March 6, 2013
1) Forthcoming book: To Rouse Leviathan
My third full-length book (not counting the ebook A Course in Demonic Creativity, still available for free at Demon Muse) will be published in 2013 by Hippocampus Press. To Rouse Leviathan will be an omnibus collection featuring the complete fiction contents of my first two books plus a section of previously uncollected stories. Here's the table of contents:
DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP -- "An Abhorrence to All Flesh," "Notes of a Mad Copyist," "The Basement Theatre," "If It Had Eyes," "Judas of the Infinite"
DARK AWAKENINGS -- "Teeth," "The Stars Shine Without Me," "Desert Places," "Blackbrain Dwarf," "Nightmares, Imported and Domestic" (written with Mark McLaughlin), "The Devil and One Lump," "The God of Foulness"
APOCRYPHON -- "Chimeras & Grotesqueries: An Unfinished Fragment of Daemonic Derangement," "Prometheus Possessed," "A Cherished Place at the Center of His Plans" (written with Mark McLaughlin), "The New Pauline Corpus"
A couple of the stories will appear in substantially (drastically) revised and expanded form. Stay tuned for an announcement about a formal publication date. Additionally, this book is likely to be followed in the future by a separate book, also from Hippocampus Press, collecting many of my nonfiction writings on horror, religion, psychology, sleep paralysis, gothic literature, and the like.
2) A mummy encyclopedia
I'm presently editing a book about mummies for academic publisher ABC-CLIO. (Previously, I contributed to their Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares and Encyclopedia of the Vampire.) The working title is Mummies around the World: An Encyclopedia of Mummies in History, Religion, and Popular Culture. More details will be forthcoming.
3) A story in The Starry Wisdom Library
I’ll have a story -- or actually it's an essay of sorts; read on -- in the forthcoming anthology The Starry Wisdom Library that’s being edited by rare book expert Nate Pedersen for PS Publishing. Nate’s rather brilliant conceit for the project is to frame the book as a facsimile reproduction of the original 1877 "lost" auction catalogue for the library of occult books that Lovecraft described as residing in the abandoned Church of Starry Wisdom in "The Haunter of the Dark." Each "story" is written in the form of a scholarly description of, and essay on, one of these fictitious texts. I wrote about the Daemonolorum, a tome of "nightmare arcana" invented by Robert Bloch for one of his stories. The book will be out in 2013 or 2014 and will feature an introduction by S. T. Joshi. I'm very pleased to be aboard; the list of contributors is an astonishing "who's who" roster of weird horror and Lovecraftian writers.
4) Essay at Dream Studies
Last Halloween my essay "Nexus of Nightmares: Fuseli, Sleep Paralysis, and Horror's Master Image" was published at Dream Studies, dream researcher Ryan Hurd's thoroughly excellent Website about dream science, nightmares, and related altered states of consciousness. The piece describes my long-in-coming recognition about a very famous painting (you know the one) and the way it has come to serve as a transformative nexus of dark meanings enfolding a vast span of unsettling subjects. Readers of my Liminalities column at The Teeming Brain will find the article an extension of some of its major themes. Likewise for readers of my horror fiction.
5) New column for [Nameless] Magazine
Last December I became a columnist for Nameless, the "Biannual Journal of the Macabre, Esoteric and Intellectual" edited by Jason V. Brock and S. T. Joshi. The column is titled Numinosities, and the first installment is titled "Things That Should Not Be: The Uncanny Convergence of Religion and Horror," with a focus on the perennial entanglement of religion with horror in such a way that each automatically implies and entails the other.
6) New interviews
Last September, my friend and fellow horror author T. E. Grau interviewed me for his blog, The Cosmicomicon, and the conversation ended up turning into the single most detailed examination of my life, influences, writing, and philosophical-spiritual reflections that I've yet given during the past several years of granting occasional interviews. I talked about horror, religion, Lovecraft, sleep paralysis, fantasy, science fiction, consciousness, creativity, reality, the dystopian hazards of an uber-online lifestyle, and more.
