Creator / Thomas Ligotti

"... I’ve conceived of stories that were just too disturbing for me to write. If you can write something, then it’s only so disturbing. Anything truly disturbing can’t even be written. Even if it could, no one could stand to read it. And writing is essentially a means of entertainment for both the writer and the reader. I don’t care who the writer is—literature is entertainment or it is nothing."

One of the most respected writers in the field of supernatural horror alive today, Thomas Ligotti, in critical terms, has it all. He has been nominated for and won awards for his short stories and poetry on numerous occasions, gaining the accolades of everyone from Ramsey Campbell to Poppy Z. Brite and accumulating a wildly devoted cult following. His prose has been favorably compared to Edgar Allan Poe and the Decadent poets of fin-de-siècle France, and before he even had released his first story collection, the late Cthulhu Mythos archivist Lin Carter declared him the Spiritual Successor to H.P. Lovecraft.

Whence comes the logical question: "So why haven't I heard of this guy?"

In short, because Thomas Ligotti is the Thomas Pynchon of the Cosmic Horror Story.

To elaborate: Ligotti has, since his early twenties, been afflicted with agoraphobia, panic-anxiety disorder, and severe bipolar disorder, rendering him unable to, for example, meet directly with fans or conduct face-to-face interviews. Early on, there were even questions as to whether the man actually existed, with some claiming that Thomas Ligotti was actually a pseudonym for a more famous writer; these rumors began to lose credence following a series of phone interviews, and all but ceased following the proliferation of email.

Perhaps even more damaging to Ligotti's notoriety—although ever appreciated by his devoted fanbase—was his steadfast dedication to the small press, with some of his collections only being produced in editions of under a thousand.note  Granted, most of his works were later released in trade paperback, but even these have gone out of print. Only recently has the publisher Mythos Books begun to rectify this, to the extent that copies of Ligotti's most recent fiction (My Work Is Not Yet Done and Teatro Grottesco) and a retrospective (The Shadow At The Bottom Of The World) are now available in major chain stores, while older collections are gradually being reissued in revised form. Which has also pleased the fans.

Ligotti has also had a long-standing friendship with David Tibet of the English experimental music outfit Current 93, and has collaborated with them on the following albums:
  • All the Pretty Little Horses (1996): Ligotti reads an excerpt from his short story "Les Fleurs" at the end of the album. "The Frolic" is also based on the story of the same name (in a roundabout way).
  • In A Foreign Town, In A Foreign Land (1997): Released with the book of the same name as a musical companion piece.
  • Foxtrot (compilation, 1998): Ligotti plays steel guitar on Current 93's track "A Dream Of TheInmostLight (For Christoph Heemann)".
  • I Have A Special Plan For This World (2000): Based around Tibet's reading of Ligotti's poem of the same name. He also supplied "The Bungalow Tapes".
  • This Degenerate Little Town (2001): Ligotti recites his poem of the same name with backing from Current 93.

Also, he created on his own an EP titled The Unholy City, which is Ligotti reciting a cycle of poems over borderline minimalistic musical accompaniment.

Tropes evident in Thomas Ligotti's works include: