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“ A: There is no grand scheme of things.
B: If there were a grand scheme of things, the fact - the fact - that we are not equipped to perceive it, either by natural or supernatural means, is a nightmarish obscenity.
C: The very notion of a grand scheme of things is a nightmarish obscenity.
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “My Work Is Not Yet Done”
Added by: Dr. Locrian on 06-09-2007 #1

“ Your eyes are now fused with those fantastic lenses, and your sight is one with its object. And what exactly is that object? Obviously, it is everything that fascinates, everything that has power over your gaze and your dreams. You can not even conceive the wish to look away. And even if there are no simple images to see, nonetheless there is a vision of some kind, an infinite and overwhelming scene expanding before you. And the vastness of this scene is such that even the dazzling diffusion of all the known universes cannot convey its wonder. Everything is so brilliant, so great, and so alive: landscapes without end that are rolling with life, landscapes that are themselves alive. Unimaginable diversity of form and motion, design and dimension. And each detail is perfectly crystalline, from the mammoth shapes lurching in the outline against endless horizons to the minutest cilia wriggling in an obscure oceanic niche. Even this is only a mere fragment of all that there is to see and to know. There are labyrinthine astronomies, discrete systems of living mass which yet are woven together by a complex of intersections, at points mingling in a way that mutually affects those systems involved, yielding instantaneous evolutions, constant transformations of both appearance and essence. You are witness to all that exists or ever could exist. And yet, somehow concealed in the shadows of all that you can see is something that is not yet visible, something that is beating like a thunderous pulse and promises still greater visions: all else is simply its membrane enclosing the ultimate thing waiting to be born, preparing for the cataclysm which will be both the beginning and the end. To behold the prelude to this event must be an experience of unbearable anticipation, so that hope and dread merge into a new emotion, one corresponding perfectly to the absolute and the wholly unknown. The next instant, it seems, will bring with it a revolution of all matter and energy. But the seconds keep passing, the experience grows more fascinating without fulfilling its portents, without extinguishing itself in revelation. And although the visions remain active inside you, deep in your blood - you now awake. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Spectacles in the Drawer”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #2

“ We leave this behind in your capable hands, for in the black-foaming gutters and back alleys of paradise, in the dank windowless gloom of some galactic cellar, in the hollow pearly whorls found in sewerlike seas, in starless cities of insanity, and in their slums . . . my awe-struck little deer and I have gone frolicking. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Frolic”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #3

“ De Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal characterizes these demons, in the words of an unknown translator, as the one who glistens horribly like a rainbow of insects; the one who quivers in a horrible manner; and the one who moves with a particular creeping motion. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Lost Art of Twilight”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #4

“ Gaunt immortality in black and gold,
Wreathed consoler hideous to behold.
The beautiful lie of a mother's womb,
The pious trick - for it is the tomb!
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Lost Art of Twilight”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #5

“ There seemed to be a power to this prodigy, but it was a terribly quiescent power, a cataract of the purest light plummetting silently in the blackness of space. If it could have spoken it might have told, in a soft and reverberant voice, of the lonely peace of the planets, the uninhabited paradise of clouds and an antiseptic infinity. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mrs. Rinaldi's Angel”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #6

“ Commending me to an absolute cure, he will have immured another soul within the black and boundless walls of that eternal asylum where stars dance forever like bright puppets in the silent, staring void. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Dr. Locrian's Asylum”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #7

“ But the secrets of such a book are not absolute: once they are known, they become relegated to a lesser sphere, which is that of the knower. Having lost the prestige they once enjoyed, these former secrets now function as tools in the excavation of still deeper ones, which, in turn, will suffer the same corrosive fate. And this is the fate of all true secrets. Eventually the seeker may conclude - either through insight or sheer exhaustion - that this process is neverending, that the mortification of one mystery after another has no terminus beyond that of the seeker’s own extinction. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Spectacles in the Drawer”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #10

“ The sky had hidden itself behind a leaden vault of clouds, depriving us of the crucial element of pure sunlight which we needed to burn off the misty dreams of the past night. And a vine-twisted stone wall along the property line of the farm was the same shade as the sky, while the dormant vines themselves were as colorless as the stone they enmeshed like a strange network of dead veins. But this calculated grayness was merely an aspect of the scene, for the colors of the abundant woods along the margins of the landscape were undulled, as if those radiant leaves possessed some inner source of illumination or stood in contrast to some deeper shadow which they served to mask. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #11

