The Next Big Thing: TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN

“The Next Big Thing” is a meme that asks authors to answer ten questions about their next project, after which they tag five additional authors to do the same a week later. Last week I was tagged in this regard by my friends, fellow authors, and fellow Teeming Brain writers Stuart Young and T. E. Grau, whose own contributions to the fray involved Stu’s description of his forthcoming horror collection Reflections in the Mind’s Eye and Ted’s description of his forthcoming horror collection (co-written with his spousal other half, Ives Hovanessian) I Am Death, Cried the Vulture.

So here, right on schedule, is my perpetuation of the Next Big Thing meme.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

“To Rouse Leviathan.” It may or may not come with the subtitle “A Book of Daemonic-Divine Horror.”

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book represents an enormous amendment or revision of what was originally planned as a trade paperback edition of my second book, Dark Awakenings (published as a hardcover by Mythos Books in 2010). A few months ago my friend W. H. (Wilum) Pugmire, the master penner of exquisite Lovecraftian tales, spontaneously took on the simultaneous role of agent and angel by recommending me to Hippocampus Press and Hippocampus Press to me in hopes of getting them to publish that paperback. In short order, I had an enthusiastic agreement in place from Hippocampus head honcho Derrick Hussey and Hippocampus editor S. T. Joshi. But then S. T. emphasized to me in further talks that he would love to include more than just the contents of Dark Awakenings in the project, and eventually the idea was born to group the short fiction from that book with all of the contents of my first book, Divinations of the Deep, and to add to these a further section of previously uncollected fiction. Thus was born To Rouse Leviathan.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Cosmic and supernatural horror fiction. More specifically, horror fiction exploring the nightmares and weirdness that haunt the intersection of horror with religion, spirituality, philosophy, psychology, and creativity.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

In five words: I have no earthly idea. None at all. Total blank. When I write, I don’t think in cinematic terms, and I frequently have no visual image in mind for my characters and no sense at all of their being linked or similar to any actors. Any attempt by me to answer this question by naming one or more actors would be utterly artificial. This is despite my long-running obsession with cinema.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

To Rouse Leviathan is an omnibus collection of my horror fiction exploring the convergence of religion and horror, containing the complete fictional contents of my first two books plus a section of previously uncollected stories.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Hippocampus Press. You didn’t ask, dear faceless and invisible interviewer, but I can tell you that the probable publication date will be late 2013.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The oldest story in it is “Teeth,” which I wrote in an early form in 1994-5. The newest will be “Prometheus Possessed,” which I wrote this year. I have also recently taken two of the stories, “If It Had Eyes” and “A Cherished Place at the Center of His Plans” (which I co-wrote with Mark McLaughlin), through stylistic revisions so drastic that they’ve been remade on a prose level almost from the ground up. So that all represents an 18-year span.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Because of its omnibus nature, and also because of the general slant and tone of some of the contents, Thomas Ligotti’s The Nightmare Factory may be the closest comparison.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Allow me to quote myself, from my recent interview at Ted Grau’s blog, The Cosmicomicon: “As for why I ultimately started writing fiction, and why it has always been of the dark variety, I think interrogating the question itself shows that it is, at bottom, unanswerable. In fact, interrogating the question opens up a vast, murky, electrifying, terrifying realm of unknown and unknowable realities that hold all of us perpetually in their grip. This is along the lines of the thought experiment that Robert Anton Wilson recommends in, I think, Prometheus Rising, or maybe it’s in Quantum Psychology — and anyway, he borrowed it from Aleister Crowley, who said he got it from somebody else — where you stop, as in really and truly, for a long pause, and you engage in a deep questioning of the reasons for why you’re right there, in that location and circumstance, at that precise moment, doing what you’re doing and thinking what you’re thinking and feeling what you’re feeling. Keep pressing the question ‘Why, why, why?’ to each and every answer that presents itself, and if you really dig down and follow this backward trail of causation and justification, eventually you’ll find, not just as an intellectual matter but as a startling existential realization, that you have absolutely no idea. You don’t know, ultimately, why you’re right there, right then, doing that. In a sense, everything about your life is just arbitrary, just happening by itself, and any story you tell yourself to explain why stands as more of a rationalization than an explanation.”

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Perhaps the fact that it will be followed by another book by me from Hippocampus. S. T. mentioned this in his latest blog post (November 16), so I’ll quote him: “I am pleased to be working on a large omnibus of Matt Cardin’s short fiction for Hippocampus Press. The book is to be called To Rouse Leviathan and will contain the complete fictional contents of Divinations of the Deep (Ash-Tree Press, 2002) and Dark Awakenings (Mythos Books, 2010), along with new matter. A second volume, containing many of Cardin’s provocative essays on weird fiction, will appear later.”

So there you have it. And now, in fulfillment of the obligation I have incurred by responding to this meme, who are the five fellow authors I will tag and drag into this meme to continue its life cycle? More on that soon.

Image: “Destruction of Leviathan” by Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He writes about the apocalyptic intersection of religion, horror, the paranormal, creativity, consciousness, and culture.

Posted on November 28, 2012, in Arts & Entertainment, Religion & Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. That’s quite thrilling to have all your works to date collected and available at a decent price I’m sure. Very much looking forward to this collection!

  2. My clumsy hands ACHE to clutch the book!

  3. A Cardin omnibus, from Hippocampus no less… Some of the best literary news in recent memory.

  4. Matt, you couldn’t have told me about the Hippocampus books BEFORE I bought your other books? Okay, so I bought DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP and DARK AWAKENINGS long before you knew the Hippocmapus stuff was going to happen, but that still doesn’t excuse your thoughtlessness.

  5. As you know, Matt, I place your work, fiction and non-fiction both, at the pinnacle of contemporary Horror. These twin volumes from Hippocampus will be on my “Essentials” shelf. Congratulations again.

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