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Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: justlookaway (IP Logged)
Date: 26 September, 2012 11:56AM
I'm relatively young, so I hope that excuses me from only just now discovering Thomas Ligotti. I know Subterranean Press has been doing a limited series of hardcovers, the first two volumes I have unfortunately missed out on...but I was wondering if there was a cheaper, paperback option that anyone would recommend. Is there an essential, introductory collection of Ligotti stories, or a particularly scary novel that comes as an immediate recommendation?

Thank you in advance.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 26 September, 2012 01:42PM
My recommendation is to stay away from Ligotti altogether, and read something good instead, but I realize that is not what you want to hear. Why not try, say . . . Clark Ashton Smith? Also, I do not think Ligotti has written any novels.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 September, 2012 04:24PM
The Shadow at the Bottom of the World is a pretty decent selection.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 September, 2012 04:50PM
I think Shadow... now goes for a pretty penny, so I imagine you'd be better off buying the latest Sub.Press hardcover than tracking down that volume, although I gather that it's very well respected. Teatro Grottesco is a collection that has been republished in a cheap edition and is still available in the UK at least, although I've not read it personally - so I can't comment. My Work Is Not Yet Done is a novella with two short stories and I liked it a lot, although a lot of Ligotti fans seem not to rank it very highly. I guess the omnibus The Nightmare Factory still represents the best value if you can find a copy at a reasonable price. You could try asking on the Ligotti forums as they'll know their onions on this topic.

Personally, I find Ligotti highly variable, although at his best he very very good indeed in my opinion - unfortunately he seems to pen far too many 'mood' pieces which are a bit samey when read on mass. My preference would be to read Conspiracy for the Human Race or to make lots of hallucinogenic drugs, sit in a dark room and listen to this...

[www.youtube.com]

...which I think is a very fine thing indeed.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Tantalus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 September, 2012 03:17AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My recommendation is to stay away from Ligotti
> altogether, and read something good instead, but I
> realize that is not what you want to hear. Why not
> try, say . . . Clark Ashton Smith?

This!

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 27 September, 2012 05:52PM
Ligotti is the finest weird fiction artist since Lovecraft; the difference between them is that Ligotti has never written any bad fiction, which cannot be said of mine beloved E'ch-Pi-El. Those earlier edition from Subterranean Press are really lovely, and it's too bad that they are now so expensive at Amazon and elsewhere. Tom's brilliant work will continue to see paperback editions, I think, and may be found in such editions for fairly decent prices. You may read much of his work and evaluations of it at Thomas Ligotti Online.

And I also encourage you to read Clark Ashton Smith, one of our finest writers and certainly one of the world's great prose-poets.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: justlookaway (IP Logged)
Date: 27 September, 2012 09:06PM
Well...looking at Amazon and Liggoti Online it seems that my best bet is Teatro. I've only read three of his stories and while I loved each of them I want to make sure he is really my cup of tea as evidently he is not the choice of everyone here. So I'll be going with the paperback version, then maybe buying Subterranean's Noctuary if it doesn't sell out. Thanks everyone for the recommendations!

I own all six Nightshade volumes of Smith and love them dearly ("The Coming of The White Worm" is one of my top three short stories). I am waiting eagerly for the Complete Poetry...but as I am out of the States for the next few months I won't be able to get my hands on those volumes until September. I am really looking forward the the annotations of "The Hashish-Eater" and "The God of the Abyss". Until then though, maybe I can find a way to get a copy of Liggoti's Teatro outside of the states to sate my weird appetite until December.

Thanks to all, again!

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Siderealpress (IP Logged)
Date: 29 November, 2012 08:42AM
Hello all,
and it seems very odd for me to make my first post on an authors site not about that author.

However, I would say that I regard Ligotti as one of the greatest living writers of the genre with the usual qualifications. As others have said above, I agree that his more poetic pieces can be put aside for later but his best tales are wonderful. 'The Nightmare Factory' is a great sampler.