Three weeks later I was the featured guest on the October 14 edition of the Expanding Mind radio show, which is devoted to exploring "the cultures of consciousness." I've been a fan of the show for some time, and have long enjoyed host Erik Davis's writings on culture, technology, gnosis, horror, science fiction, and related subjects. My hour-long conversation with him and his cohost Maja D'Aoust delved into the deep psychological, philosophical, and spiritual underpinnings of the dark side of religious experience and explored the implications of the fact that this aspect of religion, which is so foreign to modern, mainstream Western ideas about religion's nature and function, actually stands at the very center of what it has always been about for people around the world and throughout history. The episode is titled "Daemonic Creativity," indicating another subject that we explored at some length.
April 13, 2012
1) DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP PUBLISHED IN NEW E-BOOK EDITION:
Ash-Tree Press published my first book in 2002, and last November it became one of the first titles they chose to republish as part of their first-ever line of e-books. You can buy the Divinations of the Deep ebook for Kindle at Amazon, and in Kindle or ePub format (the latter for Nook/Kobo, etc.) directly from Ash-Tree.
2) MEDIA APPEARANCES
Since July of last year, I've appeared as a guest on several shows -- Internet radio shows, broadcast radio shows, a podcast -- to talk about my central focus as an author and a human being on the convergence of religion, horror, sleep paralysis, consciousness, creativity, and the daemonic muse experience, with a side of discarnate dark entities. I was also profiled in a local magazine. Here's a list, complete with links to listen to the audio programs:
Spiritually Raw radio - July 5, 2011
Spiritually Raw radio - July 28, 2011
The Genre Traveler - September 6, 2011
Tapping into darkness: MCC instructor finds niche in horror fiction - Waco Today, September 22, 2011 (October 2011 print edition)
Darkness Radio - October 12, 2011
Rewiring Your Brain, with Dr. Robert Rose - November 25, 2011
Rewiring Your Brain, with Dr. Robert Rose - February 19, 2012
Later this year I'm slated to appear on the August 12 edition of The Peake Experience -- author and consciousness researcher Anthony Peake's internet television show -- to talk about daemonic creativity and related issues. Update: This appearance has been moved to October.
3) SECOND ANNUAL "DARK MIRROR" HORROR FILM FESTIVAL IS A SUCCESS
Last October I organized the second annual Dark Mirror horror film festival at the college where I work, aided once again by Baylor University film and media professor Dr. Jim Kendrick. As with the previous year's event, this one was a great success. The theme was Horror and the Soul. We screened six films, accompanied by lectures and discussions, for an appreciative audience: Risen (the zombie film shot and produced in Waco), Jacob's Ladder, The Mist, Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978, Session 9, and The Exorcist You can read full notes about all of these things at the Dark Mirror website and blog.
June 4, 2011
1) PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEWS DARK AWAKENINGS:
Publishers Weekly ran a great review of Dark Awakenings last month. Here's an excerpt:
"Life is a horror for which there is neither remedy nor release in the seven metaphysical terror tales that make up the bulk of Cardin's provocative second collection (after Divinations of the Deep)....Cardin's tales are rich with references to Lovecraft, Nietzsche, and other writers whose work gives them unusual philosophic depth. This thinking-man's book of the macabre is capped by three essays, all of which speak eloquently to the supernatural themes of the stories."
2) I RESUME MY CYBER-LIFE AFTER A 5-MONTH HIATUS
In January I announced at my Teeming Brain blog, and also at my Facebook page and Twitter account, that I would abandon all social media and go on cyber-sabbatical for the whole of 2011, for personal reasons that had to do with psycho-cyber overload. It turned out that only five months were needed to clear the mind and re-center the soul. Among the more noteworthy developments -- or actually, ranking as the most noteworthy one -- I became the grandfather of twin boys. All in all it was a restful, transformative, and illuminating retreat, and I highly recommend that you try something similar if the idea has been nagging at you.
