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To Rouse Leviathan

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Since the turn of the twenty-first century, Matt Cardin has distinguished himself by writing weird fiction with a distinctively cosmic and spiritual focus. Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti, Cardin explores the convergence of religion, horror, and art in a cosmos that may be actively hostile to our species. In this substantial volume, Cardin gathers the totali ...more
Kindle Edition, 315 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Hippocampus Press
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Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1996, a remarkable omnibus was published by Caroll & Graf: The Nightmare Factory, by horror author Thomas Ligotti. It contained three volumes of Ligotti’s work to date plus an additional volume featuring revelatory, new stories that had never been collected. The book, long out of print, remains a gem of horror fiction that few others can rival.

Now, in the late Summer of 2019, at least one omnibus is worthy to sit on the shelf next to Ligotti’s tome: To Rouse Leviathan, by another remarkable,
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been many a moon, over a lustrum in fact, since I have last read a collection of Matt Cardin fiction (the first one I read, DARK AWAKENINGS, was back in 2010, while in 2013 I read DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP), so it was a pleasure to read this new omnibus and revisit many of those prior tales, though the final four that make up the "Apocryphon" portion of the present collection were all new to me. Before I say anything further I just want to say that, in a genre where one can easily think of ...more
May 14, 2020 rated it liked it
These are deeply philosophical stories of a cosmic bent, but Cardin brings along a uniquely theological angle. These stories point to interpretations of religion not as a soothing fantasy as it's typically seen as in cosmic horror, but as something that has been misinterpreted, which in fact can reveal dark truths about our place in the universe and the malevolent God that rules it, if we dare to look.

I was underwhelmed by this collection and expecting better. There's little middle ground for me
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's an overwhelming book- an elegant and profound hybrid of theology, ontology, religion and mythology; all of these elements condensed to produce one of the best outcomes in weird fiction and horror, unique in every way.

Cover of To Rouse Leviathan

I believe it covers the entirety of the author's work, spanning more than a decade. Some pieces have been significantly revised and polished for this very collection. Isn't that juicy?!

First let me start by saying this that Matt Cardin is one of those current and active authors
Vicente Ribes
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantástica colección de relatos. Matt Cardin se erige como un digno sucesor de Ligotti y Lovecraft en esta antología. Sus influencias son palpables pero Cardin añade su propio estilo mezclando la religión, la paranoia y el terror en una colección de relatos imprescindible.
El nivel de casi todos los cuentos y pequeñas novelas de este libro es muy alto pero destacaría los siguientes:

“The Basement Theater”: Donde un hombre visita frequentemente el sótano de un teatro sin saber el motivo que le llev
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic collection of short fiction spanning more than a decade of Cardin's writing career. He manages to center most stories around an unsettling nexus of conventional religion, cosmic horror, and deep, troubling nihilism in the vein of Ligotti. There are enough variations on the theme that the collection stays fresh and profoundly on point throughout, frequently leaving the reader with a disorienting sense of mounting dread.

Really solid work and a strong balance of some weighty philosophi
Claire Carton
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Worth buying

Well, this author really really doesn’t like Ain Sof, that’s for sure!

At least that’s how it seems... at first. There are an awful lot of stories in this volume, of middling to nearly-great quality, and they seem to be arranged in a way that unfolds or reveals the author’s increasingly subtler understanding of the universe and our being within it, over the course of the stories. So while the first narrator seems unbearably naive, and the story told us similarly... unsophisticated? t
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a strong theological bend to this collection, often setting Christian dogma adjacent to Nyarlathotep and Shub Niggurath in cosmic indifference. “The New Pauline Corpus” is more than just a blasphemous treatise, but hints at a shattered world around the edges of our unreliable narrator. “The God of Foulness” is a gripping novella that explores and inhabits a nihilist cult. The craftsmanship here is deft as the author bringing us in as a curious outsider, but infects us and then tensely, ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is an outstanding collection of short stories based around the eternal nothingness that presses upon existence and the insignificance of our hollow lives... It sounds bleak because it is, so beautifully bleak.