Sadly, he is an author with a large enough following to devour everything he writes (what little there is nowadays) at premium prices, but has yet to break out into the mainstream for everyone else to enjoy a bit cheaper. I fear he is just to weird for this to ever occur, though one can hope.

REGARDS!

John

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 29 November, 2012 01:52PM
Hi John,

Welcome to the forum! I'd just like to say that I'm a big fan of Side Real and I found your recent youtube book interview fascinating - as you're here I was wondering if you have any news re the next HH.Ewers volume?

I read your review of the latest Spare offering from Fulgur and it seems like it would be a excellent starting place for someone who only has the Baker bio and wants a nice bundle of Spare's wonderful art to browse as he swills a single malt during the long winter evenings... am I right? I spoke to Baker at a talk he did a year or so ago on Spare (it was an inspiring talk and that night Spare had an uncanny ecstatic effect upon me that I can't quite describe) and he recommended tracking down the original catalogue (this was before this new edition was published) when I asked him which was the best volume of Spare's art. I was wondering if you agree? I think Spare and CAS might have got on well.

Anyway, I've been enjoying your reviews and have ordered a copy of Gesamtkunstwerk Expressionismus and a DVD of Salome on the strength of them.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Siderealpress (IP Logged)
Date: 29 November, 2012 05:03PM
Hello Assassin and of course anyone else,
thanks for your kind words- I am glad my musings amuse in some ways.

With regard to Ewers (which I suppose shoule really be on the Ewers postings) I hope to announce something this weekend. I have just signed off the finished sheets from the printers but I until I have a firm delivery date dont want to commit myself any further. I will say that it looks nice.

Ah! Austin Spare. Yes I think the Fulgur book of reviews is great and gives a wonderful overview of the works from all periods. So much of his stuff is expensive to buy (or outside the pocket of the casual purchaser who wants to get a sense of him) so this book is a godsend.

I personally find Spares writings very complex, partly as Spare was a mystic but also, I believe, he didnt have it in him to express himself fully in text. But the artworks are another matter, especially the portraits and automatic drawings. I am sure there will be lots on the net.

I hadn't thought about how Spare and Smith might get on but on reflection I think you are right.

This is a million miles from ligotti - looking over this post its quite an unholy Venn diagram intersection of names!

REGARDS!

J

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 29 November, 2012 06:21PM
justlookaway Wrote:I would add Donald Sydney Fryer's excellent translation of "Gaspard de la Nuit" -
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well...looking at Amazon and Liggoti Online it
> seems that my best bet is Teatro. I've only read
> three of his stories and while I loved each of
> them I want to make sure he is really my cup of
> tea as evidently he is not the choice of everyone
> here. So I'll be going with the paperback version,
> then maybe buying Subterranean's Noctuary if it
> doesn't sell out. Thanks everyone for the
> recommendations!
>
> I own all six Nightshade volumes of Smith and love
> them dearly ("The Coming of The White Worm" is one
> of my top three short stories). I am waiting
> eagerly for the Complete Poetry...but as I am out
> of the States for the next few months I won't be
> able to get my hands on those volumes until
> September. I am really looking forward the the
> annotations of "The Hashish-Eater" and "The God of
> the Abyss". Until then though, maybe I can find a
> way to get a copy of Liggoti's Teatro outside of
> the states to sate my weird appetite until
> December.
>
> Thanks to all, again!

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: weorcstan (IP Logged)
Date: 29 November, 2012 11:55PM
A Kindle edition would solve that!

This is a hint to all publishers here. Collectors would still want the "collector’s editions" and regular folk (meaning the regular folk with excellent taste) would pay more for a Kindle version than they would for the average Kindle book. Why isn’t this done more?


Siderealpress Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hello all,
> and it seems very odd for me to make my first post
> on an authors site not about that author.
>
> However, I would say that I regard Ligotti as one
> of the greatest living writers of the genre with
> the usual qualifications. As others have said
> above, I agree that his more poetic pieces can be
> put aside for later but his best tales are
> wonderful. 'The Nightmare Factory' is a great
> sampler.
>
> Sadly, he is an author with a large enough
> following to devour everything he writes (what
> little there is nowadays) at premium prices, but
> has yet to break out into the mainstream for
> everyone else to enjoy a bit cheaper. I fear he is
> just to weird for this to ever occur, though one
> can hope.
>
> REGARDS!
>
> John

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 November, 2012 06:11AM
weorcstan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A Kindle edition would solve that!

