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The Nightmare Factory

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  927 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In the realm of the supernatural, Thomas Ligotti is the master of stylish, eerie writing of the highest quality. This new edition brings together his collected short stories with 'Teatro Grottesco', a sequence of new stories not published before.

The Frolic (1982)
Les Fleurs (1981)
Alice's Last Adventure (1985)
Dream of a Mannikin (1982)
The Chymist (1981)
Drink to Me O
Paperback, 552 pages
Published June 27th 1996 by Carroll & Graf (first published 1984)
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Teatro Grottesco by Thomas LigottiSongs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas LigottiThe Nightmare Factory by Thomas LigottiMy Work is Not Yet Done by Thomas LigottiNoctuary by Thomas Ligotti
The Best of Thomas Ligotti
3rd out of 23 books — 25 voters
The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories by Robert W. ChambersThe Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas LigottiGalveston by Nic PizzolattoThe Stranger by Albert CamusHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
HBO's True Detective
19th out of 109 books — 53 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Great horror for those who prefer atmosphere and dread over character-driven plot. It took me a few years to acquire the taste, but now I'm hooked. Ligotti is one of the giants of American horror (the others being Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft). The Nightmare Factory collects most of Ligotti's previously published stories as well as some that were new to the book. In an interview Ligotti described his style as an attempt to read like awkwardly translated East-European literature.

This week on PSEUDOPOD - it's our 350th EPISODE and we are extremely proud to feature... In a dingy, backstreet art-gallery a man discovers an audio tape recording of a dark monologue...

It's "The Bungalow House" by esteemed horror fiction master and dark philosopher Thomas Ligotti! Read for you by Ralph Walters!

Pay close attention...

It's free! I
Mark McLaughlin
Ligotti always offers creepy literary perfection, and this collection is no exception! Great stuff!
Jun 12, 2007 Ken rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People that don't want to sleep well
It is a style of writing that I cannot clearly identify. It feels alienated both from both reality and the characters. The stories read like Lovecraft, only with a more 'matter-of-fact' tone.

Molly Moore
I honestly don't even know where to begin in writing a review of Nightmare Factory... and I'm absolutely certain I can't be objective. I accidentally discovered this book - and, by extension, Mr. Ligotti - during an early morning at work last week. Reading only the Washington Post's blurb at the bottom of the front cover ("The most startling and unexpected literary discovery since Clive Barker"), I set it aside and made up my mind to peruse it later. Little did I know then that I'd be ending my ...more
Victor Alejo
Es un excelente libro. Lo primero que leo de Ligotti. Extrañaré no tenerlo en la mesita de noche, cada noche y leerlo antes de dormir para tonificar la materia encargada de los sueños.

Siento que debo hacerle especial mención a los cuentos que realmente me gustaron:

-El retozo
-El último festejo de Arlequín
-El doctor Voke y el señor Veech
-La Medusa
-El Tsalal
-La voz de los huesos
-Las ferias de gasolinera
-El bungalow
-La torre roja

