Thomas Ligotti

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Thomas Ligotti
Born(1953-07-09) July 9, 1953 (age 60)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
OccupationShort story writer
NationalityAmerican
Period1981–present
GenresHorror fiction, dark fantasy
 
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Thomas Ligotti
Born(1953-07-09) July 9, 1953 (age 60)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
OccupationShort story writer
NationalityAmerican
Period1981–present
GenresHorror fiction, dark fantasy

Thomas Ligotti (born July 9, 1953) is a contemporary American horror author and reclusive literary cult figure. His writings, while unique in style, have been noted[by whom?] as major continuations of several literary genres – most prominently Lovecraftian horror – and have overall been described[by whom?] as works of "philosophical horror", often written as philosophical novels with a "darker" undertone which is similar to gothic fiction. The Washington Post called him "the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction";[1] another critic declared "It's a skilled writer indeed who can suggest a horror so shocking that one is grateful it was kept offstage."[2]

Overview[edit]

Ligotti attended Macomb County Community College between 1971 and 1973 and graduated from Wayne State University in 1977.

Ligotti started his publishing career in the early 1980s with a number of short stories published in various American small press magazines. He was contributing editor to Grimoire from 1982-1985. [3]

His unique and affecting tales gathered a small following. Ligotti's relative anonymity and reclusiveness led to speculation about his identity. In an introduction to a 1996 collection of Ligotti fiction, The Nightmare Factory, Poppy Z. Brite mentioned these notions with a rhetorical question: "Are you out there, Thomas Ligotti?"

In recent years, Ligotti has conducted interviews and disclosed some details of his background. For twenty-three years Ligotti worked as an Associate Editor at Gale Research (now the Gale Group), a publishing company that produces compilations of literary (and other) research. In the summer of 2001, Ligotti quit his job at the Gale Group and moved to south Florida. His favorite music is generally instrumental rock.

Ligotti's worldview has been described[by whom?] as profoundly nihilistic (though he is wary of the label, stating: "'Nihilist' is a name that other people call you. No intelligent person has ever described or thought of himself as a nihilist."[4]), and has stated he has suffered from chronic anxiety for much of his life; these have been prominent themes in his work.

Ligotti avoids the explicit violence common in some recent horror fiction, preferring to establish a disquieting, pessimistic atmosphere through the use of subtlety and repetition. He has cited Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Bernhard, Edgar Allan Poe, Bruno Schulz, Emil Cioran and William S. Burroughs as being among his favorite writers. There are similarities between some of Ligotti's work and the stories of Robert Aickman as well. H. P. Lovecraft is also an important touchstone for Ligotti: a few stories, "The Sect of the Idiot" in particular, make explicit reference to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, and one, "The Last Feast of Harlequin," was dedicated to Lovecraft. Also among his avowed influences (as cited in an early interview with the fanzine Dagon) are M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood, and Arthur Machen, all fin de siécle horror authors known for their subtlety and implications of the cosmic and supernatural in their stories.

Ligotti has stated he prefers short stories to longer forms, both as a reader and writer,[citation needed] though he has recently written a novella, My Work Is Not Yet Done.

Ligotti collaborated with the musical group Current 93 on the albums In A Foreign Town, In A Foreign Land (1997, reissued 2002), I Have a Special Plan for This World (2000), This Degenerate Little Town (2001) and The Unholy City (2003), all released on David Tibet's Durtro label. Tibet has also published several limited editions of Ligotti's books on Durtro Press. Ligotti also played guitar on Current 93's contribution to the compilation Foxtrot, an album whose proceeds went to the treatment of musician John Balance's alcoholism.

Critical analyses of Ligotti's work can be found in S. T. Joshi's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001), as well as in a critical anthology assembled by Darrell Schweitzer, a fan of Ligotti.

In September 2007, Fox Atomic Comics released The Nightmare Factory, a graphic novel based on Ligotti's stories. The book received very strong reviews, and consequently a second volume was published in September 2008.

Wonder Entertainment released The Frolic Collector's Edition DVD and Book set, which contains a short film adaptation of Thomas Ligotti's short story "The Frolic". This collector's edition contains the following: commentary tracks and behind-the-scenes by director Jacob Cooney, producer Jane Kelly Kosek, and actor Maury Sterling; a new interview with screenwriters Thomas Ligotti and Brandon Trenz; a newly revised version of the short story, with a new introduction by Thomas Ligotti; and the screenplay, with a new introduction by Brandon Trenz. Only 1,000 copies were made available of this collector's edition. The book, which contains the revised "The Frolic", is exclusive to this set.

Ligotti gives a favorable quote in the introduction to Nova Scotia, Canada, fiction writer Barry Wood's short story "Nowhere to Go" published in England's Postscripts #14 in 2008. Ligotti has also provided blurbs for books by Eddie M. Angerhuber, Matt Cardin, Michael Cisco, John B. Ford, Thomas Wiloch, and the philosopher Eugene Thacker. Scottish philosopher Ray Brassier wrote the Foreword to Ligotti's The Conspiracy against the Human Race. [5]

Subterranean Press has begun to release definitive revised editions of some of Ligotti's earlier collections, including Grimscribe.

Awards[edit]

Ligotti has received numerous awards and nominations for his work:

Bibliography[edit]

By him[edit]

About him[edit]

Comics adaptations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blurb from Ligotti's The Nightmare Factory
  2. ^ iblist.com
  3. ^ Darrell Schweitzer (ed). The Thomas Ligotti Reader Holicong, PA: Wildside Press, 2003, p. 178.
  4. ^ darkmoonrising.com
  5. ^ Darrell Schweiter (ed), The Thomas Ligotti Reader, Holicong PA: Wildside Press, 2003, pp.178-79.

External links[edit]