Thomas Ligotti

Thomas Ligotti

Thomas Ligotti (b. July 9 1953, Detroit, Michigan) is a writer of horror stories.

Something of a cult figure, Ligotti is rather little known, but has seen high praise as one of the most effective and unique horror writers of recent decades: "The Washington Post" called him "the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction"; [Blurb from Ligotti's "The Nightmare Factory"] another critic declared "It's a skilled writer indeed who can suggest a horror so shocking that one is grateful it was kept offstage." [ [] ]


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

Ligotti began his publishing career in the early 1980s with a number of short stories published in various American small press magazines.

His unique and affecting tales gathered a small following. Ligotti's relative anonymity and reclusiveness led to speculation about his identity: Was Ligotti a pseudonym used by a prominent literary writer? Were his stories in fact collaborations of multiple authors? 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 as profoundly nihilistic (though he's 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" [ [] ] ), and has stated he has suffered from anxiety for much of his life; these have been prominent themes in his work.

Ligotti generally 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 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.

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

Ligotti has 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) and "This Degenerate Little Town" (2001) 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 there will be a second volume published in September 2008.

Wonder Entertainment has 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 will be available of this collector's edition. The book, which contains the revised "The Frolic," is exclusive to this set.


Critical opinion of Ligotti has generally been favorable. The New York Times Book Review wrote "If there were a literary genre called 'philosophical horror,' Thomas Ligotti's "Grimscribe" would easily fit within it" and praised his "provocative images and a style that is both entertaining and lyrical".

He has often been favorably compared to Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and H. P. Lovecraft.


Ligotti has received many awards and nominations for his work:

* 1982: Small Press Writers and Artists Organization, Best Author of Horror/Weird Fiction: "The Chymist"
* 1986: Rhysling Award, from Science Fiction Poetry Association (nomination): "One Thousand Painful Variations Performed Upon Divers Creatures Undergoing the Treatment of Dr. Moreau, Humanist"
* 1991: World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction (nomination): "The Last Feast of Harlequin"
* 1992: World Fantasy Award for Best Collection (nomination): "Grimscribe: His Lives and Works"
* 1997: World Fantasy Award for Best Collection (nomination): "The Nightmare Factory"
* 1995: Bram Stoker Award for Best Short Fiction (nomination): "The Bungalow House"
* 1996: Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection: "The Nightmare Factory"
* 1996: Bram Stoker Award for Best Long Fiction: "The Red Tower"
* 2002: Bram Stoker Award for Best Long Fiction: "My Work Is Not Yet Done"
* 2002: International Horror Guild Award, Long Form Category: "My Work Is Not Yet Done"


*"Songs of a Dead Dreamer" (1986, rev. & exp. 1989)
*"Grimscribe: His Lives and Works" (1991)
*"Noctuary" (1994)
*"The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales" (1994)
*"The Nightmare Factory" (1996)
*"In a Foreign Town, in a Foreign Land" (1997, with Current 93)
*"I Have a Special Plan for This World" (2000, with Current 93)
*"This Degenerate Little Town" (2001, with Current 93)
*"My Work Is Not Yet Done: Three Tales of Corporate Horror" (2002)
*"Crampton: A Screenplay" (2003, with Brandon Trenz)
*"Sideshow, and Other Stories" (2003)
*"Death Poems" (2004)
*"The Shadow at the Bottom of the World" (2005)
*"Teatro Grottesco" (2006)
*"The Conspiracy Against the Human Race" (forthcoming 2007)

*"The Thomas Ligotti Reader: Essays and Explorations" (2003), edited by Darrell Schweitzer. A collection of essays about Ligotti's work, which includes one by Ligotti on the horror genre, a Ligotti interview, and a bibliography of his published works.
*"Studies in Modern Horror, issue #2" (2004), edited by N. G. Christakos. This issue of the scholarly journal concerning contemporary weird tales includes Nick Curtis' essay "Notes on Time Displacement and Memory Loss in Crampton" and the first published version of "The Unholy City" poem cycle by Ligotti.
*"Studies in Modern Horror, issue #4" (2006), edited by N. G. Christakos. This issue of the scholarly journal concerning contemporary weird tales includes Stephen Tompkins' essay, "The Nemesis of Mimesis: Thomas Ligotti, Worlds Elsewhere, and the Darkness Ten Times Black".
*"The Nightmare Factory" (2007)


External links

* [ Thomas Ligotti Online] - Fan site, wealth of information, media and discussion on Thomas Ligotti.
* [ Horror Garage interview with Thomas Ligotti] conducted by Mark McLaughlin in 2008
* [ "It's all a matter of personal pathology"] -a July 2006 interview With Ligotti conducted by Matt Cardin.
* [ -a 2002 interview with Ligotti]
* [ Literature Is Entertainment or It Is Nothing] - a long, in-depth interview conducted by Neddal Ayad.
* [ "The Ultimate Mythos Book List"] - Listing of all Cthulhu mythos novels, anthologies, collections, comic books, and more.
* [ Listing of his works]

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