Lectura altamente recomendada.
I didn't have time to read all the stories in this (library copy), but Ligotti truly is a master of transferring dreamlike atmosphere onto the printed page. Stories that stuck out for me as far as creepiness include "The Frolic," "The Christmas Eves of Aunt Elise," and "Glamour." He's been called the modern-day Poe or Lovecraft, and I can definitely see why. I just wish his books were easier to find!
Μιχάλης Μανωλιός
Στα συν:
+Γράψιμο: Έτσι θα έγραφε ο Λάβκραφτ –αν ήξερε πώς να το κάνει. Ο χειρισμός της γλώσσας στην πένα του είναι πραγματικά απαράμιλλος. Από την πρώτη παράγραφο έχεις τη βεβαιότητα ότι όχι απλώς ξέρει τι κάνει, αλλά έχει απόλυτη επίγνωση ότι το κάνει τόσο μα τόσο διαφορετικά από όλους τους άλλους. Δεν μπορώ να φανταστώ έλλογο αναγνωστικό ον που να μην θαυμάσει την απόλυτη έλλειψη ασυνέχειας στις λέξεις και στις έννοιες στα κείμενά του. Γράψιμο χωρίς την παραμικρή ραφή. Βαθιά υπόκλιση.
Rodrigo Tello
Un delirio total pero muy bien escrito, relatos que cuesta leer e incluso entender pero que a la vez son pequeñas obras maestras la mayoría de ellos. Ligotti es el Philip K. Dick del horror gótico más filosófico y desquiciado
This is the greatest horror book that I have ever read.
Darran Mclaughlin
Superb. I haven't read very much horror since going through a phase of reading everything Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz and James Herbert wrote as a kid. I dipped into it, reading Edgar Allan Poe, House of Leaves and Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite, but I didn't really look into Horror to try and find the serious writing as I have with crime writing, science fiction and fantasy. Whilst you often hear the likes of Georges Simenon, WIlliam Gibson or China Mieville being praised as writers worthy of bei ...more
Jason Carlin
Ligotti has, like his prose, slowly but without failure snuck up on me and resigned me to the basic truth that I'm probably never going to discover another writer who can make me feel such universal dread, but yet love it all. He's firmly made himself the main attraction of my reading schedule, and it's a shame that I'll have to re-read him to do that rather than expect new books, which he doesn't seem too intent on writing. Regardless, reading a story of his again always suggests something that ...more
Saxon Roach
Not for everyone, I'd think and it took me a few goes to really get into the very odd, absent, prose but... When you do, this feels like real terror must feel... No screams, just wordless babbling and stunned silence... An atmosphere of profound evil permeates this book... this guy has SEEN things
Lizbeth Gabriel
This is the most refined, rampant brain sickness I've ever come across, and it was disguised as a book. Words can't describe the impact of these stories. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, you must read this author. Just keep in mind Ligotti's prose is even more nightmarish, vague and unsettling. It reminded me of an exhausted, fevered man, slowly drowning in quicksand made of leprous, rotting matter, struggling and screaming in vain. The landscape is desolate, swampy, forsaken. Every life born ther ...more
Man, when I read this book I would literally get goosebumps sometimes, mostly from the first story "The Frolic." A really really unique writer, mega-creative. And anyone who can pull off a Current 93 collaboration is super cool.
Κωνσταντίνος Κέλλης
Move over, Stephen.
I'm sorry Clive and H.P. It's not you, guys, it's me...
Actually, it's not me either. It's Thomas Ligotti.

