The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror by Thomas Ligotti is by no means an intro text into the wild world of nihilism and subversive thinking. (Note: I use the term subversive liberally here.) Both a literary criticism and an exploration of nihilism as a perspective, Ligotti is a preeminent figure in this sphere of thought, as both a writer of horror and alternative thought. It is truly a book for those, who will not be bothered or overly depressed after slogging through such pessimistic thought.
As a philosopher myself, I found delving into pessimism via the lens of Schopenhauer and Peter Zapffe to be really interesting, especially since I’ve never really read any of them nor their writings. This text is not specifically philosophical as much as Ligotti wishes to cloak it as such.
He traces the emergence of this “literature of pessimism” from not only philosophical sources but literary ones, such as Lovecraft and he tries his best to bring out how humanity truly does not matter in the face of a cold, empty universe. For most readers, this read may be too crushing to complete, but I would encourage most to continue reading since I found it to be the best exposure to nihilist thought I’ve come into contact with. Ligotti is not unaware or self-absorbed to not realize the thinking system’s flaws or to ignore nihilism’s limits, so his considerations are serious ones to attempt to address.
Either way, if one is curious about this viewpoint or even wants to understand where the inspiration for Rust Cohle’s character from True Detective was drawn from, this would be the book to read!