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Nightmare Factory [Paperback]

Thomas Ligotti

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Book Description

Jun 1996
The terrifying world of acclaimed horror writer Thomas Ligotti brought frighteningly to life by a collection of today's most talented writers and illustrators. In the tradition of horror masters Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti crafts dark, disturbing tales of horror and suspense. The New York Times coined the phrase "philosophical horror" specifically to describe his groundbreaking work. In this book, three of Ligotti's most terrifying stories are adapted by three distinct writer/artist teams. In "The Last Feast of the Harlequin," writer Stuart Moore and artist Colleen Doran tell of an anthropologist's journey into a surreal winter carnival, where he witnesses an ancient rite of human sacrifice to grotesque worm-like creatures. Ben Templesmith's art accompanies Stuart Moore's adaptation of "Dream of a Mannequin,"-the story of a patient and psychiatrist bound together in a horrific dream. And in the final story, writer Joe Harris and artist Michael Gaydos team up to adapt a strange urban legend that robs artists of their desire to create art when they're confronted with horrible revelations. Each story is more terrifying than the next, and the talent assembled here brings a new dimension to a legendary horror writer's most chilling work.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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'Connoisseurs of literary skill who are willing to be frightened will find the book a feast.' Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Something of a cult figure, Thomas Ligotti is comparatively little known, but has been bestowed high praise as one of the most effective and unique horror writers of recent decades. Often compared to writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and H.P. Lovecraft, no less than the Washington Post called Ligotti, 'the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction'. Ligotti began his publishing career in the early 1980s. For twenty-three years Ligotti worked as an Associate Editor at Gale Research. In the summer of 2001, Ligotti quit his job at the Gale Group and moved to south Florida. Nevertheless there are still some who question his actual existence and--in a fittingly Ligottian notion--claim these biographical details are part of an extended literary conspiracy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stuff of Our Best Nightmares 9 Dec 2000
By Edward Scott Haas - Published on
Mr. Ligotti is the true Master of contemporary horror. He understands how to communicate the breakdown of rationality. If you have read Kafka, you probably know what I am talking about. His stories take place in a bleak post-industrial zone of decaying cities, drifting artistic failures and dark mystics playing with the soul-searing secrets of an unfriendly cosmos. In a King or Koontz story, you may be chased by a horrible monster. But you still retain your identity and place in linear space-time. Not so with Ligotti's world. He submerges his doomed characters in a void where everything becomes menacing and lawless. One of his stories describes a sect who once believed that everything was filled with a divine essence. Exploring the matter deeper, however, they discovered that the reverse was true. The entire universe was filled with a hostile decaying essence and the only hope for happiness is ignorance. People tried to find out the ultimate truth, discovered to late that it was unspeakably horrible and then could not forget what they had learned. Pieces of an idol representing the foul nature of existence were scattered like the body of Osiris to the ends of the earth so as to hide the truth from the innocent. Another story concerns enchanting music played by mysterious performers in an abondoned building on nights when the moon is full. Anyone who hears the music is found mutilated and wrapped in a web-like bandages the next morning. We are never told why this happens, but it communicates a feeling of dread--humans are being preyed upon by incomprehensible forces. A small town is dominated by a creepy clown-like cult that are anything but funny. A grown man is driven near madness by memories of a disturbing carnival sideshow attended in his boyhood. These stories are for you if you like to be challenged to take a look at the world from a radical new perspective. Philosophical pessimists will them for their bleakness, poets for their haunting use of language and vague but emotionally charged descriptions. People just looking for something different will not be disappointed. This book was out of print for a while but, thankfully, it is available again. Buy it while you can.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carrying the traditional weird tale into the next century 18 Mar 2002
By Nevzat Evrim Onal - Published on
The work of Thomas Ligotti is the revival horror literature was in dire need of since the swamping of the genre by writers with below-average imagination and a writing rate of three paperbacks a year. If you have liked the works of E.A.Poe, or H.P. Lovecraft, or both, then Ligotti will come as a blessing to you.
"Nightmare Factory" combines the four collections of Ligotti, sadly missing the drawings and poems that were included in the original editions of "Songs of a Dead Dreamer", "Noctuary", "Grimscribe" and "Teatro Grottesco". Being a nihilist himself, Ligotti delivers a verse that carries a very strong sense of foreboding gloom. His settings are out of place, nightmarish and maddeningly surreal. As you read through paragraphs, you feel yourself walking just steps behind the helpless protagonist into dread regions of madness where everything is a broken reflection of its original self. Horror unfolds as the "Greater Festival of Masks" nears its time of unmasking, where faces without soul take the stage. Young girls are abducted into frolicking, without a scream, without a whimper. A way lost in twisted alleys ends up in the worst place one can possibly hope not to get. Reflections in windows refuse to leave until people step over their dread and step into shuttered rooms. Sects worship idiot gods, intoning phrases and chants neither they, nor their idol understand.