“ Even when we ventured to lay our hands on that mass of darkness, we found only greater mysteries. For there was almost no tangible aspect to it, merely a hint of material sensation, barely the feel of wind or water. It seemed to possess no more substance than a few shifting flames, but flames of only the slightest warmth, black flames that have curled together to take on the molten texture of spoiled fruit. And there was a vague sense of circulation, as though a kind of serpentine life swirled gently within. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #12

“ In sleep we were consumed by the feverish life of the earth, cast among a ripe, fairly rotting world of strange growths and transformation. We took a place within a darkly flourishing landscape where even the air was ripened into ruddy hues and everything wore the wrinkled grimace of decay, the mottled complexion of old flesh. The face of the land itself was knotted with so many other faces, ones that were corrupted by vile impulses. Grotesque expressions were molding themselves into the darkish grooves of ancient bark and the whorls of withered leaf; pulpy, misshapen features peered out of damp furrows; and the crisp skin of stalks and dead seeds split into a multitude of crooked smiles. All was a freakish mask painted with russet, rashy colors—colors that bled with a virulent intensity, so rich and vibrant that things trembled with their own ripeness. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
Added by: Dr. Locrian on 06-09-2007 #13

“ The sinister, the terrible never deceive; the state in which they leave us is always one of enlightenment. And only this condition of vicious insight allows us a full grasp of the world, all things considered, just as frigid melancholy grants us full possession of ourselves.
We may hide from horror only in the heart of horror.
Could I be so unique among dreamers, having courted the Medusa - my first and oldest companion - to the exclusion of all others? Would I have her respond to this sweet talk?
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Medusa”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #14

“ Nevertheless, while I was deprived of the privilege of a natural rest, there may have also been some profit gained: the awful opulence of the dream, a rich and swollen world nourished by the exhaustion of the flesh. The world, in fact, as such. Any other realm seemed an absence by comparison, at best a chasm in the fertile graveyard of life. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mrs. Rinaldi's Angel”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #15

“ Oh, blessed puppets, receive My prayer, and teach Me to make Myself in thy image. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #16

“ Indeed, winter is not so much the holiest time as it is the holiest place, the visible locus of the divine. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #17

“ But the Creator's taste for the unreal has required something to be real in the first place, and then to wither into ruins, to fail gloriously. Hence - the World. Extend this premise to its logical conclusion and you have - curtain! - the Creator's Great Design. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #18

“ It is the old surfaces that must be stripped away and disposed of. Time to leap from that summit of illusion our world has achieved, a glorious plummet after so many centuries in which we erred on the side of excellence. When all the Creator had in mind was a third-rate sideshow of beatific puppetry. But our strainings for progress were not useless; they were simply mistaken as to their ultimate aim. For it is modern science itself which will enable us to realize the Creator's dream, and to unrealize all the rest. See for yourselves. Look what is happening to the flesh of these future puppets, and to their eyes: wax and wood and shining glass to replace the sad and cumbersome structures of biology. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #19

“ Imagine he said, all the flesh that is eaten, the teeth tearing into it, the tongue tasting its savor, and the hunger for that taste. Now take away that flesh, he said, take away the teeth and the tongue, the taste and the hunger, take away everything as it is. That was my plan. My own special plan for this world. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “I Have A Special Plan For This World”
Added by: ElHI on 06-09-2007 #29

“ The human phenomenon is but the sum
Of densely coiled layers of illusion
Each of which winds itself on the supreme insanity
That there are persons of any kind
When all there can be is mindless mirrors
Laughing and screaming as they parade about
in an endless dream
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “I Have A Special Plan For This World”
Added by: bendk on 06-09-2007 #30

“ Dreaming upon the grayish desolation of that landscape, I also find it quite easy to imagine that there might have occurred a lapse in the monumental tedium, a spontaneous and inexplicable impulse to deviate from a dreary perfection, perhaps even an unconquerable desire to risk a move toward a tempting defectiveness. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Red Tower”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #31

“ The shadows moved slowly, obscuring so many of the objects within the room and appearing to change the outlines of the simplest furnishings. The room itself became altered in its dimensions. Over the course of slow transformations it pushed outward into a great abyss and squeezed inward to create a maze of strange black turnings. Every shape was imposing itself on another shape, breeding a chaos of overlapping patterns. ”
   
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Voice in the Bones”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #82

