Author Topic: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio  (Read 4336 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« on: April 05, 2015, 10:47:56 AM »
Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio

by Arthur Staaz

“The Influence Of Thomas Glittio” is previously unpublished.

ARTHUR STAAZ is a relatively newly published writer. He has been writing for many years, but finally, at mid-life, has decided to get serious about it. In various incarnations, Arthur has been a songwriter, laborer, lawyer, teacher, father, husband, and victim of suppressed unconscious desires. He is fascinated by dark philosophies, the absurdity of human existence, and the black mysticism to be found in a Thomas Ligotti story. He has a blog/web site at by COLD, DARK, EMPTY.

Your reader – Branan Edgens — is a filmmaker living in New York City. He’s currently producing a documentary on Hmong (pronounced Mong) folk-singing and gearing up for his first feature film, SALAX (pronounced Say-lax) a horror/drama in the vampire genre. When not working he can be found somewhere in the woods building a cabin, if you can find him. You can’t. Check out Genetic Films.



“He felt it immediately. A current that flowed into his body through his eyes as they scanned the page and out through his fingertips as they tapped the keyboard. He was alive, powerful. One might even say meaningful. But certainly not Glittio.

The room around him faded to a shimmering darkness. Objects lost their distinctness, as did he himself. He could not have told you at that point where he ended and the keyboard began, let alone how it was different from the desk upon which it sat or the floor beneath the desk. Even the act of scanning the words in the frayed paperback on his desk called into question for him whether the book was a separate thing from his eyes. All melded together.

The nebulous quality of his perceptions was contrasted by the clarity of his mind. It is as if I am he, he thought. Indeed, he could not tell for certain. And yet these thoughts did not act as a distraction from the task at hand but only served to further focus his mind. No longer just a student in the act of transcribing an author’s work, he in a sense became the author.”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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SkyPiglet

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2015, 12:48:35 PM »
I've never heard of Thomas Ligotti before, so my interpretation may be different. I know that part of this was homage, but i couldn't but find a level of satire here. Most everyone who has attended college, even for a little while, has encountered that nihilistic, insecure man-boy who adores Nietzsche and sees the world as a decaying, festering mass. These men (boys?) are so transparent and predictable, so loathsome and yet pitiable.

What makes this story transcend satire and reach horror is the level of obsession. Every person has had their share of insecurities, and their own odd behaviors to compensate for said insecurities. As a writer myself, I couldn't help but empathize with the antihero's desire to attain greatness. I gazed into the abyss of his self-loathing, of his "never being enough", and I saw...me. That's what makes this story so effective. It's definitely a story by a writer, for other writers, but not so insulated that it excludes anyone else. The horror is subtle and lingering.

I only started listening to Pseudopod a few weeks ago, but this is one of my favorites so far!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 09:32:55 AM by SkyPiglet »

bounceswoosh

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Re:
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2015, 03:21:11 PM »
Camus. Rhymes with "canoe."

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2015, 08:20:30 PM »
Ligotti is a pretty stunning writer. Make sure to bounce back through the archives to stuff his Bungalow House in your ears.

I also strongly recommend "Notes on the Writing of Horror: A Story" from the Songs of a Dead Dreamer collection. It's delightfully meta and for both writers and those who like to intellectually dissect horror. It's like his response to Supernatural Horror in Literature, but elevated to provide entertainment as well as education.

I really like how this story is not only a love letter to Ligotti, but it evokes his style while standing on its own. I already enjoy Ligotti's work, so it's good to hear that someone who's not a fan (yet) really dug the story.
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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2015, 05:45:48 PM »
The monomania theme reminded me a great deal of Poe. I feel like loss of identity and self is perhaps one of the most horrifying themes possible, but, also reminiscent of some of Poe's work, the horror was not for the narrator, but his hapless victim. I wondered, however, whether this Glittio fellow was in fact a series of different people taken over by some unseen force who was the real Glittio. The hints early on about how people doubt whether he existed at all suggested that possibility.

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2015, 10:20:22 PM »
I really enjoyed listening to this excellent story. Like the protagonist, I became obsessed with the works of Thomas Ligotti (aka Glittio) when I was in college. I really got a kick out of Staaz's fictional version of Ligotti -- a figure much closer to how I imagined the actual person to be than what turned out to be the real mccoy (an enormously generous and funny and down to earth human being)! It's admirable that Staaz was able to keep up this alternate reality/mystery Ligotti of yesteryear given the huge swaths of information available on Ligotti the man now.

I'm also looking forward to reading more from this author!  The narrator did excellent work as well.

My own ode to Ligotti, "20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism," appeared early on PSEUDOPOD last night. I also am the narrator of the piece. The whole production process has been such a pleasure. The PSEUDOPOD staff are such consummate professionals, and I'm as pleased as I can be with the final product.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 10:22:27 PM by Jon Padgett »

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 08:18:31 AM »
The monomania theme reminded me a great deal of Poe.   I wondered, however, whether this Glittio fellow was in fact a series of different people taken over by some unseen force who was the real Glittio. The hints early on about how people doubt whether he existed at all suggested that possibility.

