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Old 05-26-2017   #41
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Ligotti isn't too deep or literary for mainstream culture. Nihilism and Pessimism both go through fads in pop culture - it wasn't that long ago that No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood were both box office successes and competing for Oscars. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that the original Star Wars was a major exception to what was probably the darkest period in American cinema - just sticking to science fiction alone, put Star Wars in the context of Planet of the Apes, West World, and Silent Running. Family Guy even managed a clever spoof:


On the other hand, I don't see Ligotti reaching a mass audience because he's really just one weird horror author among countless others. That's nothing against Ligotti - it's just that we can ask the same question about Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Philip Jose Farmer, Poppy Z. Brite, Laird Barron, etc.
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Old 05-26-2017   #42
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Ligotti entering the mainstream? I hate to sound elitist, but most people don't possess the reading skills necessary to process anything he's written.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 05-26-2017   #43
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Most people don't even possess the literacy skills to process and understand Stephen King novels at this point. I don't care about sounding elitist in the slightest. People don't care nearly as much about books any more as they used to, and the majority now don't read for pleasure after they finish school so if you were to hand them a novel they'd struggle to even comprehend a basic narrative. I'm treated like an absolute weirdo for reading daily and desiring to become a writer of literature and not screenplays.

Ligotti could very well enter the mainstream, and what it would take is a breakthrough hit of a TV or movie adaptation which would likely botch his themes. His written fiction alone won't do it because reading is not a mainstream activity. Ditto for Lovecraft. I think this Lovecraft Country show could be a hit and propel Lovecraft's fame even further into the mainstream, but I can't imagine most of these viewers then sitting down to read his baroque prose.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 05-26-2017   #44
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Mainstream success doesn't require people read extensively though - whether it's film, television, visual arts, or now video games, creators are and will continue to be much more erudite than consumers. Ligotti's prose might bar his actual writings from mass readership, but this wouldn't stop him from becoming successful through adaptations. Ballard is similar to Ligotti in outlook and style and more extreme in terms of content, yet both Crash and Hi-Rise were produced with decent budgets, major actors, and the potential for mass audiences. Crash suffered somewhat from moral backlash (a situation I doubt would repeat itself today), but both films ultimately failed due to their own flaws rather than unreceptive audiences. Ligotti's use of unreliable narrators isn't beyond anything that Aronofsky and Nolan haven't employed in box office successes, he's far less ambiguous and contradictory than Lost and The Leftovers, and outside of The Red Tower, Professor Nobody, and some prose poems, Ligotti's fiction uses fairly conventional characters and plot structures for horror fiction. I'm just not seeing any "anti-it" factor in his work that would make him inherently "unpop".
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Old 05-26-2017   #45
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Young Adult books are supposed to sell like crazy aren't they? It's been like this for a good number of years I think. Do they just grow up and don't have time for reading anymore?

Recently seen a news item about an American school that got little children to read literally hundreds of books a year. I hope that kind of model could spread.

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Old 05-27-2017   #46
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Young Adult books are supposed to sell like crazy aren't they? It's been like this for a good number of years I think. Do they just grow up and don't have time for reading anymore?

Recently seen a news item about an American school that got little children to read literally hundreds of books a year. I hope that kind of model could spread.
I think after a certain age Nature takes over, overriding the intellectual stimulation caused by reading. You don't need to be a Freudian to know that physical (especially sexual) gratification reigns supreme for most human beings. Reading, especially after one's entry into adulthood, is an act of defiance in relation to our basic programming. Once someone realizes reading esoteric books won't aid their pursuit of physical pleasure, he or she is more likely than not to simply stop reading; it's essentially a waste of one's time.

Moral: If you're looking to pass on your genetic code, then you should probably stay away from Plato and Shakespeare. As an antinatalist, I actually believe it is one's moral duty to read such material. Reading, because it is an act of defiance, is a virtue - a heroic act. I actually consider my own reading of Ligotti as a form of religious meditation. I treat the New Testament and the words of the Buddha in more or less the same way.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 05-27-2017   #47
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
Laird Barron, etc.
This is the only part where I disagree. Barron is as close to mainstream popularity as any of the current crop of weird writers is likely to get.
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Old 05-27-2017   #48
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Veech- I would have thought the urges of children would make reading more difficult. I had very little patience for reading books before I was a teenager.

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Old 05-27-2017   #49
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Veech- I would have thought the urges of children would make reading more difficult. I had very little patience for reading books before I was a teenager.
It's been my experience that children exhibit a great deal of excitement when they're in the presence of a book. Seeing as how most teenagers struggle to focus when reading, I consider puberty the time when the conflict between reading, as an unnatural act, and physical gratification becomes initially apparent.

I've witnessed this in my own personal life. We become "puppets" when we become interested in sexual affairs. We lose our autonomy once we are forced to pursue that which "serves" the species. I believe it's possible to overcome to some extent our natural propensities through, ironically, self-denial, which includes reading at the most basic level. But in any case, I don't think it's possible to systematically try and get people to read on their own time through some kind of social program. The only thing which can drive a person to say "NO!" to their natural propensities is extensive suffering.

There's also the economic aspect to consider with regards to why so few people read. Reading involves precious use of someone's time. If I choose to read incessantly, especially difficult works, someone must pay for that use of time. This "someone" could be either the person who reads, or it could be someone who doesn't read at all. So, while I view reading as a virtuous act, it must be accompanied by the appropriate amount of foundational labor provided by the one who reads. Reading at the expense of others is tantamount to theft, which is a problem I saw in academia. It's important to be willing to work and study, not just the latter. Indeed, the former, in my opinion, exists for the very sake of the latter. Even though it's not a sufficient condition for one's "transcendence" with respect to Nature, it is a necessary one.

But how many people are both economically self-sufficient and disciplined enough to study? Not very many.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 05-27-2017   #50
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Extensive suffering? I'm not at all convinced. I don't see that in other readers and the only suffering that made me a reader was being disappointed by what films and comics had to offer.

Education puts a lot of people off reading but I think programs that encourage reading in general form habits. And habits have a powerful effect over our behaviour.

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