“ The pact of bones and blackness, the voice declaimed to him. The collection of shadows . . . shadows binding bones . . . skeletons becoming shadows. And he came to understand the other things: the land stripped of flesh . . . the reeking earth ripped clean and rising into the great blackness. This reverberant discourse had made him its student, imparting theories and practice: bones pummeled into purity . . . parts turned to brilliant particles . . . the shadows seeded with the voice of skulls . . . the many voices within the eternal blackness . . . the tenebrous harmony. ”
   
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Voice in the Bones”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #83

“ But is there really a strange world? Of course. Are there, then, two worlds? Not at all. There is only our own world and it alone is alien to us, intrinsically so by virtue of its lack of mysteries. If only it actually were deranged by invisible powers, if only it were susceptible to real strangeness, perhaps it would seem more like a home to us, and less like an empty room filled with the echoes of this dreadful improvising. To think that we might have found comfort in a world suited to our nature, only to end up in one so resoundingly strange! ”
   
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Journal of J.P. Drapeau”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #85

“ It was definitely a mood of delirium that appeared to rule the scene, causing all that I saw to shimmer vaguely in my sight, as if viewed through the gauzy glow of a sick-room: a haziness that had no precise substance, distorting without in any way obscuring the objects behind or within it. There was an atmosphere of disorder and commotion that I sensed in the streets of the town, as if its delirious mood were only a soft prelude to great pandemonium. I heard the sound of something that I could not identify, an approaching racket that caused me to take refuge in a narrow passageway between a pair of high buildings. Nestled in this dark hiding place I watched the street and listened as that nameless clattering grew louder. It was a medley of clanging and creaking, of groaning and croaking, a dull jangle of something unknown as it groped its way through the town, a chaotic parade in honor of some special occasion of delirium.

The street that I saw beyond the narrow opening between the two buildings was now entirely empty. The only thing I could glimpse was a blur of high and low structures which appeared to quiver slightly as the noise became louder and louder, the parade closing in, though from which direction I did not know. The formless clamor seemed to envelop everything around me, and then suddenly I could see a passing figure in the street. Dressed in loose white garments, it had an egg-shaped head that was completely hairless and as white as paste, a clown of some kind who moved in a way that was both casual and laborious, as if it were strolling underwater or against a strong wind, tracing strange patterns in the air with billowed arms and pale hands. It seemed to take forever for this apparition to pass from view, but just before doing so it turned to peer into the narrow passage where I had secreted myself, and its greasy white face was wearing an expression of bland malevolence.

Others followed the lead figure, including a team of ragged men who were harnessed like beasts and pulled long bristling ropes. They also moved out of sight, leaving the ropes to waver slackly behind them. The vehicle to which these ropes were attached - by means of enormous hooks - rolled into the scene, its great wooden wheels audibly grinding the pavement of the street beneath them. It was a sort of platform with huge wooden stakes rising from its perimeter to form the bars of a cage. There was nothing to secure the wooden bars at the top, and so they wobbled with the movement of the parade. Hanging from the bars, and rattling against them, was an array of objects haphazardly tethered by cords and wires and straps of various kinds. I saw masks and shoes, household utensils and naked dolls, large bleached bones and the skeletons of small animals, bottles of colored glass, the head of a dog with a rusty chain wrapped several times around its neck, and sundry scraps of debris and other things I could not name, all knocking together in a wild percussion. I watched and listened as that ludicrous vehicle passed by in the street. Nothing else followed it, and the enigmatic parade seemed to be at an end, now only a delirious noise fading into the distance.
”
   
  Thomas Ligotti - “A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 08-30-2008 #304

“ I spent the rest of the day devising a very special costume and the appropriate face to go with it. I easily shabbied up my overcoat with a torn pocket or two and a complete set of stains. Combined with blue jeans and a pair of rather scuffed-up shoes, I had a passable costume for a derelict. The face, however, was more difficult, for I had to experiment from memory. Conjuring a mental image of the screaming pierrot in that painting (The Scream, I now recall), helped me quite a bit. At nightfall I exited the hotel by the back stairway.

It was strange to walk down the crowded street in this gruesome disguise. Though I thought I would feel conspicuous, the actual experience was very close, I imagined, to one of complete invisibility. No one looked at me as I strolled by, or as they strolled by, or as we strolled by each other. I was a phantom - perhaps the ghost of festivals past, or those yet to come.
”
   
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Last Feast of Harlequin”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 08-30-2008 #320

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