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The Shadow at the Bottom of the World

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  362 Ratings  ·  27 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 952)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 06, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

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
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
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
Nathan Sturm
Feb 05, 2015 Nathan Sturm rated it it was amazing
Ligotti is one of the downright strangest writers I've encountered, but at his best, he legitimately is one of the all-time greats of literary horror. His prose has a hypnotic quality that cannot be compared to anyone else I'm aware of. Plot is minimal (but used to good effect at times), while an atmosphere of gloomy dread reigns supreme, and a dark undercurrent of pessimism flows beneath decaying cityscapes and dust-choked towns. At times his writing degenerates into gibberish, but even his "fa ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Ronald rated it it was amazing
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
Ari Eris
Jan 19, 2014 Ari Eris rated it it was amazing
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
Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome
Jul 24, 2007 Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 11, 2008 Ned rated it it was amazing
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..
May 04, 2015 Steve rated it liked it
Ligotti creates my favourite kind of horror: a vague, alien menace that is omnipotent, incomprehensible, and intrudes on the normal functioning of the world. This sort of completely overwhelming force establishes a great sense of nihilistic dread.

Still, as good as Ligotti is at creating this force, his characters are mostly vague, shadowy, and not very interesting. Add to that the lack of plot in most of the stories, and you're left with a very effective evil that doesn't have much to do.

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

Thomas Ligotti är nog ett unikum inom en genre som jag misstänker producerat ytterst få sådana. Han gjorde sin debut med noveller (och har såvitt jag vet bara skrivit en enda roman) och det är fortfarande på detta område han rör sig. Denna hans första samling utgiven på svenska har smakprov från alla författarens tidigare utgivna verk ("Songs of a Dead Dreamer", "Grimscribe", "Noctuary" och "Teatro Grotesco") med tyngdpunkt på Grimscribe. En sak som måste sägas innan jag diskuterar novellerna i
Feb 08, 2009 Henrik rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2011 Bryan rated it liked it
Shelves: stories, 2011
'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
Jul 01, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-competition
A truly terrifying collection of short stories. Very surreal with a dark dream-like atmosphere. Reading through this book gave me the same heavy feeling in my chest you would get from being stuck in a nightmare. "The Last Feast of Harlequin" easily jumped into my all time favorite horror shorts.
Matt Athanasiou
Dec 24, 2009 Matt Athanasiou rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2011 Tony rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jeannie Sloan
Apr 01, 2010 Jeannie Sloan rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, fiction, fantasy
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.
May 20, 2008 Braden A. rated it really liked it
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.
Michael Mc Donnell
Jan 01, 2016 Michael Mc Donnell rated it liked it
None of the stories were bad, but the majority felt like painfully constrained homages to Lovecraft with nothing particularly interesting or worse, new, to say. Some of them were good, but I'd find it hard to recommend
Jan 02, 2009 M. rated it really liked it
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
Jun 17, 2014 Jessica Strauss rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 28, 2010 Jeffrey rated it liked it
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.
Jul 15, 2012 Imminence11 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 08, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it
Anyone interested in horror lit, or more exactly Weird lit, should read everything by this contemporary master.
Zack Wagoner
Aug 12, 2007 Zack Wagoner rated it really liked it
If you find yourself feeling way too happy, read a few stories from this book. Lovecraftian Nihilism at its best.
Sep 22, 2007 James rated it it was amazing
Quite simply the greatest living horror / nihilist fiction author there is.
Apr 28, 2013 James rated it it was amazing
This "best of" collection was the first Ligotti book I ever read.
Dec 12, 2008 Paula rated it liked it
Uneven but enjoyable overall.
Ivan Kostovskyi
Ivan Kostovskyi is currently reading it
Aug 24, 2016
Chloe marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
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Thomas Ligotti 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 similar to gothic fiction. ...more
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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.” 25 likes
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