Friday, July 27, 2012

Short Review of The Red Tower, Thomas Ligotti

Thomas Ligotti has been unsettling people with his weird and horror fiction for some time now.  The example I am reviewing here is one of the very best weird stories I've ever read, matching anything Lovecraft and the other masters have ever accomplished.

Ligotti's deranged narrator describes the non-place that is the Red Tower, nestled in a non-scape that is nowhere and everywhere.  The things which can be glimpsed by this mad narrator are not horrifying in the usual sense of the term; I would not classify the tale as horror (though that is where you will find Ligotti's work shelved).  But such glimpses as we are offered will unsettle you.  Is it madness or extraordinary perception that enables one to see the domain of the Red Tower?
The ruined factory stood three stories high in an otherwise featureless landscape. Although somewhat imposing on its own terms, it occupied only the most unobtrusive place within the gray emptiness of its surroundings, its presence serving as a mere accent upon a desolate horizon. No road led to the factory, nor were there any traces of one that might have led to it at some time in the distant past. If there had ever been such a road it would have been rendered useless as soon as it arrived at one of the four, red-bricked sides of the factory, even in the days when the facility was in full operation. The reason for this was simple: no doors had been built into the factory, no loading docks or entranceways allowed penetration of the outer walls of the structure, which was solid brick on all four sides without even a single window below the level of the second floor. The phenomenon of a large factory so closed off from the outside world was a point of extreme fascination to me. It was almost with regret that I ultimately learned about the factory’s subterranean access. But of course that revelation in its turn also became a source for my truly degenerate sense of amazement, my decayed fascination.
Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates the dark corners of fantasy or weird fiction.  It doesn't get much better than this.  Read it online for free here or pick up the collection where you'll find this story.

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