3) DARK FAITH 2 IS IN THE WORKS, AND I'M ABOARD
Last year's Dark Faith anthology from editors Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, published by Apex Books, was a major hit with readers and critics. It featured my story "Chimeras & Grotesqueries." Recently I was contacted with an invitation to submit something to the forthcoming sequel anthology. This promises to be good, again.
4) LIVE AT DEMON MUSE: NEW ARTICLE ABOUT CROWLEY, LEARY, WILSON, AND THE MUSE
At Demon Muse, my blog about cultivating a deep relationship with the creative daimon/muse/genius, I have published the second installment in my article series about the muse's ontological status. "Theology, Psychology, Neurology: Is the Muse Real? (Part Two)" discusses the linked experiences of Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary, and Robert Anton Wilson in receiving perceived communications from "higher intelligences." It also brings comic books legends Alan Moore and Grant Morrison into the mix. And yes, this whole project is in process of being worked into a book.
5) EXCELLENT: LAST MONTH'S WORLD HORROR CONVENTION IN AUSTIN
In May the World Horror Convention came to Austin, which meant I was able to attend for the first time since 2003. (Previously I've attended the WHC in Seattle, Chicago, and Kansas City.) It was a wonderful event that went down swimmingly. One of the heads of the organizing committee (Nate Southard, an excellent friend and writer), contacted me late in the game to ask if I would be willing to serve as the convention's Volunteer Coordinator. So that's how I ended up being on the committee. This meant I helped with various organizational tasks throughout the weekend, which was really quite fun and fulfilling. I also had the chance to catch up with friends I haven't seen for nearly a decade. Programming-wise, I spoke on a panel titled "The Horror of the Academy," about the state of academia's relationship with horror today, and I moderated a panel titled "Which Religion Is the Right One?" My fellow panelists (Don Webb and Scott A. Johnson) and I didn't really answer the question, but we and the audience ended up having a fun time nonetheless.
November 1, 2010
NEW REVIEWS OF DARK AWAKENINGS:
The reviews of my new book have been pouring in over the past couple of months. Here are some links and excerpts:
"Philosophies of Horror: Matt Cardin and Thomas Ligotti" - Mike Arnzen, Gorelets, October 20, 2010. "Dark Awakenings offers generous heapings of fiction and 'dark theology': there are seven high quality Weird Tales (in the proper sense of that phrase, as many of them are eldritch stories, directly or indirectly related to the Cthulhu Mythos) and three artful, multi-part works of literary criticism on the diverse religious and philosophical elements of supernatural tales (from the Bible to Romero films)....One might presume that a book should only come at you with one approach — i.e., that a reader can only hold a work of fiction, or one of non-fiction, in their hands at once. And it’s true that many lesser writers might produce something schizoid if they attempted this dual approach to dread. But the exact opposite is true in Cardin’s case: these two genres of writing inform each other in an interesting way, so that by the time you finish the stories and turn to the criticism, you are eager to learn more about the writer’s worldview; and when you get to the end, you’ve learned so much more that you want to turn right back to the beginning and start reading the fiction all over again. And it does reward a second read: Cardin is deft at writing in both genres, because he writes with such a centered focus."
Review of Dark Awakenings by Richard Gavin, September 7, 2010. "As authors of supernatural Horror go, few today equal Matt Cardin. His grasp of characterizations is deft, his pacing sure-footed. But perhaps Matt's most enviable quality is his ability to seamlessly smudge deep philosophical principles into his narratives without coming off as didactic. 'Teeth,' 'The Stars Shine Without Me' and in particular his novella 'The God of Foulness' truly exhibit this talent. Cardin makes a reader ponder the nature of reality, yet at a turn he can summon images of startling terror, visions that unnerved this Horror author more than once."
