Copyright 2015, Chris Mars
A source of critical study and creative response to the corpus of Thomas Ligotti as well as associated authors and creative works
We are currently CLOSED to submissions

Vastarien The forbidden tome. The impossible otherworld. A textual entryway into

a place where everything was transfixed in the order of the unreal. . . . Each passage he entered in the book both enchanted and appalled him with images and incidents so freakish and chaotic that his usual sense of these terms disintegrated along with everything else. Rampant oddity seemed to be the rule of the realm; imperfection became the source of the miraculous — wonders of deformity and marvels of miscreation. There was horror, undoubtedly. But it was a horror uncompromised by any feeling of lost joy or thwarted redemption; rather, it was a deliverance by damnation. And if Vastarien was a nightmare, it was a nightmare transformed in spirit by the utter absence of refuge: nightmare made normal.

Our name is drawn from Thomas Ligotti’s classic story of the same title (quoted above), which S. T. Joshi has characterized as “Ligotti’s most searching exploration of the forbidden book theme.”

Our interests include but are not limited to the following subjects:

  • Supernatural horror (both fiction and film)
  • Philosophical pessimism
  • Gnosticism
  • Buddhism
  • Nihilism
  • Surrealism
  • Decadent and fin de siècle literature
  • Pessimistic and morbid poetry (Trakl, Thomson, Brennan, Leopardi, Larkin, Wiloch, Barnitz, etc.)
  • Aberrant psychology (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, anhedonia, depressive realism, etc.)
  • Euthanasia/Right to Die
  • Horror in the visual arts
  • Antinatalism
  • L’école belge de l’étrange
  • Corporate degradation
  • The architecture and topography of Detroit and its suburbs
  • Horror and pessimism as it relates to most any field (geography, psychology, astronomy, music, film, etc.—kind of a catchall category)
  • Any crossovers or hybrids of these categories/writers

The following authors are of especial interest to Vastarien:

  • Charles Baudelaire
  • Thomas Bernhard
  • Aloysius Bertrand
  • J.L. Borges
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Louis Ferdinand Celine
  • E.M. Cioran
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Douglas Harding
  • Shirley Jackson
  • U.G. Krishnamurti
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • Emile Nelligan
  • Michael Persinger
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Maurice Rollinat
  • Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Bruno Schulz
  • Paul Valery
  • Peter Wessel Zapffe

See our Submission Guidelines for more specific information.

Read about our Editorial Board for a look at who’s behind this project.

6 thoughts on “Home

  1. Awesome idea, gentlemen! Looking forward to the evolution of this project and hope it is a fruitful one!
    Tim Jeski


    1. Thank you for pointing this out. We were actually aware of this issue in our discussions as we went about setting up Vastarien. The project arose from a post at Thomas Ligotti Online that went out to all members. My co-editors and I were the ones who initially responded and started putting our heads together on it. We have been searching for a female editor to join us, and we presently think we have some good possibilities.


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