made so much of HPL.

Mr. Tea
27-05-2014, 10:36 PM
“Why,” Zapffe asked, “has mankind not long ago gone extinct during great epidemics of madness? Why do only a fairly minor number of individuals perish because they fail to endure the strain of living—because cognition gives them more than they can carry?” Zapffe’s answer: “Most people learn to save themselves by artificially limiting the content of consciousness.”

http://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/index.php/Knurd

mistersloane
31-05-2014, 09:12 AM
superb response about Ligotti from 4chan. It wasn't me. I'm too old to be on $ch4n.


"just got an interest in him after rediscovering the Current 93 album. How come everything this guy touches is expensive as hell, i can't find a copy of songs of a dead dreamer for less than 200 bones anywhere. Also is that where I should start? and if not what's a cheaper alternative?


>> Anonymous 2013-02-05 23:51:40 No.3438888
because he's a fat nigger who looks like a lesbian and homos want to jack off on his face"

Mr. Tea
31-05-2014, 01:52 PM
Good to see the 4chan massive aren't letting standards slide!

droid
31-05-2014, 10:15 PM
Asked Laird Barron a couple of questions about Ligotti on Reddit last night: http://www.reddit.com/r/horrorlit/comments/26vfrs/laird_barron_ama/?sort=confidence

STN
09-06-2014, 07:43 AM
I just read My Work is not yet done. In the first story I enjoyed the descriptions of office politics, but found the conspicuously unhinged narrator a bit corny. The second i enjoyed, but didn't really find much I couldn't get from Ballard, the third suffered from this too but was a bit dull.

This said, I think I'd like to try some of his more straight up horror stuff cos I did think it was well written, I just wasn't that taken with the ideas in this collection.

Mr. Tea
02-07-2014, 11:10 AM
Two great words I came across in the same sentence in Conspiracy last night:

'unpleasantries' - opposite of pleasantries, I guess
'abashment' - the dire state of not being able to listen to bashment when you really want to

slowtrain
13-07-2014, 08:47 AM
Ligotti I find better rememberer/imagined than read.

He is possibly one of the most infuriating writers - he will describe some for a page then, repeat (as narrator) to the reader everything they have JUST READ. Lovecraft does this too to some extent, may be a 'genre' thing.

I only really like him as a (the?) writer who really gets sickness

Mr. Tea
13-07-2014, 05:23 PM
An amusing irony I've noticed in Ligotti: while he may be a philosophical pessimist in the strict sense of (or so he claims) sincerely believing it's better never to have been born than to be alive and conscious, he also seems to think life is getting materially easier and more comfortable for the majority of people and is likely to continue doing so for at least the foreseeable future. Which sounds quite insanely optimistic to me, I mean the environmental considerations alone are horrific.

you
20-07-2014, 08:40 PM
I read his new one, The Spectral Link, it's really good. I was disappointed at how small it is, like 90 pages.

Mr. Tea
07-10-2016, 09:58 AM
Bumping this thread, as Ligotti has cropped up in the Lovecraft thread recently.

Something that's occurred to me while reading Ligotti is: has he effectively invented a new genre, or at least subgenre, of horror? I mean, gothic horror, cosmic horror, body horror and erotic horror are all pretty well established, but did corporate horror exist prior to Ligotti? Consider stories like 'My Work Is Not Yet Done', 'I Have A Special Plan For This World' and 'Our Temporary Supervisor'; not only are they among his most effective stories, I think, but they seem very different in flavour from any other writer I've encountered (while at the same time retaining a touch of Lovecraft's cosmic namelessness, although he very much makes it his own).

you
07-10-2016, 12:59 PM
Bumping this thread, as Ligotti has cropped up in the Lovecraft thread recently.

Something that's occurred to me while reading Ligotti is: has he effectively invented a new genre, or at least subgenre, of horror? I mean, gothic horror, cosmic horror, body horror and erotic horror are all pretty well established, but did corporate horror exist prior to Ligotti? Consider stories like 'My Work Is Not Yet Done', 'I Have A Special Plan For This World' and 'Our Temporary Supervisor'; not only are they among his most effective stories, I think, but they seem very different in flavour from any other writer I've encountered (while at the same time retaining a touch of Lovecraft's cosmic namelessness, although he very much makes it his own).

Not to be facetious, but what do you mean by corporate horror Tea? I see where you're coming from, but aren't those stories more the horror of bureaucracy? To me they owe a lot to Kafka, things like The Castle. So, as much as I like Ligotti, I wouldn't say he invented a genre (though he certainly has his own voice and style, quite distinctively). Perhaps we could argue that Ligotti stands in a continuum of Bureauhorror perhaps? (as an aside, it is this domestic, mundane, sub-urban proledom angle in Ligotti that I love far more than anything involving boats or blizzards or macho endeavours.)

I want to ask, what is the distinction between faceless bureaucracy and the icy impersonality of the corporation?

Mr. Tea
07-10-2016, 01:16 PM
It's not just bureaucracy - and yes, of course that goes back to Kafka, at the very least - but specifically the horror of the workplace, and not just any workplace, but that of the corporation, the firm, the private sector. The Blaine Company's stated mission to become a leading player in the global marketplace.

Not sure I can answer your question succinctly, but maybe it has to do with the requirement to erase or subsume part of one's personhood to become a cell within the larger body of the company. That's what 'corporation' literally means, doesn't it? Like the Leviathan:


http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/takingliberties/images/55hobbesleviathansmall.jpg


but with private capital gradually edging out the role of the conventional empire or nation-state.

You can probably answer it better than me, I mean you've written stories on this theme yourself. It's surely connected to the way psychopaths can be so successful in the corporate world, too.

you
07-10-2016, 01:27 PM
picking up again... I suppose that bureau-horror is a natural progression for horror narratives. I'll try to explain. A good question for a writer is: what can my character overcome, or try to overcome. With things like Dracula or Frankenstein there was always a lot of physical challenges, or geographical challenges (as I recall). The Ritual by Nevill is a more contemporary example of a story that hinges on humans dealing with the harsh terrain - and this man against nature schtick serves the narrative purpose very well, they deal with all sorts of problems, wet boots etc. But, generally, unlike in Frankenstein or Dracula (a boat trip and a journey into the mountains to a massive castle) one's work* doesn't involve this challenge any more - granted, these are not, 'quest' style stories... but the challenge of geography is there nonetheless to augment the plot. But what challenges do we face in life now? Unless you go exploring or are intrepid then even holidays on the other side of the globe are easy. The worst thing that could happen is not communicating well with reception or missing a connecting flight. But geography has kinda fallen off the narrative roster and usurped by the Kafkian frustrations of administrative cul-de-sacs. In work too, when was the last time you encountered a strictly geographical or physical challenge? For most of us, opening a compressed file or seeking the correct person responsible for an administrative task is the worst of obstacles we could encounter. So isn't corpo-horror, or bureauhorror just a horror that works around more familiar challenges and obstacles? Of course, the darkly supernatural is always alluded to still. So Ligotti, rather than providing a story about icebergs (that I've never been impeded by) opts to describe the excruciating limbo of being 'on hold' or 'forever deferred' by the faceless bureaucratic depths...?

*note that The Ritual is a holiday scenario - like most Hollywood slasher films
note - sorry, missed that last comment. I was already writing. But the above might go somewhere in answering that...

droid
07-10-2016, 01:58 PM
Excellent reply - navigating the terrain of the workplace instead of the Carpathians or the antarctic. Office manager as the wendigo.

I must demur on one point, horreaucracy is clearly a better portmenatu than bureau-horror.

you
12-10-2016, 10:51 AM
It's not just bureaucracy - and yes, of course that goes back to Kafka, at the very least - but specifically the horror of the workplace, and not just any workplace, but that of the corporation, the firm, the private sector. The Blaine Company's stated mission to become a leading player in the global marketplace.



Coming back on a 2 points.

1 - I think one aspect of corporate horror or horreaucracy that seems to slot into a more definite Lovecraftian continuum is the lurking sense of the unknown. Thacker (In The Dust of This Planet) argues that there is a particular philosophical horror of being aware of a lacuna of knowledge... Of course, we can see this in the hinted, barely glimpsed sense of The Old Ones in Lovecraft and in the 'behind the veil of this world' strategy that Ligotti employs so well. But, in a contemporary sense, this lacuna of knowldeg is not giant beings under the ocean or dreamlike existential crises but financial and corporate. The anxiety of being liminally aware of what one cannot fathom could be taken as the horror of laissez-faire capitalism... The sudden cancellation of projects because of an occult funding decision, the obscure reasons for company reorganizations or the mystical magics of high finance trading that our savings and pensions are affected by are the modern day 'old ones'. Many of us, now, do work - but the impact of our work can not be gauged.We do not know why we are working, nor why our work is suddenly changed, or why our vocational networks are suddenly re-structured 'for greater efficiency' or even why our skills and experience are no longer useful to the world.

So, for me, corporate horror is less about interactions (manager-qua-wendigo) but more about the spectre of the market, the gnawing anxiety of unseen forces. Most economists use climatological vocabulary... and weather forecast, of course, is not an exact science.

