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The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror Paperback – April 30, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocampus Press (April 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984480277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984480272
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Conspiracy against the Human Race is renowned horror writer Thomas Ligotti s first work of nonfiction. Through impressively wide-ranging discussions of and reflections on literary and philosophical works of a pessimistic bent, he shows that the greatest horrors are not the products of our imagination. The worst and most plentiful horrors are instead to be found in reality. Mr. Ligotti's calm, but often bloodcurdling turns of phrase, evoke the dreadfulness of the human condition. Those who cannot bear the truth will pretend this is another work of fiction, but in doing so they perpetuate the conspiracy of the book s title. --David Benatar, author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence; Department of Philosophy, University of Cape Town, South Africa

The Conspiracy against the Human Race sets out what is perhaps the most sustained challenge yet to the intellectual blackmail that would oblige us to be eternally grateful for a gift we never invited. --From the Foreword by Ray Brassier --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Thomas Ligotti is one of the foremost authors of supernatural horror literature. In this genre, he has been classed with Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. His works include Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Grimscribe, My Work Is Not Yet Done, and Teatro Grottesco. Ligotti lives in Florida. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book serves as an invitation to further reading.
Wendy Willowby
Like the others, the symbolism makes sense, but there's the fact that Ligotti is only ever describing the upper echelons of horror.
The Evil Hat (evilhatDOTblogspotCOM)
You may not agree with his view point but you'll surely understand it.... Good work..... Ligotti.
Keene

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 117 people found the following review helpful By a reader on August 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most bracing and affecting work of philosophical speculation I've ever read. Not for the weak of heart or mind, Mr. Ligotti's 'contrivance' is a dense and remarkable work of linguistic precision and poetic power, a horror story in which the uncanny monsters are us, and we've known it all along, in the backs of our minds: the self is an illusion, the body a gene-duplicating bio-robot, consciousness a tragic aberration that has imprisoned mankind to a life of suffering and reproduction. Here, the carnivorous universes of Lovecraft and Barron are shown to be not creations of fantastical speculation, but the universe in which we reside as deluded mistakes, born to suffer and die and make replicants to do the same.
Of course, since I have to carry on with my life somewhat, I wouldn't say I did or even could seriously adopt the ideas contained herein, but what a penetrating, powerful work of true horror, the ultimate horror-- the thing behind our lives which gives us the sure sense that things are not right and never will be. Bravo.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By The Evil Hat (evilhatDOTblogspotCOM) on December 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Conspiracy against the Human Race is the first nonfiction work of horror author Thomas Ligotti. If you've been following Ligotti, the views expressed will not come as a surprise. This book has all the markings of a magnum opus. Here, Ligotti takes the ideas that he's been advancing for his whole career and strips them of their fictional trappings, explores their raw realities and their naked implications.

This is not a dry read. Though there is no story or characters, this is still a deeply engaging work. The tone is set by the brief fable of humanity's "Loss of Innocence" (so titled in the Notes section), which is one of the many times that Ligotti uses his virtuosity as a fiction author to get across dense abstractions.

Reading Ligotti's stories is being immersed in a strange, inimical atmosphere, and Ligotti proves just as capable of getting across moods and feelings (alienation, fright, or whatever it is that he wishes to evoke) with only a few phrases, conjuring powerful images with apparent ease: "Life is a confidence trick we must run on ourselves, hoping we do not catch on to any monkey business that would have us stripped of our defense mechanisms and standing stark naked before the silent, starring void." (p. 29)

In addition to the terror that he can so easily create, Ligotti's prose can also, at times, have a lightness to it. His writings are always elegant, beautiful as they tear into your beliefs. The moments of black comedy (and it is a black so dark that fulign barely begins to describe it) do nothing to damage the import of the ideas all around them, but rather succeed in drawing us closer and enmeshing us further still.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Jim TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are unfamiliar with Thomas Ligotti's fiction and this non-fiction book and want to get a sense of where he's at and what The Conspiracy Against the Human Race is about, I recommend that you check out horror writer (and college teacher and musician) Matt Cardin's excellent interview of Ligotti, which can easily be found on the web (it's at Matt's "the teeming brain" WordPress blog). Although The Conspiracy Against the Human Race has a foreword by philosopher Ray Brassier (author of the highly recommended though difficult Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction) and a back cover endorsement by philosopher David Benatar, Ligotti explains in the interview that CATHR "is by no means a philosophical work," but is instead "a synthesis of ideas I've formed over my life and of other people's ideas that rhyme with mine." He also refers to CATHR as his "Unabomber-style essay." Despite that disclaimer, I would say that CATHR qualifies as an expression of philosophical pessimism and philosophical nihilism (and antinatalism, defined at Wikipedia as "the philosophical position that asserts a negative value judgment towards birth"), and that the aforementioned endorsements from professional philosophers make perfect sense.

While Ligotti only makes a brief, indirect reference to the work of Ernest Becker in CATHR (Becker's book Denial of Death was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction two months after Becker's death from cancer at age 49 in 1974), the general spirit is similar. To quote from Becker's introduction to his book Escape From Evil, "At its most elemental level the human organism, like crawling life, has a mouth, digestive tract, and anus, a skin to keep it intact, and appendages with which to acquire food.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Harry N. Tormey on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What this book is: a fantastic summary of pessimistic thought spanning everything from buddhism to schopenhauer to obscure Norwegian philosophers alongside western literary classics and various horror stories. Ligotti's style is impeccable and if you are one of those people, like me, who is fascinated by pessimism and literature of a dark and morbid ilk, this book is a must have. Ligotti does a brilliant job of providing entertaining, insightful and illuminating commentary while weaving together all of the above topics into a coherent discourse. However my personal favorite thing about this book is the insight it gives into the authors world view and how it informs his writing of weird fiction.

What this book is not: A good introduction to the writings of Thomas Ligotti. This book is not a work of fiction and as such is not really representative of the type of writing that has brought Mr Ligotti his cult following. You could of course read this book and thoroughly enjoy it without reading anything else but I feel this would be doing it a great disservice. As I said above, for me what made this book amazing was reading it in the context of having read Ligotti's other fantastic short stories.

In summary, if you are an existing ligotti fan click buy right now, you won't regret it. If you are new to Ligotti I would buy Theatro grotesco, a collection of short stories which is in print and or the nightmare factory (not the graphic novel) if you can find a copy of it. Read one of those and if you find yourself obsessed come back and buy several copies for your friends (like I have done)
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