Review of Dark Awakenings by Scott Candey, October 1, 2010. "This is intellectual, introspective, shamanistic horror. The black things crawl through the psychic ditches of our world but in Cardin’s writing they are tethered more concretely to a sense of humanity. This is, in part, due to the scholarly inclusion of religion that he weaves through his tales. Let me be clear, these are not religious stories in any sense that would lead readers of this site to be apprehensive. The stories here incorporate undiscussed elements of religion that illustrate both a connection to something bigger and a reminder of the dark things hidden in the heavy language of gods."
Review of Dark Awakenings by Grim Reviews, October 31, 2010. "Cardin, like Ligotti and H.P. Lovecraft, is a malevolent universe fearing author....To him, the working world, academia, suburban life, and our very bodies and minds seem to neighbor some exceptionally dark places....On the whole, Dark Awakenings shows that Cardin has fully conquered the short form in fiendishly interesting ways....[It] is a shadow delicacy, with an unconventional makeup that will satisfy the mind's literary and intellectual cravings."
My short stories "Chimeras & Grotesqueries" and "The New Pauline Corpus," available this year in two new horror anthologies, have also been attracting positive attention from readers and reviewers.
MY NEW COLUMN FOR SF SIGNAL:
Last month I started writing a column for the popular speculative fiction blog SF Signal. It's titled Stained Glass Gothic, and I've penned three entries so far: "Dark Light through Rainbow Panes," "Fantasy, Horror, and Infinite Longing," and The October Mystique: 7 Authors on the Visionary Magic of Ray Bradbury."
Back in August I attended and spoke at ArmadilloCon in Austin. My full report, published at my Teeming Brain blog, shares the sordid details.
HORROR FILM SERIES:
In October I put on a well-attended horror film series over a span of three weekends at the college where I'm employed. The final screening was just two nights ago, and was followed by a panel discussion featuring several of my colleagues in academia and the horror publishing business. I titled the series The Dark Mirror and created a website where you can read all about it.
CONVERSATION WITH QUENTIN CRISP:
At The Teeming Brain at the end of September, I published a long and very philosophical interview/conversation with my friend and fellow horror author, Quentin Crisp.
In September the popular creativity and productivity website Lateral Action published a guest post by me about the value of the traditional idea of the muse to creative work: "5 Reasons Why You Need a Muse."
August 17, 2010
There's quite a slew of news to report this month.
CONVENTION APPEARANCES: My convention schedule for the next few months is rather hopping. On August 27-29 I'll be at ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas, where I'll do a reading, participate in a book signing, and speak on panels titled "Links between Fantasy and Horror" and "Religion in Worldbuilding." This will be my third time at ArmadilloCon, and I'm quite looking forward to it. The crowd in attendance is always excellent.
Then on January 6-9 I'll travel to Phoenix, Arizona (or actually Tempe) to participate in MythosCon, whose member list looks like a roster of (nearly) every Lovecraft or Lovecraft-related scholar, author, editor, anthologist, and filmmaker whose work I've ever read or heard of. In a development sure to disturb the dreams of many a sleeping monster god, I'll share a hotel room with Simon Strantzas and Richard Gavin.
And on April 28-May 1, it will be back to Austin for the World Horror Convention -- my first attendance at that venerable con since Kansas City in 2003. Nick Mamatas, who's serving as programming chair, already hinted to me a few months ago about some interesting ideas for pairing me with appropriate panelists to result in maximum provocative interactions. So this promises to be extra fun.
NEW INTERVIEW: In July I was interviewed for the blog of the just-launched Dystopia Press: "Meet the Author: Matt cardin." Topics included the genesis of my twin focus on religion and horror, the stories of how I hooked up with Ash-Tree Press and Mythos Books, and my advice to writers.
