Teem member Richard Gavin has a new book coming out this summer from Theion Publishing — and it’s nonfiction. Richard, as you know, has built a major reputation in recent years as a writer of exquisite weird fiction in a darkly esoteric and philosophical vein, and this book promises to be a kind of nonfiction distillation and amplification of the concepts and viewpoints that animate his stories. Here’s the scoop from the publisher:
Twisting beyond the placid boundaries of civilization is an ancient path. Its stalkers do not march the linear road of human progress but instead orient their souls to the luminous, haunted darkness of the Night Primeval. Many have glimpsed this realm, when sleep has delivered them onto the back of the charging Night-Mare, and recollections of these brief visitations survive in countless tales of terror and in the folklore of locales rumoured to be fey or cursed. Rare, however, is the individual who willingly pays the tariff and passes irretrievably through that twilight of existence in order to become Benighted.
Drawing upon the shadow aspects of a variety of traditions, including the khabit of Ancient Egypt, the Biocentrism of Ludwig Klages, Aghora, the Gothic, and David Beth’s pan-daemonic Kosmic Gnosis, all distilled through the author’s praxis, The Benighted Path explores the breach through which the egoic self is slain in order to unleash the aspirant’s true Monstrous Soul. Only then may the Benighted offer their adoration to the Gorgon and partake of the Sidereal Feast.
While waiting for the book’s release, you could do worse than to read the entries in Richard’s column “Echoes from Hades” here at The Teeming Brain:
- “Deep Shadows and Numinous Horror“
- “To Suffer This World or Illuminate Another? On the Meanings and Uses of Horror“
- “In Praise of Horror that Horrifies” (the most popular and widely linked of these essays)
- “Art, Mystery, and Magic: A Fireside Chat with Don Webb“
- “Coins for the Ferryman: Horror as the Key to Our Dark Inner Depths“
- “Womb of the Black Goddess: Horror as Dark Transcendence“
Image: One of Doré’s illustrations from Dante’s Inferno. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
We’re very pleased to see that At Fear’s Altar, the numinous horror collection by our own Richard Gavin, has received an excellent review from Publishers Weekly. A couple of months ago we passed along some strong praise from other reviewers. Now PW has this to say about the book:
Literate horror fans who have yet to encounter Canadian author Gavin (Charnel Wine) are in for a treat in this collection of 13 stories that evoke familiar genre themes in creative ways. The lyrical prose is often at a higher level than usual presentations of otherworldly demons and malevolent forces (fireworks are “tadpoles of sulphurous light squiggling down and dissolving just above the black lake water”). Gavin has a knack for original plotlines.
— “At Fear’s Altar by Richard Gavin,” Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2013
The remainder of the review singles out several stories for specific mention.
So, in short, fans of literate horror with a deep heart of philosophical and spiritual darkness should take note. And don’t forget that Richard himself offers a suggested reading list of classic high-quality horror stories that actually horrify in his latest column.
Teeming Brain columnist Richard Gavin (Echoes from Hades) recently received two excellent reviews for his new book At Fear’s Altar (Hippocampus Press, 2012).
At Speculative Fiction Junkie, reviewer Ben writes,
At Fear’s Altar is an impressive collection, as impressive as what I’ve come to expect from Mr. Gavin. While it does not contain as many of my all time favorite stories as his last collection, it does contain some truly world class tales. Mr. Gavin’s gift is not just that he writes excellent cosmic horror (which he assuredly does). It’s also that while remaining completely true to cosmic horror’s signature focus on the indifference of the vast cosmos towards humanity, his starting point is often a place of sympathy for the plight of his human protagonists and their myths. This makes it all the more terrifying when the cosmic forces he writes about inevitably vanquish these ill-fated individuals.
At Rising Shadow, reviewer Seregil of Rhiminee writes (in prose inflected with many oddly lyrical second language-isms),
Canadian author Richard Gavin has established himself as a leading contemporary writer of weird fiction. His richly nuanced prose style, his imaginative range, and his shrewdness in the portrayal of character and domestic conflict make his tales far more than mere shudder-coining. In this fourth collection of short stories and novelettes, Gavin again casts a wide imaginative net, from haunted Canadian woodlands to the carnivorous mesas of the American frontier, from Lovecraft’s New England to the spirit traditions of Japan. Of the dozen stories included in this book, eight are previously unpublished — a rich new feast of terror for devotees of a writer who works in the tradition of Poe, Machen, Blackwood, and Ligotti … [The book] is an excellent collection of horror and dark fantasy stories. It’s a brilliantly wonderful and disturbing collection for horror readers who want to read quality.
My friend Richard Gavin, the talented author of Omens (which I praised in a review for Dead Reckonings) and The Darkly Splendid Realm (which is drawing praise from all quarters), has written an enthusuastic review of my Dark Awakenings.
A couple of pertinent excerpts:
To be genuinely inspired by a work of Horror is a fairly rare occurrence for me. Rarer still is my being left awe-struck after discovering a book with which I resonated so deeply that I felt an instant kinship with its author. Such a delightful reaction has happened only a handful of times in my life: when I first discovered H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti, when I read the first book-length collections by Simon Strantzas and Mark Samuels, and now with Dark Awakenings, the latest book by Matt Cardin.
. . . . [P]erhaps 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.
The part about the felt sense of kinship is the most gratifying. As any creative writer or artist can tell you, that’s the holy grail of the entire artistic enterprise: making contact with somebody whose inner world vibrates with your own. Thanks, Richard.