Author Topic: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes  (Read 4341 times)

eytanz

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Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« on: April 20, 2015, 03:11:44 AM »
Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes

by Thomas Ligotti

“Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes” first appeared in Nyctalops #17, 1982.

THOMAS LIGOTTI is one of the foremost contemporary authors of supernatural horror literature. His works been honored with several awards, including the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker award for the collection THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY (1996) and the novella MY WORK IS NOT YET DONE (2002). Revised, definitive editions of his first three story collections — SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER, GRIMSCRIBE, and NOCTUARY — were published in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. Revised editions of his collections THE AGONIZING RESURRECTION OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN AND OTHER GOTHIC TALES and DEATH POEMS were issued in 2013. Ligotti has also published THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE (2010), a nonfiction work that explores the intersection of the darker byways of literature, philosophy, and psychology. Forthcoming titles by Ligotti include a collection of interviews and a chapbook consisting of two newly written stories and a Penguin edition for both SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER and GRIMSCRIBE this fall. The web site Thomas Ligotti Online was founded as a forum for discussions of and media related to Ligotti’s writings as well as those of wide range of authors, artists, and musicians whose work is associated with the horror genre, among other areas of interest to devotees of unconventional art and thought.

Your reader this week – Rish Outfield – is a podcaster, writer and audiobook narrator, who is afraid of everything. He’s afraid of ghosts, he’s afraid of children, he’s afraid of old women, he’s afraid of cockroaches, he’s afraid of the boogeyman, he’s afraid of enclosed spaces, he’s afraid of wasps, he’s afraid of rejection. He’s afraid the deflector shield will be quite operation when your friends arrive. Rish is host of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine–yes, that’s still a thing–where they present full-cast productions of genre fiction, often with sound effects and music, and even more often with annoying conversation afterward.



” ‘Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen,’ I say when the lights come back on and the meager applause dies entirely. ‘I hope my beautiful assistant and I haven’t bored you too much this evening. You do look a little sleepy, as if you’ve been lulled into a trance yourselves. Which is not such a bad feeling, is it? Sinking deep into a downy darkness, resting your souls on pillows stuffed with soft shadows. But our host informs me that things will liven up very soon. Certainly you will awake when a little chime commands you to do so. Remember, it’s wake-up time when you hear the chime.’

I repeat. ‘And now I believe we can prosecute this evening’s festivities.’ ”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

Jon Padgett

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 09:12:00 AM »
I love hearing Ligotti's work read aloud -- always brings an added dimension to his stories. And this particular story is a classic of the form. As I recall, Stanley Elkin served as the inspiration. The voice of the narrator is meticulously and beautifully wrought. Just a wonderful tale with a tremendously satisfying ending.

Fenrix

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 09:47:34 AM »
I made my book club read Songs of a Dead Dreamer. (This fall it will again be available in dead tree form). This was a consistent favorite from the collection.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 09:20:42 AM »
I thought this was cool, it's the first of Ligotti's works that I recall hearing.  Creepy, dark, fun.

Usually I don't notice trends in a publication because I'm usually focused on a particular story.  But this one reminded me a great deal of "20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism" in a lot of ways, especially being similar in tone and with a performer of party tricks turning out to pull the strings that control us all, and then the other story with Glittio who was a Ligotti standin.  Not complaining at all--though they had a similar feel they were also all distinct, just had a feel about them of similar origins, like Drabblecast's Lovecraft month.

LucretiaBorgia

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 08:27:21 AM »
I agree with Unblinking. It was odd and yet satisfying, having heard the last two Pseudopods, to hear this, the man himself. I'd never read Ligotti at all and so the story of "Glittio" was intriguing...what is it about this author that's so special?  Well, now I have a bit of an idea. I shall look into some resources about Ligotti and try to ascertain why the protagonist in the afore-mentioned story was so obsessive about Ligotti, pardon me, Glittio, heh.
I've been a fan of Poe and Lovecraft since my teens and adore cleverness with words and florid descriptiveness. I'd like to be able to write that way but never have the stamina to complete a story.
More like this, if you would, O Great Podcast Producers!