Not for those of us who wouldn't touch a Kindle with a shitty stick it wouldn't... I think authors need a paperback presence. Unfortunately a lot of the small presses are wedded to hardcover only releases. In fairness this is starting to change, but slowly (kudos to Chomu, Hippocampus and to a lesser extent Tartarus for this). Don't get me wrong, I love a quality hardcover, but no one but the insatiably curious, collectors and obsessives are going to spend big money on yet another unknown author. As things stand I have to pick my authors carefully after much consideration. I doubt the CIA do a more thorough background check on new recruits than I do on a prospective small press author.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Gabriel (IP Logged)
Date: 30 November, 2012 06:42PM
In fact, Subterranean Press has just released the ebook version for the long out-of-print Songs of a Dead Dreamer. There are also ebook versions of Grimscribe and Noctuary.

[subterraneanpress.com]

No doubt the best option for those without a deep pocket.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 December, 2012 06:57AM
Gabriel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In fact, Subterranean Press has just released the
> ebook version for the long out-of-print Songs of a
> Dead Dreamer. There are also ebook versions of
> Grimscribe and Noctuary.
>
> [subterraneanpress.com]
> c32ba31655c2b6c67c3ab63/
>
> No doubt the best option for those without a deep
> pocket.

Definitely a good option, but no affordable paperback edition tho... Just seems short sighted to me.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: weorcstan (IP Logged)
Date: 2 December, 2012 02:52PM
> Definitely a good option, but no affordable paperback edition tho... Just seems short sighted to me.

I worked for a publisher years ago when Usenet ruled and there were no real e-books. The publisher was not fantasy/horror (or even fiction) so likely of no interest to this forum. Back then one had to print a huge number of paperbacks to have the cost per volume be reasonable (we printed in the U.S. not China). If a very small edition was planned a hardcover could actually be cheaper than a softcover per book. If it was something of limited interest, it just wasn't feasible. Hardcovers were easier to do in small batches -- and of were of much more interest to collectors (who were the most realible buyers).
.
.
.
And you guessed right, I was obviously not a writer or proofreader! ;-)

Publishers: what is the problem with e-books? They do not sell? They can be hacked and made free of charge? I'd really like to know! (Obviously some people do not like them. I felt this way myself till I bought a Kindle to save space in my suitcase when going on a vacation! I think they are great now!)

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: Gabriel (IP Logged)
Date: 2 December, 2012 04:35PM
weorcstan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Publishers: what is the problem with e-books?
> They do not sell? They can be hacked and made free
> of charge? I'd really like to know! (Obviously
> some people do not like them. I felt this way
> myself till I bought a Kindle to save space in my
> suitcase when going on a vacation! I think they
> are great now!)

I guess the reasons vary a lot.

Ebooks do sell, it's a fact. On Amazon, ebooks sales have surpassed those of printed books, both hardcover and paperback. As for sharing ebook files, more than one publisher have already said that such thing actually boosts the sales of a given book. I take it means that a person gets the file via p2p or whatever, takes a look at it, gets interested in the work, and then decides to buy the book, because he or she likes the story/author/physical books in general enough to spend money with it in a legal way. There are still some publishers that don't believe in such a thing, insisting on selling ebooks with DRM (ultimately useless, for it's easy to remove such protection; not to mention the unethical restriction of your using an ebook that you paid for the way you want it), but already they're the minority.

