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My Work Is Not Yet Done de Thomas Ligotti

My Work Is Not Yet Done (edição: 2009)

de Thomas Ligotti (Autor)

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When junior manager Frank Dominio is suddenly demoted and then sacked it seems there was more than a grain of truth to his persecution fantasies. But as he prepares to even the score with those responsible for his demise, he unwittingly finds an ally in a dark and malevolent force that grants him supernatural powers. Frank takes his revenge in the most ghastly ways imaginable - but there will be a terrible price to pay once his work is done.Destined to be a cult classic, this tale of corporate horror and demonic retribution will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been disgruntled at work.… (mais)
Título:My Work Is Not Yet Done
Autores:Thomas Ligotti (Autor)
Informação:Virgin Books (2010), Edition: 1, 192 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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My Work is Not Yet Done de Thomas Ligotti


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This volume consists of one novella, and two shorter stories: "Three Tales of Corporate Horror."

The title story is the memoir of Frank Dominio, a man who loses his job and then decides to take revenge on his colleagues. But before he can go down the conventional path, a supernatural force intercedes, and he finds himself able to follow through his plans in ever more imaginative and grotesque ways.

"I Have a Special Plan for this World" concerns a peculiar office in a peculiar town, where the tension in the air is so thick you can barely see more than a few feet in front of you--literally.

"The Nightmare Network" is a dangerous vision of a future in which the corporations are all there is, humanity has been assimilated, and the corporate entities themselves battle for dominance. At least, that's what I got from it. It's an odd sort of "story."

I especially loved the first story. No one could ever accuse this author of being derivative. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Regular readers will remember that I recently read the new In the Mountains of Madness by W. Scott Poole, which is not just a biography of horror writer HP Lovecraft but also an examination of the "Lovecraftian" culture that has built up around his work since his death; and that got me interested not only in reading the entire oeuvre of Lovecraft for the first time (a process I'm in the middle of right now), but also checking out some of the contemporary authors who write in Lovecraft's vein, and who are helping to carry and extend the "Cthulhu Mythos" into the 21st century. So for advice with that I turned to an acquaintance of mine, Chicago horror author Richard Thomas; and among the other contemporary writers he encouraged me to sample was Thomas Ligotti, who I had already vaguely heard of as, alternatively, "The best horror writer you've never heard of" and "the horror writer all the other horror writers wished they were."

Several of his fictional works struck my fancy when first looking through his bibliography; but what stuck out much more in my mind when coming across it, and what I ended up taking on first, was actually a nonfiction book he wrote back in 2011 with the intriguing title The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. It's essentially a Philosophy 101 survey of all the various deep thinkers throughout history who have espoused what Ligotti calls a "philosophy of pessimism," which he then examines and weaves together to present a sort of unified narrative story about what all these philosophers had in common, and the 3,000-year-old lesson they've been trying to teach us the whole time. It essentially starts with the idea that no living creatures in the universe were ever meant to have self-sentient consciousness, and that the fact that humans do is actually an aberration and a curse, not some sort of gift from a benevolent god; because with this self-sentient consciousness, we're then compelled to spend our lives searching for a meaning to our existence, but are saddled with the knowledge that there is no meaning to existence, that the universe is quite simply an infinitely large void of constant chaos and random violence, bereft of any human-invented quality like "equality" or "fairness," and that each of our lives are nothing but insignificant specks in the cosmic scale, in which we change not a single thing about the universe in our lifetimes and then are promptly forgotten by the human race a mere generation or two after our deaths.

