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The Nightmare Factory [Paperback]

Thomas Ligotti
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 15 1996
A selection of writings from one of horror's darkest writers. Thomas Ligotti is the author of "Noctuary", "Grimscribe" and "Songs of a Dead Dreamer".

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From Amazon

Thomas Ligotti, in his own words, writes of "a world that both surpasses and menaces this one." He is the contemporary master of the "weird tale," and yet his style is so intellectually intriguing, he has as much in common with Borges and Kafka as with Lovecraft and Machen. If you haven't discovered Ligotti yet, this edition is a great opportunity to do so: it collects all 39 stories from previous collections, plus 6 new ones--also, a forward by Poppy Z. Brite, and an introduction by Ligotti on "What are the consolations of horror?"

For more on Ligotti, see reviews of Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Grimscribe: His Life and Works, and Noctuary. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this stout volume, Ligotti offers American readers selections from three previous collections not readily available in the U.S. and, in a concluding section, some entirely new pieces. Very little seems to be known about Ligotti, but to judge from his stories, he is well traveled, has a superb command of setting and tone as well as of the English language, and is strongly biased toward the darker end of the fantasy spectrum. He also exhibits admirable economy of words, for more than 50 of his stories fit between the covers of this book. If there is very little here that will slake the lover of vast, sprawling horror novels, connoisseurs of literary skill who are willing to be frightened will find the book a feast, albeit one best consumed in small helpings. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff from Ligotti May 15 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gnostic Nihilism April 21 2004
Format:Paperback
A celebration of utter bleakness that becomes beautiful in the courage of its purity...imagine John Doe of the film, Seven, but with the hatred replaced by wonder. Ligotti is the best American horror writer since H.P. Lovecraft, and perhaps the best American prose poet since Poe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best book I've read in a LONG time June 13 2003
By Link
Format:Paperback
Shortly before I purchased this book, I was in the mood for a good, twisted, even disturbing, novel. You know, one that messes with your head, perhaps even changes your perception of life and reality. Well, in searching for that genre, if you will, I read H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Road to Madness'. Now, I think Lovecraft is a good writer; however, few of his stories really sparked the edginess that I sought. To tell you the truth, the only one I can think of at this time was "Arthur Jermyn". Anyways, the point I'm trying to make is this: it took me Lovecraft's entire book to realize that he is an ok 'disturbing' writer; it took me Ligotti's first story ('The Frolic') to realize he is one of the most intrigueing and 'twisted' writers of all time. I wasn't able to put the book down for a good two hours, and that was before I even left the bookstore. Ligotti has a dark and eloquent style that perplexes and intrigues, while not smothering the plot or destroying character depth. He is simply by far the most intelligent and enchanting writer I have encountered.
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Format:Paperback
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GOTHIC DECADENCE FROM AN AMERICAN MASTER March 8 2002
Format:Paperback
Thomas Ligotti and Gore Vidal are America's greatest living writers. It is unfortunate that Mr. Ligotti has been so egregiously pigeon-holed as a mere "horror" writer, because his fiction is utterly incommensurable with the usual cretinous "horror" fiction bulked out on schedule by the Kings and the Barkers. Ligotti is not merely the tallest building in the Wichita of horror fiction, as it were, but a Titan of legitimate literature, a genius who must be ranged alongside his true peers: Baudelaire, Huysmans, and Poe (this is not, repeat not, irony!)
Ligotti's finest tales appear in the omnibus collection entitled "The Nightmare Factory," which opens with a beautifully written and appropriately ominous "Foreword" by Poppy Z. Brite, a concise tribute which distills the sense of mystery and awe evoked in so many discerning readers of the Master's works. Ligotti's style is astonishingly deft, beautifully orchestrated, and insinuatingly minatory in its tone, for his sorcerous visions are embodied in a lush language that closely approximates the "prose-poetry" of such louche 19th century masters as Jean Lorrain, Octave Mirbeau, and Walter Pater. Ligotti's world is almost oppresively darkling and yet his artistry is such that we delight in the spell even as it clutches at our hearts.
Read "Nethescurial" and "The Shadow at the Bottom of the World"--and maybe this time we won't have to wait for some French critic 50 years hence to reproach America--bitterly and justifiably--for having missed another giant, as we certainly have done with Poe and Lovecraft. Let's give the man his due now!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Waking up in a nightmare
Ligotti pens the dark blues, purples, greys and ash of twilit towns, where the occupants grow to pale mushrooms. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004 by Gary D. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars authentic horror, not for the timid King fan
truly disturbing. its images will bore into your mind and haunt you long after the book is read. Best literary horror in ages.
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by Eric Orion
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection from the Best Weird Fiction Writer Alive!
This is a collection of three books from Thomas Ligotti: "Songs of a Dead Dreamer", "Grimscribe", & "Nocuary. It also contains some unpublished material to form Part 4. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2002 by Justin Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Too few superlatives to describe the caliber of his writing
Some here have written more detailed reviews, so I will simply say that I have not been this excited about a horror/macabre writer since I discovered Lovecraft when I was a... Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2002 by the dredger
1.0 out of 5 stars This dude is a Space Cadet!
O.K. Maybe some of his other books are alright, but this one is the "Bermuda Triangle" of description. Read more
Published on May 3 2002 by "helenagraves"
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical horror at its most chilling and disturbing
Ligotti blows Barker, King, and all of those other lightweights clear out of the water. His work is what I would call 'horror literature' as opposed to King's work, which he... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2001 by J from NY
5.0 out of 5 stars A MONSTERPIECE! PLEASE BUY THIS BOOK!
I don't know where to start. Ligotti is the best living writer of horror. As I understand it, he doesn't write to make money.
It shows. Read more
Published on Dec 17 2000 by Waffles
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stuff of Our Best Nightmares
Mr. Ligotti is the true Master of contemporary horror. He understands how to communicate the breakdown of rationality. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2000 by Edward Scott Haas
4.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted horror
The Nightmare Factory is an impressive collection of short story horror fiction by Thomas Ligotti. The stories are frightening and horrific yet they are executed in a subtle... Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2000 by Sarah E. Golding
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