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Old 04-05-2017   #1
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Topic Winner Stories without Characters

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I thought it would be interesting to see what recommendations people have for stories which feature no obvious characters, with Ligotti's own 'The Red Tower' being a notable example.

What are your favourite character-less stories and why do they still manage to work so well?
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Old 04-06-2017   #2
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Re: Stories without Characters

"The Black Mould" by Mark Samuels comes immediately to mind, as do several pieces from the "Notebook of the Night" section of Noctuary.
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Old 04-06-2017   #3
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Re: Stories without Characters

Don't some Machen stories have no proper characters? Might be wrong.

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Old 04-06-2017   #4
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Re: Stories without Characters

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Don't some Machen stories have no proper characters? Might be wrong.
"The Bowmen?" It's been a while since I read it, so I could be wrong.

"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."

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Old 04-06-2017   #5
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Re: Stories without Characters

Maybe "The Great Return"?

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Old 04-06-2017   #6
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Re: Stories without Characters

Quote Originally Posted by Nightspore View Post
"The Black Mould" by Mark Samuels comes immediately to mind, as do several pieces from the "Notebook of the Night" section of Noctuary.
'The Black Mould' is a particular favourite of mine. It was certainly my favourite story in 'The Man who Collected Machen' collection.
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Old 04-06-2017   #7
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Re: Stories without Characters

If I remember correctly, 'The Bonfire' by Kunikida Doppo, struck me as being more about the beach on which it was set than the human figures that pass like shadows across it.

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Old 04-06-2017   #8
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Re: Stories without Characters

Unsure if something like Bruno Schulz' "a treatise on mannequins" would apply, as there is a narrator that has been pre-stablished by the tales before it and he is adressing an audience, yet the core of the story is the proto-Ligottian discourse on mannequins that has no characters or plot per se. Speaking of Ligotti, his own "profesor nobody's little lectures..." piece strikes me as similar, considering how in the pre-Subterrarean editions the professor ended each segment addressing the class.
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Old 04-06-2017   #9
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Re: Stories without Characters

Borges, "The Library of Babel"

Magdalena Tulli, Dreams and Stones (a fantastic novella about a city that grows organically; denizens of the city and their activities are described, but they are not so much characters as parts of the dreaming, growing city itself)

Ligotti, "The Spectral Estate" (one of my favorites)

The middle section ("Time Passes") of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. There are some characters involved, but this section is mainly a description of changes in a family's unoccupied house over a period of years. Within the context of the novel, this is quite powerful.
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Old 04-06-2017   #10
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Re: Stories without Characters

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Borges, "The Library of Babel"

Ligotti, "The Spectral Estate" (one of my favorites)
You'd think I'd have remembered 'The Library of Babel' after I read it last week.

'The Spectral Estate' is one of the few (I assume) Ligotti stories I've never come across. Naturally I'm immediately intrigued.
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