Matt's writing is truly masterful; each word has a reason to be there and has had a wealth of thought put into it. The mix of spirituality and cosmic fiction works together perfectly, to the point that the book starts to feel like a secret truth behind the universe and that this is its
Rab Araujo
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Le doy un 4.8

Esta compilación de historias es terrible y agresiva con un muy profundo horror cósmico. Creo que a pesar de los tiempos tan "liberales"en los que vivimos, escribir este tipo de horror, uno tan religioso y trasgresor debe ser complicado. El resultado, sin embargo, es una verdadera delicia.

Es curioso por que sólo en un par de relatos sentí que no tenía fuerza ni logró captar tanto mi interés. Pero un aspecto que le aplaudo es la manera en que termina cada relato. No es solamente el f
Carson Winter
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Thomas Ligotti has become a titan of the genre due to his unique vision and stylistic adeptness. Much is made of his pessimism, but I believe that it's only one piece of the puzzle. Yes, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race lays out a wicked tract against life itself, but what is alluring to me is not what it says about the world, but what it says about its author. Since his inception into the horror mainstream, many have come around to his outlook—imbuing their works with corporate horror, aca ...more
Alex Khlopenko
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no words at this moment. Give me a moment.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Βιβλιοέναυσμα #38: To Rouse Leviathan (διαβάστε ολόκληρο το άρθρο και στο ιστολόγιό μου Κοιλάδα της Γνώσης:

Να πάρει, οι συλλογές διηγημάτων τρόμου είναι λίγες. Και οι καλές, ακόμα λιγότερες. Αυτό όμως δεν με εμπόδισε από το να οργώσω τον ιστοχώρο τού BookDepository και να ανακαλύψω μερικά διαμαντάκια – φευ, μόνο εις την αγγλικήν. Ένα από αυτά είναι η συλλογή ιστοριών κοσμικού-βιβλικού τρόμου To Rouse Leviathan (Hippocampus Press, 2019, 374 σελ.) τού αγνώ
Michael Hicks
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bought, horror
Matt Cardin delivers a thick and consistently interesting collection of cosmic horror short stories in his collection, To Rouse Leviathan. Over the course of sixteen tales, he tackles the challenges Christianity poses to abyssal horror, and vice versa, infusing his explorations of Lovecraftian weirdness with decidedly religious and philosophical undertones that really help to elevate and separate his own particular brand of the strange and peculiar.

In case you didn't glom onto it already, To Rou
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
(three stars)

I personally find Cardin's cosmic horror to lack the innately haunted sense of life that so vitally characterized the works of his most relevant predecessors in this subgenre. And his much-discussed erudition doesn't compensate for this lack. After all, the metaphysical grounding of his oeuvre derives from the well-known temporal ambiguity suggested in the first chapter of Genesis: the "dark and formless void" which might have preceded the Creator itself. Many of his stories are jus
Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Perhaps I've OD'd on horror recently but this, no matter how well written, is just unbelievably one note. And also not really scary.

Lots of "struggling with faith in the face of the eternal void" not much "actual things happening". I know what my preference is!
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A tentative 2.5 stars; I'll need to come back to some of these stories later on. I had trouble with Cardin's prose style, but enjoyed some of his plots. I felt like I was missing something as I read, and I want to give this book a fair shake since I've heard so many good things about it. I unfairly rounded down on the stars because my gut instinct says the book is okay and I'm not so sure I liked it. ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-books
I tried reading one story a day out of this one but soon found myself squeezing in one or two more stories just because I loved what I was finding. It's like if Ligotti zeroed in on religion and pulled out all the darker stuff hidden in between the lines. Cardin explores the time before god was created and what happens when that thing wants to come back. His characters eyes are opened and tormented by what they see. His prose is written in such a way that they flow from the page into your mind, ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”What has Jerusalem to do with R’lyeh?

