- Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti. Songs of a Dreamer was Thomas Ligotti’s first collection of supernatural horror stories. When originally published in 1985 by Harry Morris’s Silver Scarab Press, the book was hardly noticed. In 1989, an expanded version appeared that garnered accolades from several quarters. Writing in the Washington Post, the celebrated science fiction and fantasy author Michael Swanwick extolled: ‘Put this volume on the shelf right between H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. Where it belongs.’ – Amazon
- Strungballs by Mike Russell. Disclaimer: Mike Russell is my other half 🙂 I was a fan before we were a couple. If you love Examining The Odd and want to show your support, please grab a copy of this amazing book. Oh, and don’t forget to leave a review! You won’t be disappointed.
- The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.
- Railsea by China Miéville.
- The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft.
“There are black zones of shadow close to our daily paths, and now and then some evil soul breaks a passage through. When that happens, the man who knows must strike before reckoning the consequences.”
― H.P. Lovecraft,
Which books would you add to the list? Which is your favourite? Please share if you love weird fiction!
- No other life forms know they are alive, and neither do they know they will die. This is our curse alone. Without this hex upon our heads, we would never have withdrawn as far as we have from the natural—so far and for such a time that it is a relief to say what we have been trying with our all not to say: We have long since been denizens of the natural world. Everywhere around us are natural habitats, but within us is the shiver of startling and dreadful things. Simply put: We are not from here. If we vanished tomorrow, no organism on this planet would miss us. Nothing in nature needs us. – Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race
- The days hardened with cold and boredom like last year’s loaves of bread. One began to cut them with blunt knives without appetite, with a lazy indifference. – Bruno Schulz, The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
4. Storytelling is a way of turning the world inside out, which I believe it desperately needs. – Mike Russell
5. I always felt sorry for the sidekick as a kid. They never got their due and it left a very bad taste in the mouth – they are defined by a subordinate relationship to someone else. I always felt like a bit of sidekick when I was a kid and it didn’t feel fair. – China Mieville
7. In one picture, the pool was half hidden by a fringe of mace- weeds, and the dead willow was leaning across it at a prone, despondent angle, as if mysteriously arrested in its fall towards the stagnant waters. Beyond, the alders seemed to strain away from the pool, exposing their knotted roots as if in eternal effort. In the other drawing, the pool formed the main portion of the foreground, with the skeleton tree looming drearily at one side. At the water’s farther end, the cat-tails seemed to wave and whisper among themselves in a dying wind; and the steeply barring slope of pine at the meadow’s terminus was indicated as a wall of gloomy green that closed in the picture, leaving only a pale of autumnal sky at the top. – Clark Ashton Smith, American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps
9. The right to take a chance, the right to suffer. The right to be unwise, the right to die. These aims are hateful to the government, which values ever frightened mouse and falling sparrow as equal to a tiger burning bright. – Fritz Leiber, The Wanderer
10. But then, as she knew too well, the more fondly we imagine something will last forever, the more ephemeral it often proves to be. – Iain Banks
What’s your favourite Weird Fiction quote? Please share 🙂
Welcome to Examining the Odd‘s Weird Fiction timeline!
I’ve set myself a challenge – to read ten short stories over the next ten days and blog about them here.
All of the stories will be strange or odd (of course!) and all will be free to read online. I’ll post a link with each post so that you can read the story too (comments would be lovely so that I don’t get lonely on the challenge).
So, the first story! Today I read Thomas Ligotti‘s The Night School.
To be honest, I nearly gave up after the first two paragraphs. I found it a bit clunky and it wasn’t holding my interest. Then (and I’m not sure when or how), I was sucked in. The school in the story is such a wonderfully scary building and I don’t know how the narrator managed to continue on his journey. One of my favourite things for a story to do is smell. That may sound weird if you don’t have the same opinion, but I find that with some books (Gormenghast springs to mind), I can smell the room, the person, the feeling. The Night School reeks!
Ligotti is easily one of the most respected horror/supernatural authors alive today, often compared to Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. I must admit, this is the first Ligotti story that I’ve read and I’m looking forward to more (suggestions and links very welcome). How I’ve not stumbled across him before (although I’ve heard his name dozens of times since the release of True Detective), I really don’t know.
If you prefer to be scared via audio, have a listen to this:
David Tibet of Current 93 is a friend of Ligotti and they have collaborated on numerous tracks. The one above features Tibet reading Ligotti‘s poem I Have A Special Plan For This World, set to eerie music and startling sound effects.
I read The Night School over on Weird Fiction Review. Go and have a read and come back to tell me your thoughts in the comments 🙂