I'd considered that as well, and was waiting for the story to end on that note.  Glittio's paranoia was well-founded, and maybe the reason is that Glittio didn't want to have happen to him what he did to the previous Glittio...  But I liked the way the story ended, with the idea that this story was written by Glittio himself.  Now I need to check out Thomas Ligotti.

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2015, 04:23:23 PM »
I didn't really get into this one.  Perhaps in large part because I'm only passingly aware of Ligotti, and the one thing of Camus's that I've read didn't compel me to finish it. 

I don't have a blanket ban on stories about writers, but I've read enough just by Stephen King alone that it's a hurdle to jump to actually win me over with one.  Early in the story I was mostly annoyed waiting for this guy to stop droning on about the mundanity of his life, and the ending was clear early enough on that there wasn't really a lot for me to grasp onto. 


FullMetalAttorney

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2015, 12:58:22 PM »
I don't have a blanket ban on stories about writers . . . .

I've heard that many publishers do, unless they're coming from an established writer. (Can't remember where I heard that. Maybe it was on this podcast?) There's a good chance they won't be any good. I have a similar predisposition against fantasy stories where the protagonist starts in the real world and is transported to a fantasy world. It just seems like a crutch for people with poor imaginations (although there are remarkable exceptions--Narnia, for one, or Spirited Away).

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2015, 10:48:13 AM »
I've heard that many publishers do, unless they're coming from an established writer. (Can't remember where I heard that. Maybe it was on this podcast?) There's a good chance they won't be any good. I have a similar predisposition against fantasy stories where the protagonist starts in the real world and is transported to a fantasy world. It just seems like a crutch for people with poor imaginations (although there are remarkable exceptions--Narnia, for one, or Spirited Away).

Really?  I haven't heard a predisposition against portal stories before.  I loves me some portal stories.

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2015, 09:33:33 AM »
I reaaally liked this one. My absolute favorite kind of story is one with a slow burn that picks up speed as it goes along, sucking you with it before you realize that you're hooked.

I know that I should know Thomas Ligotti better than I do, although the first story I thought of, atmosphere-wise, was the Bungalow House . I didn't realize that was Ligotti, so I guess Staaz must have nailed it. :)

Quote
I wondered, however, whether this Glittio fellow was in fact a series of different people taken over by some unseen force who was the real Glittio.

That was my take on it. At the end, when the cop was hauling off the other college student, I took that to be the previous incarnation of Glittio; some hapless college student who had gone through the same steps and temporarily assumed to persona of the author, only to be dumped back into the real world when a new Glittio took his place.

In fact, I wondered if that was perhaps how the Glittio-entity sustained itself, fueling the stories with the soul-substance from each new student, come to fill the place. We know the first stories he wrote as Glittio were "some of the best he's written". After a time, even the clarity of this final step will start to fade, and the Glittio-entity will need to find another body to inhabit to start the process all over again.

I mean...that's how *I* do it...

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2015, 10:22:51 AM »
Quote
I wondered, however, whether this Glittio fellow was in fact a series of different people taken over by some unseen force who was the real Glittio.

That was my take on it. At the end, when the cop was hauling off the other college student, I took that to be the previous incarnation of Glittio; some hapless college student who had gone through the same steps and temporarily assumed to persona of the author, only to be dumped back into the real world when a new Glittio took his place.

In fact, I wondered if that was perhaps how the Glittio-entity sustained itself, fueling the stories with the soul-substance from each new student, come to fill the place. We know the first stories he wrote as Glittio were "some of the best he's written". After a time, even the clarity of this final step will start to fade, and the Glittio-entity will need to find another body to inhabit to start the process all over again.

I mean...that's how *I* do it...

To me, I think there was a possibility of it being an endless chain of Glittios, but I don't think that's certain.  I think that the transference of bodies was a full Freaky Friday style swap, so when this guy jumped into the body of Glittio, Glittio jumped into the body of him, and so the Glittio-in-other-body is trying to go back to his own home and gets turned away as a creepy fanboy.

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2015, 10:47:41 AM »
Ah, that makes sense now that you mention it.

Oh well, either way I like it. :)

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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2015, 01:35:45 PM »
Or the creepy fanboy stage is the prior body now released and abandoned. Being cast aside and left out in the cold could cause some exquisite despair.
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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 05:43:46 PM »
I agree that the ending seems to suggest that Glittio is now in Summers' body (although the reference to losing his keys "twice this month" suggests that this replacement process has happened before and more frequently than the slow steps here seem to indicate a single full cycle takes, which in turn suggests that new would-be Glittios are showing up regularly), but I prefer to think that there is no Glittio at all.  "Thomas Glittio" is the word for the locus of the emergent properties of these stories, which have achieved some terrifying new level of meme-like replication.  There never was a "Thomas Glittio," but only a series of young college students serving as vessels for the production of new generations of Glittio stories.  "Thomas Glittio" is a literary virus, a constellation of symptoms surrounding a void that serves no end but to repeat itself, without consciousness or understanding or desire.

Just like Glittio's vision of humanity within the context of the story.

Very creepy.  I liked it a lot.
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Re: Pseudopod 432: The Influence Of Thomas Glittio
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2015, 11:10:49 AM »
This came across as fanboy wish with Ligotti. But a successful job of that.


BTW: Pronouncing Camus like campus took out any believability of being a literary scholar.
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