My Work Is Not Yet Done
November 25, 2004 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Literature Is Entertainment or It Is Nothing. Thomas Ligotti, regarded by many as the greatest genius to hit fantastic literature since Poe, Lovecraft, or Machen speaks on mental illness, his writing process, and his influences in a wry and thoughtful interview from Fantastic Metropolis. And once you're done with that, you may wish to check out this fun page of his Notes and Aphorisms, if you happen to like notes and aphorisms.
posted by Sticherbeast (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've never heard of this guy before in my life, but that interview is definitely interesting stuff. Thanks for the link. It really made me think, and I'm only a few pages into it.

The guy is a bit off his rocker, but that's what I expect from writers. I got As in my creative writing courses in high school, so maybe I'm also crazy.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 6:28 PM on November 25, 2004

I'd never heard of Ligotti, but a few pages in and I'm interested. Good post! What's his best work ... the links seem to dance around recommedations. Sticherbeast, what do you like best?

On preview: what Kleptophoria! said
posted by bonaldi at 6:35 PM on November 25, 2004

The greatest power one may possess -- in any situation -- is simply not to care what happens. In fact, it's the only power, all others being a semblance and mockery of it. But you must also not care about possessing the power itself. So fuck it.

I've never heard of this guy either, but I think I'll be hitting the bookstore tomorrow. Thanks, Sticherbeast!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:14 PM on November 25, 2004

(After a bit of research...)

Oh, dear. Are Ligotti's collections even in print?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 PM on November 25, 2004

Some of Ligotti's work is online.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:48 PM on November 25, 2004

Ligotti has also collaborated several times with Current 93. In fact, C93's In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land is intended as background music to reading some of Ligotti's stories, which are included with the CD.
posted by TheIrreverend at 8:12 PM on November 25, 2004

What a great interview.
Neddal Ayad: Incidentally, do you notice much of a gender split in your readership?

Thomas Ligotti: It’s pretty much all maladjusted guys with advanced university degrees, although there are some outstanding female exceptions with advanced degrees and literary talents. They’re not what people think of as nerds living in their parents’ basements. The ones with whom I’ve been in contact over the years live far more normal lives than I do. In any case, I’d like to put in a good word for nerds living in their parents’ basement—they’re an undeservedly maligned subculture that I’m proud to count among my readers if they’re out there.
posted by Succa at 8:13 PM on November 25, 2004

I think this interview alone inspired me to go write some random short stories. I can only imagine trying to live with the man, though.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 8:31 PM on November 25, 2004

The Nightmare Factory is in my bookcase right row. Brilliant, disturbing stuff, a literary HR Giger.
posted by SPrintF at 10:11 PM on November 25, 2004

The Nightmare Factory is in my bookcase right row.

Curse you. Amazon has it used for $75, and the Advanced Book Exchange doesn't list it at all. I don't think I'll be reading this for a long, long time.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:26 PM on November 25, 2004

I was about to recommend "whatever's in print," but it looks like that might no be an option at the moment...bah!

Hold the phone - you can get the In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land CD, which I hear is very cool. So that's in print. I've got another C93 collaboration myself, I Have a Special Plan For This World, and it's a thousand pounds of awesome. Tibet reading a poem by Ligotti with hypnorific music underneath. Great stuff. Supposedly C93 is going to be re-releasing their back catalog over the next year or two, so keep an eye peeled for that.

Anyway, the best introduction would be The Nightmare Factory, which I see SPrintF has already recommended. It comprises most of his short fiction published to that point, plus some rillyrillygood extra ones. A nice hefty volume with a nifty essay on horror in the front. Dense, filling, and impossibly eerie. Highly recommended.

On preview: oh no, Faint of Butt! That sucks! eBay has some less ridiculously priced stuff, at least right now. And My Work Is Not Yet Done is also really good, too.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:41 PM on November 25, 2004

Amazing interview.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:57 PM on November 25, 2004

Fantastic Metropolis really does do some great stuff at times.
Sticherbeast, that Machen link reminds me I have a stack of bookmarks about the man for an FPP I had planned. May have to dust them off...
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:47 AM on November 26, 2004

I'm a great admirer of Ligotti's prose and have collected nine of his books. Although he'll never be to everyone's taste, I think his work deserves and can maintain a wider audience than it's had.

The Nightmare Factory compilation includes stories from three earlier volumes, and two of these, Grimscribe and Noctuary, appear to be more-or-less cheaply obtainable via abebooks. Ligotti's debut collection Songs of a Dead Dreamer is also likewise findable, but is selling for $20 and up.

Here's a Ligotti curiosity, a track (WMA file, self-link) lifted from a CD which accompanied the book Crampton, an unrealised screenplay co-written by Ligotti. The track features Ligotti reading one of his prose-poems, and accompanying himself on guitar...
posted by misteraitch at 12:47 AM on November 26, 2004

thatwhichfallls: when you can, please bring on the Machen! I'm just getting into him. Right now I'm reading his translation of the Heptameron, and I think it's turning me into a Renaissance princess. Disconcerting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:32 AM on November 26, 2004

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