With a strong use of language, Ligotti carries us through his Nightmare Factory, where the line between light and darkness gets fuzzy, meanings of words are sinisterly re-defined, and it is impossible to tell whether angles are acute or obtuse.
If you read horror, please do yourself a favor and take my advice. Ligotti is easily the best writer in the genre, and it seems he'll stay that way until someone else comes along.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily Impressive 7 July 2003
By "netchild" - Published on
Eerie. That's the first word that pops to mind when thinking of Ligotti's style of writing. Like a word association test; Ligotti . . . Eerie. Ligotti has a unique style of writing. Quite rare when so many writers are trying to write "like" someone else. King, Campbell, Straub, Barker, the list of the imitated goes on. It must be admitted, however; when one reads Ligotti, one can see the pastiche of different styles. The influence of Lovecraft is particularly poignant. Indeed, "The Last Feast of Harlequin," is dedicated to Lovecraft. What one has to realize is that this is not imitation but mastery. Ligotti is not trying to write "like" someone else . . . He can write better. After reading Ligotti, one might think that he studied under Lovecraft, mastered that style, then moved onto another until he had mastered all styles he felt he needed. It is similar to how artists study under recognized masters then create their own works after finishing their apprenticeship. Ligotti is an artist unto himself, but one can tell the "styles" under which he is versed; just as one can tell the "styles" under which Remembrandt was versed.
Ligotti has a way of "bending" reality as, quite aptly, in a nightmare. More akin to Kafka, these are psychological skews in perception. But sometimes (and the scary part is that we never know whether or not the story we are reading falls into this particular "sometime") the horror is more than psychological, it is Lovecraftian. The first story in the collection, "The Frolic," is a good example of this. [STOP reading here if you do not want to know what happened in the story.] Is the prisonner simply an insane murderer or is he a being from a different plane of reality, a demon dimension bordering ours? Either way you look at the story, psychological (the killer is a psychopath) or supernatural (the killer is a demon from another dimension) you are hit with horror. The only difference is the difference between being hit with a 50 foot tidal wave or a 150 foot tidal wave. [RECOMMENCE reading now.]
Ligotti is not a complex writer; he is a sophisticated writer. A complex writer presents many parts, all of which may not go together. A sophisticated writer presents many parts, ALL of which serve an important purpose, like a well played chess match (or the engine block of a 65 Mustang). Ligotti has been indicted with being too ambiguous, too vague, in his writing. But the beauty of Ligotti's writing is that it is open to multiple interpretations. This is the reason for the confusion. His writing is not ambiguous, it is multifaceted. It is highly sophisticated with amazing prose, and I only hope that, unlike his Providence predecessor, Ligotti will not have to wait until after his death to receive the recognition he deserves as a truly original, truly eerie, voice in horror literature.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fabulous collection from a master of gothic literature 12 Mar 1998
By - Published on
Thomas Ligotti is perhaps the only living gothic visionary. His tales shimmer with dread and a sense of creeping doom. Who could read "The Frolic" and not be disturbed by it's menacing portnets of imminent doom? "The Red Tower" reads like a nightmare from a David Lynch movie, most notably "Eraserhead". Truly, Ligotti is a prince of Darkness and this collection cannot be recommended enough. It is a massive collection containing most of his collected fiction from "Songs of a Dead Dreamer", "Grimscribe" and "Noctuary". It also has four new stories including the unforgettably macabre "Red Tower". Really, this one cannot be left from the list of essential collections. It ranks alongside the brilliance of masters like Ramsey Campbell, Robert Aickman, Russell Kirk and Dennis Etchison. Good enough company for anyone I would have thought.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff from Ligotti 16 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on
This is a fine collection -- a sort of "greatest hits," if you will, from the man who I would consider the best author of short horror ever. Ligotti taps into a fertile territory of the subconscious with an intellecual vigor that is frightening in its intellegence. His stories are densely packed with narrative information, often cryptic, and sometimes difficult to read, but they are always rewarding. As with any visionary author, his stories cannot be lumped in with any concrete genre, although horror comes closest to describing Ligotti's style; still, though, there are many cases where he spills over the boundaries into a more philosophical, surreal form that I'd not even be sure how to categorize. While there are the definite imprints of Lovecraft, James, and Campbell on these stories, there are also hints of Pynchon (although some might disagree with me on that) and Kafka. This is a collection of stories taken from his three released collections ("Songs of a Dead Dreamer," "Noctuary," and "Grimscribe"), as well as a group of new stories that are very good as well. My only small complaint is that some stories, I suppose by necessity, had to be left out; but I do miss the inclusion of such Ligotti greats as "Notes on the Writing of Horror: A Story" and "Professor Nobody's Little Lectures." Also missing from this collection are the brilliant short-short stories that form the last pages of Noctuary. Still, these are small quibbles, and as an introduction to the work of this luminary of modern storytelling, one can hardly do better than to buy this book
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