1 – Doll Space

Kraken Doll

I thought you had had yourself whipped again by the Rigger. This time the arabesque of scars seamed over vesicles of doll parts in milky transport. You do not know what freedom would be, at the limit. Its questions are very strict. For now, you suppose there will be proprieties, symbolic alloys, isomorphs. There’s a place for us. Something like a barnacle emerged from your arm.

Ligotti renders these equivalent and useless: libraries, care homes, monasteries, cemeteries, craters, parking lots – alike “starless cities of insanity”. The back-street medicine shop where his narrator loiters. “Medicine-shop situations,” without exception. He cannot, but if he could, he’d except periodic visits from a floating puppet in an anachronistic Pierrot costume. Its wires recede “into a ceiling of distorted light and shadow” (Ligotti 2008, 58).

Following the election, everything stayed the same. You walked by the river watching time machines reconstituted from mud, bars and wire mesh.

The narrator could be saved or dammed from the outside; but this is an iterated medicine shop; like Kafka’s seriated doorways into the Law.

In universalizing extinction, Brassier fosters a virulent response to Doll Space. No longer a for us but a generative purposelessness (236). It speaks from the Puppeteer’s angle in a tinny machine emulation (Brassier 2007, 239; 2012, 109). This is how philosophy paints a world and makes it clown around (Thacker 2015a, p87). For your own part, you want to smash their white bone faces and repudiate Freud’s kiss. We’re not the gradients of our deaths. Moreover, this isn’t all we might fear or hope for.

You will be the one nobody expected or wanted.

The air pixelated with things that hummed and chattered on the wind. It held a faint tang of ammonia, burning eyes and throat.


Brassier, R., 2007. Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ennis, P. J. (2015). Anti-vitalism as a precondition for nihilism. In S. De Sanctis & A. Longo (Eds). Breaking the spell: Contemporary realism under discussion (pp. 19-29). Milan: Mimesis International.

Laruelle, François (2013). Principles of Non-Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic.

Ligotti, Thomas 2008, “The Clown Puppet” in Teatro Grotesco. London: Random House, 2008, pp 53-64.

Miéville, C., 2012. “On Monsters: Or, Nine or More (Monstrous) Not Cannies”. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 23(3 (86), pp.377-392.

Janicaud, D. 2005. On the Human Condition. Oxford: Routledge.

Thacker, E. 2015. Starry Speculative Corpse: Horror of Philosophy vol. 2. John Hunt Publishing.

VanderMeer, J., 2014a. Annihilation: A Novel. Macmillan.

VanderMeer, J., 2014b. Authority: A Novel. Macmillan

VanderMeer, J., 2014c. Acceptance: A Novel. Macmillan.

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