Long story short, this collection blew me away. Horror short stories can't get better than this.
Ligotti is much easier to take in smaller bites - me, I just choked on this. Appreciate that he is an important part of horror lit, I just don't have to like his work.
"Gas Station Carnivals" is probably the most frightening thing I've ever read.
Thomas Ligotti is a very talented but really frustrating writer. His concepts are way more developed than most horror writers. Also his writing is dense and difficult in a genre where most are content to write in a eazy to read schticky way, so in these ways he's refreshing. But more often than being refreshed, I was frustrated by his lack of followthrough. Much like Lovecraft, whom he clearly admires, his stories have strong beginnings and interesting ideas but when rarely any interesting endin ...more
Ligotti is like a painter who throws can after can of vibrant and exotic color at his canvas and sees what sticks. Sometimes the result lacks a bit of follow-through, but at least it is beautiful. His stories are all about atmosphere and impressionism, and if you don't mind the occasional lack of plot clarity, Ligotti's got a lot to offer.
Yomerowas Here
Demasiados cuentos cortos para un sólo libro. Por momentos se vuelven tan similares que se pierde la noción de lo que se está leyendo. El autor es bueno en describir y crear atmósferas tenebrosas, pero muchas veces falla al llegar a la conclusión de modo apropiado. En otras palabras, carece del ingrediente principal de un Allan Poe o un Lovecraft; el punto culmen no consigue explotar el horror que vive el protagonista.
Ligotti writes like nobody else. You'll either love it or hate it, and you'll know in about 30 pages. For the record, I both love and hate it. PS recommend "The Lost Art of Twilight" to any Stephenie [sic] Meyer fans out there.
Yukio GB
Hermosa introducción, de mis favoritas. Algunos cuentos eran muy aburridos para mi gusto, otros estuvieron bien. Uno o dos me gustaron mucho, pero no me encantaron. Y sí, ciertos relatos me recordaban un poco a Lovecraft en el lado del horror cósmico.
Podría decir, que no era lo que me esperaba. Tarde bastante en terminarlo, nuevamente, por la razón de que algunos relatos se me hacían eternos y aburridos.
Tal vez en una relectura futura mi opinión cambie un poco.
Apr 28, 2009 M. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009, fiction
I technically didn't read this as a whole, but I have read all of the stories in this from their own books and read all the supplementary material (namely introductions) when I had this checked out from the library before. I suppose if I ever have a desire to own the complete works of Ligotti it would make more sense to buy this than all of the individual books (as virtually everything from Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Noctuary, and Grimscribe are in here), but his best work is his latest work + Gri ...more
Jonathan Oliver
When Ligotti is on form, he is something to behold - his prose style is dense but considered, his imagery genuinely creepy and often unique. It's not a collection I'd recommend reading all in one go, rather dip into it now and again. There are times that Ligotti's nihilism and misanthropy are so strong that they overshadow the tale, put across a certain petulance. But there's a reason that Ligotti is so well regarded and there are some absolute gems here. A unique and gifted writer.
Ligotti escribe bien, muy correcto y todo, pero no tiene un gramo de emoción en su cuerpo. Recomendado a los lectores fanáticos de Lovecraft y del horror intelectual, flemático y (desde mi punto de vista) estéril. Mas de 20 relatos, de los cuales ninguno logro impactarme.

Me tarde 6 meses en acabarlo, termine docenas de libros antes de este, esto da una clara idea de la tortura que fue leerlo.
Paul Vromen
To be honest I have not yet finished this in its entirety, but it is worth picking up for the first two stories alone. Ligotti's writing combined with the fantastic Coleen Doran on art duties result in a Lovecraftian tale that will make your spine chill, it's that good. Doran is a very versatile artist with a huge range, and she may become one of my favourites as far as horror comics go.
Ryan Bradford
Some of these were terrifying, and lovely; some were just a little too cosmic. It almost seems that—despite the very dense, very detailed prose—the words don't quite articulate the images Ligotti is trying to convey.
Great book of short stories with great atmosphere. I picked at these at lunchtime over the last 2 months or so and enjoyed them quite a bit..
Ian Towey
Bought this when I first saw it in a bookshop on Charing Cross Road. What a find! Brilliant dark and mysterious stories.
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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 Conspiracy Against the Human Race My Work is Not Yet Done: Three Tales of Corporate Horror Noctuary Songs of a Dead Dreamer

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“This, then, is the ultimate, that is only, consolation: simply that someone shares some of your own feelings and has made of these a work of art which you have the insight, sensitivity, and — like it or not — peculiar set of experiences to appreciate. Amazing thing to say, the consolation of horror in art is that it actually intensifies our panic, loudens it on the sounding-board of our horror-hollowed hearts, turns terror up full blast, all the while reaching for that perfect and deafening amplitude at which we may dance to the bizarre music of our own misery.” 28 likes
“I know in a way I never knew before that there is nowhere for me to go, nothing for me to do, and no one for me to know. The voice in my head keeps reciting these old principles of mine. The voice is his voice, and the voice is also my voice. And there are other voices, voices I have never heard before, voices that seem to be either dead or dying in a great moonlit darkness. More than ever, some sort of new arrangement seems in order, some dramatic and unknown arrangement -- anything to find release from this heartbreaking sadness I suffer every minute of the day (and night), this killing sadness that feels as if it will never leave me no matter where I go or what I do or whom I may ever know.” 14 likes
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