HORROR FILM SERIES: I'm presently in process of putting together a horror film series to be shown on the campus of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, where I teach English and work in the Writing Center. Dr. Jim Kendrick, a media professor and horror film expert at Baylor University, is helping me to plan the program, which will include the original Dawn of the Dead, Poltergiest, and Spielberg's 2005 version of War of the Worlds (which can validly be read as more of a horror film than a science fiction film). Each film will be prefaced by a brief lecture by either Jim or me to set the historical-cultural context, and the overall theme will be the way American horror films since 1968 have served a special function by acting as a dark mirror that reflects specific cultural fears and neuroses. The final film will be followed by a panel discussion consisting of Jim, me, and a couple of my fellow horror writers whose names I'm not at liberty to divulge right now, pending final scheduling approval. I'm thinking of titling the whole thing "The Shadow Over Waco."
BLOGGING ACTION: Lately I've been on a strong blogging streak for some reason. At Demon Muse I continue to explore all the various shadings of the muse/daimon/genius model of creativity, with an added dose of historical-cultural analysis in a recent post titled "When the Muse Becomes Demonic: The Monstrous Modern History of the West." I also published a brand new interview with horror novelist and college writing teacher John Langan. And at The Teeming Brain, I have recently published a number of meaty posts, including:
The 1960s Redux: In our new age of apocalypse, is the consciousness revolution back on?
Lovecraft, Christian Horror, and Weird Fiction
This I Believe: An uber-agnostic on religion, psychology, consciousness, the paranormal, and the meaning of life
A New Golden Age of Horror Fiction?
On clarity of language, thought, consciousness, and being
June 8, 2010
Last month Mathew F. Riley and the other good folks at Horror Reanimated started asking a number of horror writers to name and explain the single book they would like to be buried with. They published my entry in the series on June 7. Rereading it, I think I may have finally managed to explain to my own satisfaction why I’m helplessly hooked on both supernatural horror and books about philosophy, religion, and spirituality. Previous entries in the series have come from Mark Samuels, Thomas Ligotti, Laird Barron, Adam Nevill, Mark Morris, Brian Lumley, Reggie Oliver, Michael Marshall Smith, David Moody, Christopher Golden, Gary McMahon, and Simon Strantzas — a fine crowd to be associated with, for sure.
In other news, the latest issue of Dead Reckonings features a review full of love for Dark Awakenings:
It is refreshing to see that there are still authors interested in and capable of portraying a species of dread that is dependent neither on the standard bogeymen of horror fiction nor in pain and the thread of bodily dissolution as ends in themselves….The philosophical and theological bases for Cardin’s horror run deep….[He brings] his ideas to vivid, immediate life through his excellent descriptive skills, believable characters, well-described settings, and an unusually apt gift for choosing metaphors when attempting to describe the ineffable….In “Teeth,” comparative religion, philosophy, and quantum mechanics meet in a mandala that offers the clearest expression of Azathoth as the universal maw since Lovecraft. Perhaps even more devastating is “The God of Foulness,” which posits a cult based on the incarnation through disease of the third god in an unholy trinity, served by a text riddled with redirected, misquoted, and parodied extracts from the world’s spiritual texts. Cardin’s ability to detail the full implications of ideas that utterly destroy “the human need for illusion” reveals the forces behind those ideas in action, without risking anticlimax, and demonstrates the impact they have on the lives of characters in whom readers can recognize themselves; this lends the stories a terrific impact.
- Jim Rockhill, reviewing Dark Awakenings for Dead Reckonings #7 (Spring 2010)
April 19, 2010
Cthulhu's Reign, edited by Darrell Schweitzer and featuring my theologically themed Lovecraftian story "The New Pauline Corpus," is now available in stores everywhere (publication date: April 6). Both the book in general and my story specifically have been receiving positive responses.
In part two of a pre-release, multi-part series of interviews with the book's authors, Black Gate says my story "reads more like a fragmented religious text, a mad work of theology and philosophy, than a mere horror tale." The same article quotes my responses to some questions about what inspired me and how I went about writing the piece.
SFRevu pegs my story one of the two most interesting in the book, and describes it as "effective."
In his Amazon review, Matt Carpenter says, "Wow, what a magnificent story! A theologian tries to reconcile what has happened with what he spent his life studying."
