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Has True Detective Put Thomas Ligotti in the Spotlight?


The question surely on many people’s lips after the recent plagiarism accusation must be this: who, exactly, is Thomas Ligotti? Thomas Ligotti is the author that creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto has been accused of ripping off. Ligotti is a cult horror writer that hasn’t seen much mainstream action. That is not a slight, it’s a fact.

Much like Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, more and more people are seemingly now paying more attention to Ligotti’s works because of its link to True Detective. All of the works, True Detective included, also share a link with horror writer H.P Lovecraft.

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True Detective has a definite feel of cosmic horror, which is something that Lovecraft was famous for. True Detective never dips outright into the supernatural, but the threat is always there just off of center. Ligotti is also a Lovecraftean author, whose works sometimes evoke that same sense of horror. Vulture put together a thorough run-through of Ligotti’s work that’s work checking out.

Finally, The King in Yellow was an influence of Lovecraft himself, and even included references to it in The Whisper in the Darkness. True Detective has so far been responsible for a renewed interest in a very particular style of horror, which is undeniable regardless of where you fall on the plagiarism debate.

Ligotti himself has not weighed in on the debate, and it’s unlikely at this point that he will. What we do know for sure is this: people are talking about Ligotti, and Lovecraft isn’t far behind. True Detective has set a very interesting literary course for popular culture.