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Old 12-09-2016   #11
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Curiously enough, I saw TL namechecked in Caitlin Kiernin's 'Silk,' as in 'Ligotti's,' the name of a gothy junk shop. I loved the novel (though I've never read anything else by her), and that served to further my interest as well.
Now that you mention it, that may have been the very first time I saw Ligotti's name as well... though I did not realize it at the time.

I seem to recall back in the early 2000's (maybe 2003, 2004) an online friend recommending Ligotti to me, on the recommendation that if I liked LOvecraft, I would like Ligotti as well. Then in 2005 the Barnes & Noble I work at received a copy of the Cold Spring Press "greatest hits" collection The Shadow at the Bottom of the World. So I purchased it. The first story (Last feast of the Harlequin) seemed a bit long to me, so I skipped right to "Dr. Voke and Mr. Veech." Then after that I read "Alice's Last Adventure." And then, for whatever bizarre reason, I read no more. But then in 2008 I picked the book up again and became instantly hooked. Funny how the mind words... after that I started devouring every Ligotti book I could get my hands on!

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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Old 12-09-2016   #12
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

When I learned of Ligotti, I quickly bought the Kindle version of Noctuary. I'm not sure why that one in particular. In any case, the first story in the collection was "The Medusa," and therefore my first Ligotti experience. It was such a different type of horror than I had ever experienced before, as intellectually unsettling as it was emotionally, that I was hooked. And it's so minimalist. Really, it's a perfect example of what I want from weird/horror fiction. That sense of things being vaguely askew until the final horror becomes fully understood.
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Old 12-09-2016   #13
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

For me it was "Teatro Grottesco". I was knee-deep into Poe and Lovecraft at the time and I came across the connection between Lovecraft and Ligotti. Teatro Grottesco was the most readily available collection of his at the time so that's the one I picked up. The stories certainly made an impression on me, they were unlike anything I'd read before - especially his dense, baroque language and surreal atmosphere. But it wasn't until I read "The Red Tower" that I really saw the genius behind his writings.
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Old 12-09-2016   #14
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

I checked Ligotti out due to him being touted as the new Poe or Lovecraft, but I was cynical after being caustically stabbed by bad recommendations from the online weird fiction community. For context, I had just finished reading Derleth's Trail of Cthulhu. I picked up Teatro Grottesco because at the time it was the only one of Ligotti's collections still in print, which is odd to think as this was only a few years ago.

I was a fan by the end of Purity. His most underrated tale and possibly my favourite. The site consensus on here seems to be that his later fiction isn't as good, but I think Ligotti is one of the only horror writers who is both consistently great and has only gotten greater as time moves on.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay

Last edited by James; 12-10-2016 at 03:03 AM..
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Old 12-09-2016   #15
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

My first exposure to Ligotti was through The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Only after I arrived at this forum did I check out his fictional works.

For some reason, the title My Work Is Not Yet Done caught my eyes. I got the book and after reading it and I Have A Special Plan For This World, Ligotti has become my favorite horror author.

I think if I were to read Teatro Grottesco first, I would have strayed from Ligotti for years. It has a coldness that takes sometime to get used to.

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 12-09-2016   #16
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

My first exposure to Ligotti occurred whilst ambling along Pinellas Trails on an overcast September afternoon...
surely, i jest...my deepest sympathologies...

It was undoubtedly within an anthology containing Last Feast or summat.
My first collection was the Cold Spring Press edition of Shadow Bottom World. (My second was a Mythos edition of My Work... purchased directly from Senor Ligotti, hisownself!)
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Old 12-09-2016   #17
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post

I was a fan by the end of Purity. His most underrated tale and possibly my favourite.
Yep!!!! Common ground for James and I.

Put your faith in God; he won't expect you.
Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
-Robyn Hitchcock
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Old 12-10-2016   #18
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection



I first encountered the work of Thomas Ligotti through the Big Blue Book, in 1996, during my third or fourth year of university. I had recently dropped out of law school and was pursuing a degree in English Literature, but I had become thoroughly disillusioned. I felt that my education was being hijacked by ideology and political correctness—by the various –isms which Harold Bloom relegates to the School of Resentment—most notably by post-feminist propaganda. Apparently all of my beloved author-mentors were evil patriarchs, guilty of being Dead White Males, and my own masculinity was something to be abhorred—but that is a subject for another time.

