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The Shadow at the Bottom of the World
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The Shadow at the Bottom of the World

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A longtime Lovecraft devotee, who has extended the weird tale to the next level via the likes of Borges and Burroughs, Thomas Ligotti is usually published as part of a general anthology of horror writers. But now Ligotti has pulled together a collection of his favorite fiction, both old and new, representing his best and most characteristic works.Thomas Ligotti's stories a...more
Paperback, 259 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Cold Spring Press (first published June 14th 2005)
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Bill  Kerwin
A fine anthology of Ligotti's works, from his first successful story ("Last Feast of the Harlequin") to many of the best pieces contained in "Teatro Grottesco." In most horror stories, the forces of evil or chaos intrude upon a world of goodness and order and are eventually--if only temporarily--defeated. Ligotti, however, gives us something much different: a sort of malevolent pantheism in which reality is nothing but a series of masks, people nothing but a series of puppets, and an ever-shifti...more
Nancy Oakes
The Shadow at the Bottom of the World is a collection of short stories that absolutely reek of bleakness and sheer horror, but not horror in the same sense of the more mainstream type of horror novels. Ligotti connects all of his stories with an overaching theme of evil that "may show itself anywhere precisely because it is everywhere and is as stunningly set off by a foil of sunshine and flowers as it is by darkness and dead leaves." (145) This is probably one of the darkest collections of horr...more
David Spencer
The Mystics of Muelenburg, The Spectacles in the Drawer, The Red Tower and Purity completely blew me away, but they paled in comparison to the excellence of Nethescurial and The Tsalal. I re-read each of those after I finished the collection, and felt myself pulled into their worlds. So stylish, so rich in hope-rending themes that are so grotesque and so beautiful. I had the friend who recommended Ligotti to me do a reading to me and the roomies of Teatro Grottesco on All-Hallow's at around midn...more
I have to say I was overjoyed when the creator of the popular--and critically acclaimed--TV show True Detective cited as an influence various masters of the weird tale, such as Thomas Ligotti. That brought these writers a well deserved exposure to a mass audience.

I suggest this book for those who might want to read Ligotti's fiction. This book is a "best of" kind of book. Most of the stories here appeared previously in other anthologies.

These are well written stories of metaphysical horror. Behi...more
Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome
Jul 24, 2007 Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: weird fiction weirdos
what i learned from this book: thomas ligotti is a f*cking WEIRDO. some bizzare, terrifying, spooky, otherworldy stuff. short stories w/hints of poe and lovecraft but far more haunting and unsettling. master of the weird.
This collection is amazing. a true master of horror. Be sure to have a birthday party or something after you read this..these stories get under your skin..into your head..and make you think...unsettling..
Paul JB
Picked this up when it was getting namedropped in a lot of True Detective thinkpieces, back in that month when nobody went outside or did seemingly anything apart from watch True Detective and lovingly caress the curvature of McConaughey's skull. Opened it to find a story about actually a giant worm that eats clowns or something, followed by some kind of Seuss/Lovecraft mashup, at which point I deduce that Ligotti's particular brand of 'weird' fiction isn't for me, at least until I can find some...more
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'To think that another person shared my love for the icy bleakness of things. The comfort I felt at hearing that monotonal and somewhat distorted voice singing words that I knew so well--this was an experience that even then, as I sat on the floor of Dalha's art gallery listening to the tape through enormous headphones, might have been heartbreaking. But I wanted to believe that the artist who created these dream monologues about the bungalow house and the derelict factory had not set out to bre...more
Brilliant stuff. The selection in The Shadow at the Bottom of the World may be a little uneven in terms of quality but is still an excellent sampling of the motifs, themes, and styles of Ligotti's work. My favorites? Content wise, I'd have to say "The Cocoons" and "Dr. Locrian's Asylum"; the form award goes to "Teatro Grottesco"; and the two stories that really made my jaw drop are "The Red Tower" and "The Tsalal". Its a shame that getting a hold of a copy will cost you a kidney, but I'm tempted...more
Matt Athanasiou
A read that asks readers to fully involve themselves. The prose is dense, very much in the vain of Poe and Lovecraft -- which many critiques have stated -- but with modern highlights, such as sharp dialogue and present day, urban settings. These stories cannot be skimmed, and readers must remove themselves from this world to investigate the deep and peculiar lands of Ligotti. His environments and topics can be described as supernatural, but they are written as though they are as natural as the m...more
Ligotti comes up with an atmosphere that is nicely Lovecraftian but that, for me, fails to resonate very deeply. Were I to derive Ligotti's metaphysics from this one volume I'd end up with a dark and dismal world of appearances underneath of which is something merely damp and distasteful. Thus, discovering the reality behind the appearances is sort of a let down. I find Ligotti much more interesting after reading the relevant Wikipedia entry and browsing the interviews at
Jeannie Sloan
This was a pretty good book except,I have to say,that it bored me somewhat. The stories for the most part were interesting if basically all about the same thing.
I know others who really loved this book but I am not one of them.
I think that if I had read a story here and there I would have liked it more. It just seemed very heavy and not much fun.
Braden A.
Mostly great stories - only one or two that didn't really strike a chord with me, but they were still technically brilliant.

Ligotti's style is unique, while also being reminiscent of many of the classic masters of the genre.
Jan 02, 2009 M. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008, fiction
Two stories in this (other than those from Teatro Grottesco), are really fantastic, otherwise the other stuff doesn't quite live up to the incredible nature of the stories in Teatro Grottesco.
Jessica Strauss
If Ligotti came up to you and said, "I had the most flucked up dream last night..." let him finish, because what follows is gonna be good. Or, just read this book.
The writing style is good and I like the short story format, but by the last story you feel like you've read the same basic yarn repeatedly.
A unique blending of Lovecraft and Borges, King and Barker, with a dash of Huysmans. Bleak, unsettling, as infectious as a half-remembered nightmare.
Eddie Watkins
Anyone interested in horror lit, or more exactly Weird lit, should read everything by this contemporary master.
Zack Wagoner
If you find yourself feeling way too happy, read a few stories from this book. Lovecraftian Nihilism at its best.
Quite simply the greatest living horror / nihilist fiction author there is.
This "best of" collection was the first Ligotti book I ever read.
Uneven but enjoyable overall.
Teresa marked it as to-read
Sep 28, 2014
Conor Fisher
Conor Fisher marked it as to-read
Sep 28, 2014
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Sep 27, 2014
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Sep 26, 2014
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Thomas Ligotti (born July 9, 1953) is a contemporary American horror author and reclusive literary cult figure. His writings, while unique in style, have been noted as major continuations of several literary genres – most prominently Lovecraftian horror – and have overall been described as works of "philosophical horror", often written as philosophical novels with a "darker" undertone which is sim...more
More about Thomas Ligotti...
Teatro Grottesco The Nightmare Factory The Conspiracy Against the Human Race My Work is Not Yet Done: Three Tales of Corporate Horror Noctuary

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“What makes a nightmare nightmarish is the sense that something is happening that should not be. While nightmares are the most convenient reference point for this sense of the impossible, the unthinkable, as something that is actually happening, it is not restricted to our sleeping hours.” 17 likes
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