Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thomas Ligotti may very well be the best horror author I never read until this year. Umm....let me rephrase that a bit. He just might be the creator of some of the creepiest stories that I've come across this year. A bit better, although this too does not do justice to his stories. However, based on the recent graphic novel adaptations of eight of his stories, The Nightmare Factory: Volumes 1 & 2, I believe Ligotti is deserving not just of my attention, but also that of readers of dark fantasy and horror.
In the two graphic novels (covers pictured to the side), Ligotti uses several motifs most familiar to those who enjoy Edgar Allan Poe's darkest tales: Outsiders, outcast in some form from society; inversions of ritual and ceremony; explorations of human attempts to "master" self and fate. In addition, in tales such as "The Last Feast of Harlequin" and "Dr. Locrian's Asylum," there are certain supernatural elements present, if only hinted at for much of these two tales, that resemble some of H.P. Lovecraft's most famous tales.
But Ligotti does not merely ape these two acclaimed writers. While most of my reading to date has been of these graphic novel adaptations, even there in modified form, there is a great sense of pacing and word choice that is distinctive. Hopefully, tonight and later this week I'll have the chance to read the just-released (as of Sept. 16) American paperback version of Teatro Grottesco, which contains 3 of the 8 stories found in the two graphic novels, in addition to 10 others. I hope to have at least a capsule commentary up this weekend (I'll be off work on Thursday and might have the time to complete three long-delayed reviews, if I'm luckier than I have been; if so, then Saturday's commentary might expand into a 750-1000 word review).
But based on what I have read, Thomas Liggoti is one of the rare few authors of horror that I actually can stomach reading; Poe and some of Stephen King's earlier short stories, as well as Ray Bradbury's occasional forays into horror motifs being the few examples of works that I enjoyed greatly. Shall be interesting to see how I'll view the graphic novel adaptations after I finish reading this collection. Looking forward to the experience, even if it might cost me some dearly-needed sleep.