I went through a phase of feeling this sense of vertiginous precarity, I often tweeted 'part of an ever expanding network'.

2 - This is about Ligotti. His control is supreme. I always appreciate how most of his stories could be anywhere between 2016 and 1800. He rarely references technology, occasionally a phone is referenced or a car is mentioned, but he is never specific, It lends his pieces a timeless quality. Most characters use notes to communicate. I think, because of this, even when specific technology is mentioned, like headphones in The Bungalow House, I assume them to be vaguely steam-punk and lifted from an alternate reality.

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 01:08 PM
Office manager as the wendigo.


http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/436/363/d9d.jpg

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 01:15 PM
On a side note, what do you reckon Ligotti is making of the 'killer clown' phenomenon?

you
12-10-2016, 02:01 PM
On a side note, what do you reckon Ligotti is making of all the 'killer clown' phenomenon?

it is just the stranger-than-fiction cherry on 2016 isn't it... Brexit, Trump, Killer Clowns.... I'm just waiting for France to convert into an Islamic state now.

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 02:20 PM
For now, until one of them actually kills someone, I'm mentally replacing 'killer clown' with 'clown'.

Or even, 'misguided twat in a clown costume'.

you
12-10-2016, 02:54 PM
Clowns are interesting.

Disallowing facial recognition and the affective interaction that fires our mirror neurons (happiness, disgust, fear and anger being the four main ones iirc). In a sense they confuse the spectator, giving them an obnoxiously false expression but ultimately leaving one with little to go on. A mask. Notable how many 'psychos' in film etc tend to be clowns or wear masks. Isn't the fear of clowns (aside from the obvious cultural reference) part of assuming the worst in a person whose expression is cloaked. Hence, 'killer clowns'? Or, to riff on western anxieties... the burqa? An unfounded prejudice based on a lack...

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 03:25 PM
Unfounded? I think there is something fundamentally weird about going around in public wearing a garment that doesn't allow you to be recognized, and there's nothing wrong with objecting to it. Whether that should be enforced with a law is a whole nother kettle of fish, can of worms and bag of scorpions.

Mainly I think people associate clowns with murder/horror because of IT and the approximately 5,000 knock-offs it inspired. And, you know, John Wayne Gacy. I mean, it had become enough of a fixture in the popular Western imagination (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MonsterClown) by the early '90s for Insane Clown Posse to base their entire schtick on it even then.

Edit: and The Joker of course, duh!

you
12-10-2016, 04:16 PM
Well, I don't care about being able to see everyone's face. Why? Why is a certain level of consistent appearance required or expected? If it is based on expecting a certain level of non-verbal communication, then we are on a slippery slope to things like http://www.faception.com/ or (can't find the link but there was an article on predictive policing concerning a study that looks at how the way you walk can be analyzed for criminal intent). Perhaps we should ask, why can't one cover up?

For me, if people want to cover up - fine.

Yes, IT was my 'obvious cultural reference'. Of course Gacy! Isn't the creepy clown just another part the culture of ritual torment? I'm thinking more of things like Krampus. Isn't there a long history of accepted intimidation by people made up as something else... surely someone with an anthropology degree could chime in and highlight how many cultures tend to have rituals whereby a costumed person 'thrills' youths...

Going back to my comment about the creepy horror of feeling a lack of knowledge... There is a Ligotti story that describes in detail a clown that never quite turns around to fully face the narrator. I thought that was one of his best.

luka
12-10-2016, 04:23 PM
ive had a few occassions when ive been walking down a street or on one occassion an alley when a large group of youths with ski masks or scarves covering their faces have been walking towards me. i didnt like it much but that was possibly also cos some of them were openly carrying weapons. it signals an intent to commit crime and not be recorded on cctv or recognised by witnesses

luka
12-10-2016, 04:24 PM
it wasnt too scary cos obviously i knew they were on a specific mission and not out to get me but still a bit uncool

droid
12-10-2016, 04:41 PM
The thing about Patches the clown was the 'pointy' makeup, which is avoided like the plague by real clowns, specifically because it's so creepy. Gacy wore it even when he was doing fetes and various other community things for kids.

http://murderpedia.org/male.G/images/g/gacy/gacy350.jpg


Going back to my comment about the creepy horror of feeling a lack of knowledge... There is a Ligotti story that describes in detail a clown that never quite turns around to fully face the narrator. I thought that was one of his best.

