Have fun in Funny Town

Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti is an anthology of existential dread. Horror should disturb you, but all I feel from reading these short stories is mild fascination. Even the best of them are fashionably nonsensical, ending before the reader realizes how stupid the premise is. There’s this boy who has a strange father and a strange mother and sister, and he goes out to a strange neighbour and does strange things, and then it’s over. What?

Other stories combine Lovecraft with Kafka, proving that this is a bad idea. A factory gets as a temporary supervisor a shapeless, evil presence who hides in his unlit office. Suddenly the workers become more and more efficient, so efficient that they hardly ever leave the factory at all, and you can’t quit, because dark evil forces controls everything, and you can’t retire, you can only work and work and work until death frees you from this horrible burden that is life. Okay, okay, I get it. Jeez.

Ligotti is praised as an unjustly ignored master of horror, and he writes well, but I gave up half-way.

Btw, here’s how to do Lovecraft fan fiction: A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman.

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