I began neglecting my studies and sought out authors who had not been targeted by the academic crosshairs, hoping to find a voice that would clarify my own unfocused thoughts. I discovered Hermann Hesse (my first great literary obsession; Schopenhauer was my second), Andre Gide, Knut Hamsun, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Bukowski, and many others, but in the end not one of these writers satisfied me. I could sense something disingenuous in their work, as if they were faking it (with the exception of Kafka). Where was the writer who believed that being alive was not all right?

At this point in time I had never read a horror novel, nor had I seen a horror movie in full [as I explained in this post, I was a scaredy cat: http://www.ligotti.net/showpost.php?...4&postcount=10]. At the urging of a fellow long-haired student in a creative writing class (never study creative writing at university) I read Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. I raced through every volume over a few sleepless nights, and could not believe what I had been missing. I then devoured all the horror fiction I could find, but very little of it could match Barker’s raw energy—Poppy Brite and Ramsey Campbell came close. I began investigating the literary origins of horror, and made my way through M. R. James, Benson, Onions, Le Fanu, Poe, Hawthorne, Bierce, and on to the sensational Gothic novels that captivated the Romantics.

One afternoon in a second hand bookstore I found a battered paperback of classic American Gothic tales. One story in particular, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, took my breath away. Here is a writer who has nothing good to say about humanity, I thought. I understood the seething malevolence behind the bland faces of her ordinary characters, and I immediately sought out more of her work. I found an omnibus edition of her fiction published by Carroll & Graf—now you see where this rambling post is heading. Printed on the inside back cover of this omnibus was an advertisement for a certain book, the intriguing cover of which featured the names of Poppy and Clive.

I found a copy of the Big Blue Book in a now defunct fantasy and scifi bookstore in Sydney. I vividly remember standing in the horror aisle and reading Brite’s impassioned and enigmatic introduction, and the unforgettable passage she quotes from “The Frolic”—black-foaming gutters, back alleys of paradise, some galactic cellar, sewerlike seas... What was this? Later that evening I read “The Frolic” while sitting on a bench in the underground platform of Central Station. As faceless people bustled around me, and train after train left the dark, grimy platform I continued reading, not wishing to leave the underground and return to the surface.

That was twenty years ago.


In spite of all the expensive, limited edition hardcovers that I own, my favourite volume of Ligotti’s fiction remains the Big Blue Book. I love its dark, smudgy typeface, the coarse, yellowing pages, its hefty weight, and especially the memory it evokes of my first encounter with a genius whose words have forever shaped my inner life. As you can see from the above photo, I have a couple of extra copies—just in case…

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 12-10-2016   #19
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

It was the Big Blue Book for me too. Nowhere near an interesting story as Bleak&Icy but looks like I got one used in the same condition as the one in the middle of the three. I don't really remember why I bought it but again it was likely the words of Poppy or Clive that did it. As I remember, I think I kept it a year or two before I opened it.

"Drink to me" was the first one to give me the impression that this was something different. The strange areas of towns connected with my love of urban dereliction and the general idea that this was someone that sees the world differently.

I've now got copies of the big four that the Big Blue Book was built from and I'm currently working through what didn't make it into BBB.

Glad I found it.

Souphead.
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Old 12-10-2016   #20
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Re: Your First Ligotti Collection

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
My first exposure to Ligotti was through The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Only after I arrived at this forum did I check out his fictional works.

For some reason, the title My Work Is Not Yet Done caught my eyes. I got the book and after reading it and I Have A Special Plan For This World, Ligotti has become my favorite horror author.

I think if I were to read Teatro Grottesco first, I would have strayed from Ligotti for years. It has a coldness that takes sometime to get used to.
Your story is very similar to mine. My first encounter with Ligotti's name occurred upon opening Ray Brassier's Nihil Unbound. Unlike many here, I came very late.

Most of the stories in Teatro Grottesco contain a great deal of dark humor compared to his other collections. I personally prefer Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Grimscribe, and Noctuary over Teatro Grottesco. Having said that, I don't believe Ligotti has really published anything which can be considered bad. If someone likes one story of Ligotti's, chances are he or she will like the others. He's such a consistent writer.

"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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