Matt Cardin has some interesting ideas about it in this solid anthology from Hippocampus Press, collecting stories published here and there in the last 20 years. Horror at its most ontological.
I absolutely love Matt Cardin’s theological approach to cosmic horror. It’s unique, deliciously blasphemous, and frightening (even if you’re a non-believer as it suggests that there’s something way more sinister behind all those stories in the Old Testament). There’s a sophisticated subtlety to the deconstruction of Christian beliefs, rather than an attempt at cheap devilish shock value. The stories are philosophically rich and very thought-provoking. A few I’d even call mind-blowing (“I ...more
Claus Appel
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished Matt Cardin's collection _To Rouse Leviathan_ last night, and it was awesome. It's a collection of cosmic horror stories that explore variations on the premise of: "What if the true nature of the world is horrific, and spiritual enlightenment leads to nightmarish disaster?"

One story is set in the Cthulhu Mythos, but most of them are more in the vein of Thomas Ligotti than Lovecraft. Cardin appears to have a degree in religious studies, and his knowledge of the subject matter makes his
Chris Noble
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was around the fourth story that I realized I had been reading the same story over and over again, with diminishing returns. It was when I finished the agonizingly pretentious story of poor Marco’s cosmic nightmare mandala when I finally went mad— not from the revelation, but from the desperate need for clear prose and three-dimensional characters. It may have been the description of Lovecraft— a man so racist that other racists thought he should maybe ease off a little— as some kind and gent ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great exercises in the genre. I read Cardin's journal, "Vastarien" and think he is a neat fellow.

A personal caveat: Due to certain things that are expected in "weird fiction", there tends to be a bit of thematic repetition which does not invite reading these stories sequentially. I would recommend reading this collection around other works as a palate cleanser.*

*This is my usual approach to short story collections, but sometimes I enjoy them so much I overindulge, thus lessening a story's indivi
Alexander Rose
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding and disturbing. Really engaging premise of Biblical horror.
Jack Caldwell
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
the real question: did it actually rouse leviathan? I'm open to others' thoughts, but i don't believe leviathan was fully roused ...more
Michael Miller
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My review will be published in next edition of Dead Reckonings from Hippocampus Press (summer 2020).
Roland Maxwell
Absolut fantastische Kurzgeschichtensammlung von Matt Cardin. Wenn ihr schon immer mal eine Antwort auf die Frage "Was hat Jesus mit Cthulhu zu tun" haben wolltet, solltet ihr unbedingt dieses Buch lesen. Was ist denn bitteschön mehr Cosmic Horror als Gott und seine Heerscharen von Engeln? ...more
Aaron Lafond
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cosmic-horror
Fantastic. Religious horror of the finest degree. I'll be following Cardin very closely. ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

I see a lot of descriptions referring to this as theological cosmic horror and in a certain sense that is true. But it seems to me even more in line with tantric horror. Not in the hippy-invented-western way, but in the true sense of meditating on the outre and transgressive in order to experience reality. Very much in the school of a Shaivite, Vajrayana, or gnostic monastic order who took Ligotti as their inspirational profit.

These stories come from across the author's timescale and have w
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Matt Cardin is a writer and editor living in North Texas. With a Ph.D. in leadership and a master's degree in religious studies, he writes frequently about the intersection of religion, horror, creativity, and the supernatural.

He is the author of the weird and cosmic horror fiction collections To Rouse Leviathan (2019), Dark Awakenings (2010), and Divinations of the Deep (2002), as well as the fre

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“ITS ANNIHILATING HOLINESS: In the Hebrew Scriptures, in the desert, under the merciless sun, the Israelites witness repeated outbreaks of Yahweh, Who “is a consuming fire,” an untamable force, a burning pestilence, a plague of serpents. And so is He revealed not just as the Holy Other but as Wholly Other, possessed of a cosmically singular sui generis nature that cannot and will not abide contradiction. In the words of Luther himself, if you sin “then He will devour thee up, for God is a fire that consumeth, devoureth, rageth; verily He is your undoing, as fire consumeth a house and maketh it dust and ashes.” As Otto wrote with such frightening clarity of apprehension, there is something baffling in the way His wrath is kindled and manifested, for it is “like a hidden force of nature, like stored-up electricity, discharging itself upon anyone who comes too near. It is incalculable and arbitrary.” To see His luminance shining from the face of Moses is a horror. To see His face is to die.” 1 likes
“Since the deep existed with God from the beginning, is it not possible to conjecture that it is at least as powerful as he?” 0 likes
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