During the past couple of years, I’ve been receiving requests for an ebook edition of Divinations of the Deep with increasing frequency, and today I’m pleased to announce that the wait is over. Divinations, the ebook, is now available in both Kindle and ePub formats (the latter for Nook, Kobo, and other ereaders).
On their catalog page, Ash-Tree describes the book as “Matt Cardin’s highly acclaimed collection of glimpses into the primal chaos which God fashioned into an ordered cosmos, and the threads which occasionally unravel at the seams of the universe.”
Ash-Tree was of course the publisher of the original print edition — which booksellers are now listing for prices ranging from $60 to $200 — and I was pleased when they recently contacted me to ask if I would be interested in having it published in their newly launched line of ebook titles. For this new version, I gave each story a light stylistic revision.
“This collection was everything I’d hoped it would be, and that doesn’t happen often. Divinations of the Deep contains five stories that share the same Judeo-Christian religious theme. But this isn’t a book that you’ll find in Jerry Falwell’s library. This collection goes far beyond Judeo-Christian tradition, far beyond God, into the dark possibilities of what existed before God…Like Lovecraft and Ligotti, Cardin excels in creating a truly terrifying atmosphere of dread and decay by revealing what may lurk just beyond our view of reality. Few people succeed in this, but Matt does it with aplomb. His prose is intelligent and poetic, his execution, effortless. I believe this collection will become a classic of weird fiction.” — Durant Haire, writing for Feoamante.com
“This whole book is Fiction-as-Religion in action. It is truer than truth.” — D.F. Lewis
“It’s a bold writer who, in this day and age, tries to make modern horror fiction out of theology, but Cardin pulls it off. Like most heretics, he may be wrong in the eyes of the Church, but he can cite texts: lots of scary Old Testament passages that suggest a gnostic mystery underlying perceived reality. What was the ‘face of the deep’ upon which there was darkness, before the first act of Creation? Was God’s act one of pushing back or containing a primal Chaos older and vaster than Himself? Cardin manages to turn this into a vision of terrifying, Lovecraftian nihilism. No mean feat, that.” — Darrell Schweitzer
“Cardin massages the dark and hidden, and penetrates the ancient deep to fashion unique visions of horror and deity. Each piece has its own depth and unwavering regard to the theme. The settings are universally dark, murky, and decadent, putting you in mind of Poe especially, but also some of the more depressed turn-of-the-(20th)Century writers. In each of these stories, the author personalizes the apocalyptic question of ultimate power and order. It is a fascinating approach.” — Cemetery Dance
“Matt Cardin’s stories display a thorough appreciation of what cosmic horror is all about…[H]e knows that the Bible staked out the territory long before Lovecraft came on the scene. You might even say that he saw where Lovecraft went off the tracks by dismissing the power of the pre-existing symbols. In Divinations of the Deep, he has steered the train back onto the mainline of Western religion. I don’t want to suggest that these stories are devout or uplifting, or that they follow the Christian party-line. Far from it. The reputed consolations of faith are notably absent from Matt’s bleak universe. He comes by his credentials as a horror writer honestly: not by reading Stephen King with a felt marker in hand and one eye on the cash-register, but by suffering through a dark night of the soul that very nearly undid him. He merely writes what he knows.” — Brian McNaughton
Here’s something for those of you who have read or are thinking about reading my first book, the cosmic-spiritual horror collection Divinations of the Deep (Ash-Tree Press, 2002).
Last month Des Lewis, better known to the world at large as extremely prolific and much-respected weird horror author and editor D.F. Lewis, bought a copy of the book and began posting short, impressionistic reactions to its contents at the Shocklines message boards. This led to a brief online conversation in which various friends and fellow authors chimed in with their own enthusiastic thoughts and feelings about the book.
Now Des has extracted his commentary from that message board and presented it in a bit more permanent form at one of his Websites. The upshot of his reactions appears at the end, and interfaces with his long-held fascination at the idea of “fiction as religion”: “Matt Cardin’s wonderful conceit that Religion is the deterrent for whatever that Religion worships . . . . This whole book is Fiction-as-Religion in action. It is truer than truth. imho.”
He also points out what I myself had already noticed: that major aspects of my story “If It Had Eyes” bear an almost spooky resemblance to major aspects of Stephen King’s Duma Key — and my story was published six years before that novel. (No charges of any authorial impropriety here, by the way. Just an interesting observation. I find it virtually impossible to believe that King has even heard of Divinations, let alone read it.)
So here’s a sincere thanks to Des for his perceptive and insightful reading of my work. I read everything, fiction and nonfiction alike, in exactly the same manner that’s on display in Des’s commentary: as a way to find synergistic interplays between my inner world and that of other people. How interesting to see someone else offering such a reading of my own stories.