Ligotti has had a few beckett moments IIRC.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_Esx3oAR6I

baboon2004
12-10-2016, 04:49 PM
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-37611993

lots of law-abiding good clowns are outraged by these clowns

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 05:40 PM
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-37611993

lots of law-abiding good clowns are outraged by these clowns

#NotAllClowns

you
12-10-2016, 05:45 PM
There must be, socio-neurologically, something disconcerting about obscured faces, something off-putting and as Tea said 'weird' about not being granted the neurological mirroring from the inter-facial affects of key emotions (like fear, happiness and disgust). But just because it feels odd doesn't mean it is. Opiates feel good. But that doesn't mean they are, unquestionably, good.

But expanding on this... isn't there a continuum of horror tropes that all pivot around obscured faces? Clowns are one. Masks (hockey, or Lecter style) are another. Similarly, female 'baddies' tend to obscure their expressions with long hair (thinking of The Ring).

Droid. I'd never noticed that. Pointy make-up does seem more sinister. I wonder why this is. Is there a cultured reason for this or do points and jagged edges just notch up the visual-facial dissonance?

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 06:57 PM
Opiates are unquestionably good.

For a while.

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 07:04 PM
it wasnt too scary cos...

Chinny reckon, mate. I bet you shat a brick.

you
12-10-2016, 07:10 PM
On Ligotti.net there are some threads about clowns. In particular the news reports about clowns menacing and how similar such episodes are to The Clowns of Mirocaw etc...

Here is a recent one
http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=11159

Here is one from 2014
http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=9031

Here is one from 2013
http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=7757

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 07:29 PM
It may all be kicking off worldwide in the last couple of months, but the Northampton Clown was at it three years ago! http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/northampton-clown-unmasked-alex-powell-2366915

luka
12-10-2016, 08:23 PM
Chinny reckon, mate. I bet you shat a brick.
Did I fuck.

luka
12-10-2016, 08:24 PM
I'm one of Britain's hardest men. Dyer would have profiled me but he shit himself when he saw me.

Mr. Tea
12-10-2016, 08:35 PM
Still freaks his nut out to this day.

Mr. Tea
19-10-2016, 10:04 AM
Ooh look - an article on Ligotti and 'corporate horror'! Just stumbled across it, not read it yet but may try to absorb what I can via my desktop workstation during my allotted nutrient ingestion break.

https://thedarkartsjournal.wordpress.com/volume-22-the-gothic-forms/occupational-hazards-nihilism-and-negation-in-thomas-ligottis-corporate-horror/

you
19-10-2016, 11:17 AM
Ooh look - an article on Ligotti and 'corporate horror'! Just stumbled across it, not read it yet but may try to absorb what I can via my desktop workstation during my allotted nutrient ingestion break.

https://thedarkartsjournal.wordpress.com/volume-22-the-gothic-forms/occupational-hazards-nihilism-and-negation-in-thomas-ligottis-corporate-horror/

Has some nice moments ('Ligotti remains somewhat obscured' lol so apt) and some cringey bits. The Land and Brassier connections are a bit over reaching imo. Not sure they are the best supports for his argument... more 'unpacking' of the Berardi bits would be nice. I like those, even though I disagree with their sentiment.

you
19-10-2016, 12:00 PM
Charles Beaumont's 'The Vanishing American' is a nice corporate horror story.

Mr. Tea
19-10-2016, 12:04 PM
Has some nice moments ('Ligotti remains somewhat obscured' lol so apt) and some cringey bits. The Land and Brassier connections are a bit over reaching imo. Not sure they are the best supports for his argument... more 'unpacking' of the Berardi bits would be nice. I like those, even though I disagree with their sentiment.


For decades, Ligotti’s fiction has avoided any sustained literary and critical attention for decades...


...within an uncanny and imaginative and decaying literary world-view...


...the likes of Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Bülent Diken, Ray Brassier and Eugene Thacker, for example...

Yeesh, I actually feel kind of :o for the guy.

Edit: and that's not even a complete list of awful clangers in the first two paragraphs!

you
19-10-2016, 12:16 PM
There is one paragraph where 'this paper' is mentioned 4 times.

I think I'd like to see a Ligotteque tribute in this academic style.

The Last Feast of Harlequin is close: 'I had for some years been engaged in various anthropological projects with the primary ambition of articulating the significance of the clown figure in diverse cultural contexts.' LOL.

But perhaps something really overboard. All passive sentences, close to curatorial speech. Throwing around the words like 'speculative' etc...

Perhaps this will be my next story.

you
19-10-2016, 12:20 PM
I'm guilty of it myself. Before anyone points it out.

However, something like this (http://www.geisteswissenschaften.fu-berlin.de/en/v/interart/veranstaltungen/intern/jointsymposium/The-Art-of-Speculation/index.html) is nice.

Mr. Tea
02-10-2017, 08:14 PM
http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/1506869450-20171001.png