A reviewer for Boston Book Bums says, "If I were to peg my favorite [story in the anthology], I would have to say 'The New Pauline Corpus' perfectly blends the end of the world with the deepest introspection that would come when weighing the dogma of light against the horrors oozing down from the night sky."
Similarly, a reviewer for The Maine Edge writes, "A personal favorite is Matt Cardin's 'The New Pauline Corpus,' a story written in triptych and built around a new gospel reconciling the rise of the Old Ones with the foundations of Christianity. We get a theologian's proof equating Cthulhu to the Old Testament God, a 'fictional' recounting of the time of the change and a diary-style account of a church official attempting to construct a new gospel from the pieces of the former two. It's an interestingly-written piece that has some seriously strong connections to Lovecraft's work. Probably the best one of the bunch."
March 11, 2010:
I was recently interviewed by Lovecraft News Network: Interview with Matt Cardin: Dark Awakenings and Cosmic Horror (March 3, 2009).
I was also recently interviewed again by TheoFantastique about my reading of the biblical book of Isaiah as a cosmic horror story: Matt Cardin - 'Gods and Monsters, Worms and Fire: A Horrific Reading of Isaiah' (February 17, 2010).
Talent Development Resources, Douglas Eby's website about the psychology of creativity and personal growth, has published my article "Perspiration Meets Inspiration or, The Return of the Muse" (March 5, 2010)." It's one part apologia for the creative value of pairing deliberate effort with active waiting on inspiration, and one part report on the rehabilitation of the idea of the muse, daimon, or personal genius in contemporary Western culture.
December 19, 2009:
My semi-surreal short story "Chimeras & Grotesqueries," in which the invasion of a nameless modern-day city by a dark extra-cosmic power is observed by a faceless narrator who lives in an alleyway and spends his days fashioning miniature monsters from garbage, has been accepted for publication in Dark Faith, an anthology edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, to be published by Apex Books in May 2010.
The cover art and full table of contents for editor Darrel Schweitzer's Lovecraftian anthology Cthulhu's Reign (DAW, April 2010), which will feature my story "The New Pauline Corpus" (which reconciles Christian theology with Lovecraft's Old Ones), have been showing up around the Web, along with a brief description of the book: "Some of the darkest hints in all of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos relate to what will happen after the Old Ones return and take over the earth. What happens when Cthulhu is unleashed upon the world? What happens when the other Old Ones, long since banished from our universe, break through and descend from the stars? What would the reign of Cthulhu be like on a totally transformed planet where mankind is no longer the master? Find out in these exciting, brand-new stories."
November 11, 2009:
New blurb from Nick Mamatas, author of the deliriously brilliant Lovecraftian Beat novel Move Under Ground: "Dark Awakenings offers the dream imagery of the best weird fiction but goes even further beyond the ordinary thanks to Matt Cardin's fierce intellect. Haunting stories and insightful essays. This is mandatory reading to prepare for the doom to come."
My two-part article "Lovecraft's Longing" has been published at Art Throb, the North Shore-oriented arts Website administered out of Salem, Massachusetts and helmed by my sister, New England journalist Dinah Cardin.
October 25, 2009:
Welcome to the new MattCardin.com! I hope you enjoy looking through the site and seeing what it has to offer. This space will contain periodic news updates, while my Teeming Brain blog, at three-plus years and counting -- and with a brand new look, as you'll see when you visit it -- will continue as before (see the feed for it here on the Home page). Feel free to use the Contact link to let me know what you think of everything.
More news: On October 18 I sent the final round of galley revisions for Dark Awakenings to the publisher, and the project is on a definite track for a November/December release. Beyond that, I'll have a new story titled "The New Pauline Corpus" in editor Darrell Schweitzer's forthcoming anthology Cthulhu's Reign (DAW, April 2010) and three entries, including an extensive examination of vampires and religion, in editor S.T. Joshi's Encyclopedia of the Vampire: The Living Dead in Myth, Legend, and Popular Culture (Greenwood Press, 2010).