The Secret of Ventriloquism is best described as “disquieting”. With some of the collection, such as the first story “The Mindfulness of Horror Practice”, there is a direct nihilistic assault barely disguised as a meditation. In other stories, such as “20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism” and “The Secret of Ventriloquism”, the shredding of perceived realities are still there, but much deeper and require some coaxing out in order for the horror to start taking hold. The majority of the stories revolve around the art and science of the Ventriloquists, not really creating what we would call a new mythos but more of a dreadful existential cosmology. There are no gods here per se, simply because the value of worship, both on the part of the would-be worshipper and the would-be worshipped, is zero. Certain characters and creatures make appearances through various stories, creating a world of some cohesion throughout, but those associations are the only things that add the comfort of familiarity between the stories. Padgett is a student of Ligotti, and the best kind of student in that he took what his teacher had to provide and created something completely different and wonderful with it.
I love this book a great deal.
The Secret of Ventriloquism can be purchased through Amazon.