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“In time, I began to hear the sound of ticking. I walked through the dimness of the emporium until I stood before the glass case wherein originated this sound. Inside the glass I could see a glinting object which appeared to be some type of tower. Again, the general outline reminded me very strongly of a coffin. Hoping with all my heart, I wondered if this machine would bring to me the deliverance I had craved for so long; if it could afford me the eternal loss by some sensitive mechanism of its internal carriage. I made no delay in finding out.

For just a few coins I enveloped myself in the folds of Time itself. The sudden light of an artificial moon afforded me the sight of the Clocktower. But I became shocked to find the tower had been constructed in such a very gruesome manner, and from a building-material of such a grim type. For all that bizarre structure was made from an intricate network of tiny, fragmented, yellow-brown bones.

Yet it was the actual face of the clock which was the most intriguing part of all that strange mechanism, for I saw the indicating fingers upon it were the detached fingers of a corpse. The pointed nails of both these fingers detailed the actual time with precision, giving out the message that just five more minutes would bring the arrival of midnight. Beneath the face of this clock was a balcony of bone and a large silver chime-bell, and I also noticed that many areas were decorated with tiny wreaths of autumn leaves and miniature parodies of dying roses. Peering to the very back of the balcony, I carefully counted eleven tiny wreaths which had been nailed upon the black wood of a most foreboding, coffin-shaped door.

And so I tried to lose myself in the vision of that Clocktower, but time moved so invisibly that I could not hope to locate its momentum. So once more I resigned myself to death, with my only certainty now being that annihilation could never be granted by a mechanism unable to provoke even the merest sign of loss. Yet with only one more minute to midnight remaining, the slow opening of the coffin-shaped door upon the balcony, was to promote a fresh sense of hope and interest in me. For through that door walked a mechanised representation of a figure dressed in black, and very soon I saw the cruelly smiling countenance of Death itself.

This wooden figure was cloaked in the black shadows of its own eternity, and yet I certainly wanted no part of that false and sinister state. The time remaining to complete my deliverance was now growing very short, for held within this cruel figure's hand was a scythe in the guise of a hammer.”
John B. Ford and Thomas Ligotti - “The Mechanical Museum”

Vastarien Kickstarter Campaign is Live
Feb 06, 2018 - 12:31 PM - by Dr. Locrian

The Kickstarter campaign for Vastarien: A Literary Journal has begun.

Vastarien: A Literary Journal

“...a nightmare transformed in spirit by the utter absence of refuge: nightmare made normal."

In-depth essays, interviews, weird fiction, terrific poetry, and fascinating hybrid pieces by some of the best authors out there including Thomas Ligotti. Co-Editor-in-Chief and World Fantasy Award nominee, Matt Cardin, and I have produced Ligottian content for over two decades, and now...Vastarien: A Literary Journal

Visit our Kickstarter campaign page, receive remarkable rewards, and join us “...where stars dance forever like bright puppets in the silent, staring void.”

Please give generously and share extensively. Thank you.

Also, we're now open for submissions for Issue 2 (https://grimscribepress.submittable....6362/vastarien). If you're creatively inclined, please submit your work for consideration.
36 Replies | 2,632 Views
Thomas Ligotti Online - 20 Year Anniversary
Feb 04, 2018 - 11:30 AM - by Dr. Locrian

After discovering, Ligotti’s work back in 1991, I felt like the only reader alive who had a profound connection with his fiction. And I wanted to share that feeling. Sure, I successfully recruited a Ligotti reader here and there over the years, but for the longest time I felt like my enthusiasm for his work wasn’t widely or even moderately shared, and I longed to discuss Ligotti’s prose with other like-minded readers. As a research and, later, law librarian—in the days before Netscape—I began surfing the World Wide Web using an early version of a text only browser called lynx. For years of solid web presence thereafter, I tried to spread the word about Ligotti’s work but became increasingly frustrated at the relative lack of awareness about his fiction throughout cyberspace.

Finally, in 1997—upon receiving a job in New York City which paid me very little but gave me tons of free time to mess about on the Internet—I truly became a Ligotti advocate (some would say an annoying advocate) on the old alt.horror.cthulhu Usenet newsgroup. After some argument and semantical wrangling (see this [] rather hilarious proposal thread featuring a much more uptight version of myself), I managed to get the alt.books.thomas-ligotti newsgroup created, with the nearly sole support of Matt Cardin, who spent so many of those early days creating impromptu, brilliant analyses of Ligotti's work. A website, cobbled together using stolen HTML from a William Faulkner fan website, wasn’t far behind the newsgroup. Version 1 of TLO from early 1998 is—sadly—lost to the cyber-void as far as I know. Version 2 from the Fall 1998 can be found here (at least in part), and Version 3 existed for the next five years of so and looked like this.

I’m proud of these difficult, initial efforts. In version 1 through 3 of TLO, we published a number of Ligotti stories, some for the first time. TLO—for instance—was the first publisher of the Ligotti and Brandon Trenz penned, original X-Files­ screenplay, Crampton, and was the original home for Ligotti’s masterful novella, My Work Is Not Yet Done. It has also been—for 20 years now—the source for (more or less) updated Ligotti-related news, a place for Ligotti readers to chat and share thoughts and ideas with each other, and—notably—a place in which Ligotti-inspired work may be shared. TLO published Matt Cardin’s remarkable short story, “Teeth,” for the first time anywhere.

About five or six years into TLO’s twenty year life to date, the website had fallen into quiescence—mainly due to my challenging job and active home life in New Orleans. Fortunately, back in 2004, Brian Poe (aka Dr. Bantham) contacted me with a plan to revive the site. And, boy, did he ever revive it. For the next 14 years, TLO became a thriving, vigorous community of Ligotti readers, which is what I originally intended but didn't have the know-how or time to pull off. I can never repay Brian for what he’s accomplished. We've had our ups and downs over the past two decades, but TLO remains an important source of analysis and discussion of weird fiction and more, well beyond its original Ligotti-centric intent. Back in 2005, in fact, Ligotti himself wrote of TLO, “what I like the most about the site is the idea of people who appreciate my horror stories talking about stuff that has nothing to do with my horror stories and, as we used to say in the sixties, just doing their own thing.”

Two decades after its inception, TLO is more energized than ever, with the imminent launch of Vastarien: A Literary Journal (Kickstarter campaign dropping this Tuesday) to Cadabra Record's release of Ligotti's The Bungalow House. And there will be some more TLO-related surprises to share in the coming months.

Happy Birthday, TLO. Here's to twenty more years of weirdness, derangement and macabre goodness.
16 Replies | 1,313 Views
Absurd Degenerations and Totalitarian Decrepitude in "The Town Manager"
Dec 18, 2017 - 11:17 AM - by Dr. Locrian

I'm delighted that my article concerning Ligotti's corporate horror masterpiece is out in the world now, with beautiful artwork by the great Jason Van Hollander.

101 Weird Writers #47 Thomas Ligotti | Weird Fiction Review

The humor in 'The Town Manager' is of an absurd (or, rather, absurdist) flavor, from the useless trolley to the murder of the trolley operator by possibly supernatural means via the semi-literate town manager. In the pivotal book, 'The Theatre of the Absurd,' Martin Esslin quotes philosopher Apuleius, describing ancient mime plays in which 'serious, even horrifying matters are miraculously mingled with the… humorous.' This is of a kind used by Ligotti, humor that might be found in a Beckett or Ionesco play – a hilarity that reinforces and deepens rather than defuses the horror of existence.
4 Replies | 1,298 Views
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