Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Out of the Barrens

Robert Knowlton is a respected book collector/restorer and one of the world's leading authorities on dark literature. Tesseracts Thirteen, a new anthology of Canadian horror and dark fantasy, has recently been released by EDGE Publishing. Although the book does not include any of my stories, it does feature Mr. Knowlton's essay "Out of the Barrens: Two Centuries of Canadian Dark Fantasy & Horror," which is a fascinating and comprehensive survey.

I'm chuffed by what Robert Knowlton had to say about my work. For example:

"The promise of Richard Gavin's first collection, Charnel Wine (2000)* is more than fulfilled by his second Omens (2008)**, containing affectionate homages to Robert Aickman and Jonathan Carroll, among others, yet stepping out from the masters' shadows to cast his own, like a tenebrous star "who do ray out darkness upon the earth as the sun doth light."

"Beneath the House of Life" explores arcane Qabalah lore unknowingly embedded in a children's book which, if read aright, opens the Gates of Death to "the dreaded abyss of the false creation… where all our nightmares come from." This tale also references, more obliquely, Kenneth Grant's peculiar theories regarding the "hidden truth" of Lovecraft's visions, so we know the protagonists who descends through the gateway in the cellar will ascend much altered, and not for the better. At his best, Gavin's stylish prose and striking imagery effectively convey, in his own words, "a terrible rush of awe-tinged dread," an aspiration well met."

I can think of no higher praise than to have such a distinguished figure refer to me as "tenebrous star who do ray darkness upon the earth..."! His reference to Kenneth Grant also proves to me just how keen Mr. Knowlton's insights into dark literature truly are.

Primeval Wood is also given a very favourable mention:

"Burning Effigy, founded in 2003 by Monica Kuebler has produced a series of horror chapbooks, both prose and poetry, notably Gemma Files' fine Wendigo tale Words Written Backwards (2007) and Richard Gavin's daemonic Primeval Wood (2009)…"

In addition to this essay, Tesseracts Thirteen also features an impressive roster of authors, including Gord Rollo, Mike Kelly, and Jason Ridler.

Soo goo buy 'er and get scared, eh.

* = actual release date: 2004
** = actual release date: 2007