It's basically some small presses that have a problem with ebooks. And understandably so, in most cases. They're usually businesses that were set up before ebooks became a thing, that focus on the printed book, usually special and limited editions, etc. The physical product is what makes them stand out. So it's easy to understand why some of them may see ebooks as something "cheap", especially in quality. Which they are, but that's the whole point. Some of these publishers have to concede in selling ebook versions of their books, for financial reasons. It doesn't mean that they necessarily like the situation. The editor of Chômu Press, for example, has repeatedly said so on the publisher's FB page: he loathes ebooks, but there's a market for them and they need the income to keep the business running.

Ebooks exist for those who want to read a work, regardless of its format. Most of these people love physical books as well, of course, but given the choice, especially because of the price differences, they'll go for the ebook version of a work. That's my case, at least. I have hundreds of physical books and I still buy them. But now I usually look for the ebook version of a work first; if it exists, I go for it; if not, and if the price if not prohibitive, I go for the printed book. My main reason is financial, for I simply don't have enough money to spend on the quantity of books I usually want. But lately space is a factor as well: my shelves are full, I keep piling up books, it's a mess. So, in this sense, buying a Kindle was truly a blessing. I can have the best of both worlds: the works themselves, which are the important thing to me, and an almost limitless space to keep them. For example, before owning a Kindle, I bought all Dickens novels in mass paperback editions from Penguin and Wordsworth. They were cheap and even the thick volumes don't weigh much. But they occupy a large portion of the shelves, not to mention the fact that most of them are not that comfortable to read, given their size. Then an ebook version of the complete novels was published, all of them in a single file, almost for free (not to mention that you can also get the books for free anyway, in websites like Project Gutenberg, since they are in public domain). The practicality is undeniable. Nowadays, when I want to read a Dickens novel, I go for this ebook version. I may sell their physical equivalents now, to save some shelf space, but I'm not sure yet (after all, I do like having them as well).

So, I think we can have both. If price is not a problem and one prefers to read something in printed form, you have the option. Otherwise, why not go for an ebook version? Despite some prophets of the apocalypse, ebooks won't be the demise of printed books. They can coexist peacefully, and the reader will only benefit from it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2 Dec 12 | 04:41PM by Gabriel.

Re: Introduction to Thomas Ligotti
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 3 December, 2012 09:06AM
weorcstan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I worked for a publisher years ago when Usenet
> ruled and there were no real e-books. The
> publisher was not fantasy/horror (or even fiction)
> so likely of no interest to this forum. Back then
> one had to print a huge number of paperbacks to
> have the cost per volume be reasonable (we printed
> in the U.S. not China). If a very small edition
> was planned a hardcover could actually be cheaper
> than a softcover per book. If it was something of
> limited interest, it just wasn't feasible.
> Hardcovers were easier to do in small batches --
> and of were of much more interest to collectors
> (who were the most realible buyers).

Forgive me, but doesn't your argument ignores PoD technologies entirely? If you can make a eBook version, you can make a PoD version at the same time. Or do a paperback print run, but make it quality. Yeah, it might not be possible to sell paperbacks of niche subjects at high quantities at low prices, but then simply don't sell them at low prices. Tartarus have got paperbacks in the £12 to £15 region. Not as cheap as Penguin et al but still affordable to the casual buyer. The hardcovers still have a premium and are still desirable, but I'm far more likely to take a risk on a new author at that price. And yes, Wordsworth seem to have created a rock-bottom price model for ultra-cheap editions, so I'm afraid I take everything you say with a massive pinch of salt.

But there's many reasons to despise eBooks and the utopian progress trap assumption that we should all jump on the kindle train without a second's thought. Here's just a few: aesthetically I don't want to experience literature on a screen (even a kindle screen) - especially ghost stories); I like books as aesthetic artefacts in themselves; I don't want to see an even greater slice of the publishing pie given over to Amazon et al; I like bookshops, book sellers, printers, etc - these things are likely to suffer as ebooks take over the market (or at least they are at greater risk of suffering), I firmly believe that eBooks will have the same impact on publishing as the mp3 had on music; and the medium is the message - you change the medium, you change the message, you change the way we read that message and ultimately (I suspect) you will change how that message is delivered (interactive books must be just a click away). Basically, eBooks make the world a worse place to exist in imo.



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