May 27, 12
Read from May 23 to 27, 2012
Bizarre, dark and delicious with eau de Lovecraft generously splashed at all the right pulse points. The stories are neatly subdivided and labelled to give a gentle steer: ‘Derangements’, Deformations’ and ‘the Damaged and the Diseased’, just in case I (e.g. the reader) don’t get it. Helping hand appreciated, but not necessary. The delineation of stories based on theme and structure is practically pock-marked.
‘Derangements’ is a powerhouse of the uniquely bizarre: unspecified locales, structured on unrecognisable social set-ups with absolutely mental protagonists. Original and intelligent horror, based on hypothetical worlds of ingenious value.
‘The Damaged and the Deranged’ ventures onto familiar territory: structurally crafted along a realistically portrayed community of artists who inadvertently brush with occult. Faithful to (stereo) type and thus a little disappointing (compared to the earlier stories). Clearly, reference to damage and disease refers to the precarious state of the artistic mind, by definition probably more attune to the vagaries of transcendental media.
And a little world play: In ‘the shadow, the darkness’, the protagonist (always a lone male with no discernible relationships with other people to speak of), makes reference to a guy on ‘his right’ who is the author of an unpulished philosophical treatise called ‘An Investigation into the conspiracy Against the Human Race’. Given that Ligotti himself published a philosophical treatise titled ‘The conspiracy against the human race’ (which was wonderful), I’m left wondering what book within a book (Calvinoooo, I thought you were the only one) we have here.