That's the "conspiracy" of the book's title, the idea that someone is perpetrating a grand cruel joke on humanity at all our expenses; for anyone who looks too closely at this unvarnished truth about the universe, one that we were born with the ability to easily see, ends up going violently insane (or in other words, suicide victims and serial killers are simply the people who see the universe as it really is), which means that to stay sane, productive members of society, we must literally spend our entire lives making up pretty little lies about existence (that there is a cosmic order to it, that there is an inherent sense of justice, that we were purposely born on this planet for a specific reason), and then spend every ounce of our energy brainwashing ourselves into believing these lies, despite the fact that we can quite easily see with our rational minds just how much we're deluding ourselves when we tell ourselves these things. That's essentially the basis behind every horror story ever written, Ligotti argues, the schism between the lies we tell ourselves about an orderly, fair universe and the unending parade of chaos and violence that we glimpse when we stop telling ourselves these lies; and he then spends the length of his book hopping from one famous thinker to another over the course of written history, showing how there have always been select philosophers and authors around, from the ancient Greeks to the Renaissance to the Victorian Age to now, who have used this same basic set of principles as the basis behind every treatise and manifesto they ever wrote.

Yeah, pretty dark and heady stuff, making it no surprise that True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto has admitted in interviews that he based Matthew McConaughey's season 1 antihero Rush Cohle directly on the theories being discussed in this book; and it also goes a long way towards explaining why a genre writer like Ligotti cites as some of his favorite authors such surprising non-horror people as Arthur Schopenhauer, Vladimir Nabokov, and Samuel Beckett. So after this, then, I jumped right into the only book-length fictional piece Ligotti has ever written, 2002's My Work Is Not Yet Done, republished in 2009 for a larger audience by hipster British press Virgin Books (all the rest of his books are short-story collections), which unsurprisingly reads like a fictional version of all the nonfiction theories being banded about in Conspiracy. It's essentially the tale of an intellectual malcontent and mentally imbalanced loner working a faceless middle-management job at a blandly nondescript corporation; when he's railroaded by scheming co-workers into getting unfairly fired, he makes plans to launch into the violent act of retribution you would expect from such a person, but then a sudden dark cloud that envelops the city that night imbues him with a malevolent supernatural spirit that suddenly makes the story go in a much different and weirder direction.

I'll let the rest of this delightfully crackpot story remain a surprise, although I will mention that the scope of the narrative gets a lot bigger and grander than you would expect by the time the story is over, and that it's also obvious in this book why so many people call Ligotti the natural heir to Lovecraft and his obsession for all-powerful creatures who regard humans as little more than gnats to be flicked at in annoyance. What may be the most clever thing of all about about My Work, however, is that it's also an astute examination of the former industrial powerhouses of the American Midwest, and the ignoble corrosion they have faced in the post-Industrial age (Ligotti was born and raised in Detroit, and the unnamed city where My Work takes place feels an awful lot like it, although you could also substitute in such cities as Cleveland, Indianapolis or St. Louis), as well as a gleefully cynical takedown of the misguided attempts to transform these cities in the 21st century into shining creative-class destinations full of coffeehouses, bike paths and loft condos. (In fact, in a way you can see the main theme in My Work manifested as the question, "What if literal demons were behind the urban gentrification movement?")

It's been a darkly exhilarating experience for the last few weeks, being stuck so deep in Ligotti's unrelentingly nihilistic universe, a writer who after thirty years of professional publishing just now seems to be starting to come into his own as a popular public figure. (He's one of only ten living writers on the planet who's been republished by Penguin Classics, a feat which only happened a year and a half ago, at which point the Washington Post called him "the best-kept secret in contemporary horror fiction.") If you yourself are looking for a refreshingly chilling alternative to the played-out "ghosts in the suburbs" trope of Stephen King and other Postmodernist horror authors, I suggest you give Ligotti a whirl yourself. ( )
  jasonpettus | Apr 25, 2017 |
See full review @ The Indigo Quill

By the time I first picked up a book by Thomas Ligotti, I had already heard his name a dozen times in horror circles and conversations with friends. While searching for works by other authors, I must have run my finger across the spines of his books countless times without ever realizing what I was passing by. After finally reading a few of his novels and short stories, I have found that he really does earn his place as one of Horror’s best kept (pseudo)secrets. Any readers of Lovecraft will be able to pick out his threads of influence in Ligotti’s writing, but his style of dark, cosmic, philosophical horror is all his own.