Fenrix

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 09:52:37 AM »
Make sure to bounce back through the archives to stuff his Bungalow House in your ears.

This story is included in the Songs of a Dead Dreamer collection, which is quite worth the time. It's available in ebook right now and will be available in dead tree format (for less than a couple hundred dollars) this coming fall.
All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

bounceswoosh

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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 06:34:55 PM »
I couldn't stay focused on this one =/ something about animated corpses disguised as beautiful women?

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 08:46:00 AM »
Make sure to bounce back through the archives to stuff his Bungalow House in your ears.

This story is included in the Songs of a Dead Dreamer collection, which is quite worth the time. It's available in ebook right now and will be available in dead tree format (for less than a couple hundred dollars) this coming fall.

Oh!  I hadn't remember that was Ligotti--thanks for the reminder.

Dwango

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2015, 01:01:07 PM »
Thanks a lot, now another horror author I have to add to my reading list! :-)  If I get more reading ideas from you guys and I will never finish my reading before I die.  Of course, maybe that's the trap we are all in...  :o

eytanz

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 11:23:02 AM »
I enjoyed this story - and the narration was brilliant - but was a bit perplexed by the ending. Maybe I missed something, but after all the ominous hints scattered throughout the story, it all ended up being essentially one big mean prank? "Ha ha you thought you were dancing with a beautiful woman but it's really a stinky corpse". Um, ok?

Fenrix

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 11:44:17 AM »
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

Humans are fantastic at lying to themselves. We tend to surround ourselves with similar thinking folks who won't challenge our worldview. Confirmation bias reinforces what we already think is true, and we deny and forget that which challenges it. It is a cruelty to forcibly break that self delusion.
All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

eytanz

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2015, 03:02:04 PM »
Yeah, but Lovecraft was wrong about that - it's quite the opposite, really. Humans have the incredible ability to deny whatever they find uncomfortable regardless of the evidence. When something happens that shocks us out of our illusion of safety, the most human reaction is to immediately start building a new illusion of safety.

The victim in this story will go "ick, what's that?", push the corpse out the door, and two weeks later will be telling the story of how the nasty hypnotist tricked them into believing that a beautiful woman was really a rotting horror.

(I mean, I guess you can interpret the embrace of illusion as what is meant by "the peace and safety of a new dark age", but I think Lovecraft had something a bit more violent in mind).

Chairman Goodchild

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2015, 07:07:42 AM »
I thought this was cool, it's the first of Ligotti's works that I recall hearing.  Creepy, dark, fun.

Usually I don't notice trends in a publication because I'm usually focused on a particular story.  But this one reminded me a great deal of "20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism" in a lot of ways, especially being similar in tone and with a performer of party tricks turning out to pull the strings that control us all, and then the other story with Glittio who was a Ligotti standin.

There was the recent flash fiction piece as well.

Ventriloquists, hypnotists, and mimes, oh my!

Really enjoyed this one, and glad that a Ligotti piece was read after having his name teased by the previous episode. 

Dwango

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2015, 08:29:02 AM »
We really are isolated in our own worlds.  We only can interpret what others think or do through our senses and the "mind model" we build of other people.  This is rather sketchy in the best of times, and rather scarily broken in the worst of times.  Think of sociopaths and psychopaths, where their sense of others really is broken or not there at all.

There is the show "mind games" where they run experiments and demonstrations on how our brains really interpret events.  The best was where the guy puts a fake arm and hand where the person's real hand would be.  The real arm is behind a cardboard wall.  The person running the experiment runs a feather on both the real and fake hands so the brain associates the experience with real actions.  Then suddenly the experimenter smashes the fake hand with a hammer.  In almost all cases, the person said they actually felt pain in their real hand.  It's a fun and disturbing show where you realize what you experience in the world is more interpreted and made up than you may like to know.

doctornemo

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Re: Pseudopod 434: Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2015, 11:43:56 PM »
Ah, one of the fine early Ligotti tales.
Excellent reading by Rish Outfield!  I like the way you inhabit the narrator's vision, cruelty, humor, and drive.