Obscurity in a writer you enjoy is always a two edged sword. It is nice to have that feeling of intimate kinship, knowing you’re the only person in the room that has read something. On the other hand, you will find yourself trekking to every used bookstore in town, searching fruitlessly for the next read (before you break down and buy the e-book). My search led me to my local library, where I finally found what must be the only surviving copy of a book by Ligotti in town: “My Work Is Not Yet Done.” There were plenty of other books of his that I found myself more drawn to from the cursory research I had already done, but after a day of impotent questing I was happy to have at least found something.

My Work Is Not Yet Done is a compilation of novellas following a common theme of demonic and otherworldly encounters in an office setting. Think of Office Space meets American Psycho if Christian Bale’s character happened to have an encounter with a malevolent deity. The title work, My Work Is Not Yet Done takes up the majority of the two-hundred or so pages, and as such claims much of the focus. It is written in first person narrative form (for the most part) and reads with a voice like an edgy crime novel. From the themes to the philosophies epitomized by the characters, all the way down to the language and setting, darkness is king.

Ligotti does a fine job at addressing the every-day horrors of corporate life by showing the decay and malignancy caused by spending one’s life toiling for a job that not only fails to satisfy but seems to suck away everything that makes you human. The celebration of mediocrity and the bottom line that is today’s cube farm, takes on its own persona in these tales. The real-life horrors of the work place conjured up by Ligotti are almost scary enough until the disgruntled and revenge-bound protagonist happens upon (or is set upon by) other-worldly and demonic powers. These powers allow for some of the most interesting and inventive tableaus in horror. The abilities gained by the main are endless in scope and are only limited by the twisted imagination of their wielder. The protagonist’s thirst for revenge and the completion of his “work” is so great that he ignores clues as to the limitations of his power knowing that some sort of grim finality awaits him upon completion of his vengeance.

In I Have a Special Plan for This World and The Nightmare Network, the vein of corporate nihilism continues in a much less conventional manner. The first deals with a company whose supervisors meet their end in various and unsavory ways in a city with an inexplicable yellow fog that seems to grow thicker as the body count rises. The Second is a collection of what appears to be correspondence from a company that makes dreams and implants thoughts, ultimately with dramatic consequences. While the second two stories are much shorter and less character or plot-based, the dark themes and office-centered bloodbaths continue in just as unsettling a fashion as in the title story.

I would recommend this book to any fan of dark horror or even dark fiction. Ligotti has a way of incorporating black comedy into his horror in a deliciously twisted way. While the second two stories seemed almost like extras compared to the first, the innovation and inventiveness of his storytelling and prose more than make up for what I would consider stories that are just too short. While I wouldn’t be happy with artificial lengthening, a few more chapters in each story would have been nice. Overall, I enjoyed this book enough that after renting it from the library, I bought a copy for my collection to re-read at my leisure.

-Andrew @ The Indigo Quill ( )
  TheIndigoQuill | Nov 7, 2015 |
Better than Songs of a Dead Dreamer, but still not really my cup of tea. As some other reviewers have noted, this kind of reads like Office Space as produced by H.P. Lovecraft- mildly amusing/irritating office politics that then changes into something far more horrifying. Think Terry Gilliam's Brazil, but with a wholly nihilistic, destructive and amoral worldview. It was more than a little off-putting, and while I didn't dislike it, really, it just made me feel odd for several days afterward. ( )
  stewartfritz | Apr 4, 2013 |
No logo! The Hieronymous Bosch Corporation.

"There are no bad dreams if there's only one dream."

Enjoyed his writing. Sometimes the 'moral' of the revenge meted out is a bit heavy-handed. ( )
  dmarsh451 | Apr 1, 2013 |
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When junior manager Frank Dominio is suddenly demoted and then sacked it seems there was more than a grain of truth to his persecution fantasies. But as he prepares to even the score with those responsible for his demise, he unwittingly finds an ally in a dark and malevolent force that grants him supernatural powers. Frank takes his revenge in the most ghastly ways imaginable - but there will be a terrible price to pay once his work is done.Destined to be a cult classic, this tale of corporate horror and demonic retribution will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been disgruntled at work.

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