Bastards of the Absolute
Adam S. Cantwell
The stories in Adam Cantwell’s Bastards of the Absolute are richly imagined mysteries. They could be fairly equated with the works of Kafka or Borges if their prose were not so luxuriant and surprising at every turn. Contemplating the mood and storylines of these arresting pieces, a quote from Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym comes to mind:
“My visions were of shipwreck and famine; death or captivity among barbarian hordes; of a lifetime dragged out in sorrow and tears, upon some gray and desolate rock, in an ocean unapproachable and unknown.”
The fate of each protagonist in Cantwell’s collection delineates or fulfills Pym’s fantasy—one that is both lavish in its exoticism and unbounded in its desolation. Although these beings are entrapped in worlds that to all appearances turn upon axes of torment, they are as likely to be resigned as resistant to their cruel destinies. While readers may not chortle in experiencing these awful fantasias, they will be captivated by them.
- Thomas Ligotti
I predict that Adam S. Cantwell’s Bastards of the Absolute is destined to survive the passage of time. I predict also that the book that you, dear reader, are holding in your hands will join the ranks of the classics of strange fiction. Moreover, there are stories in this collection — stories such as ‘Face in the Wall’ and ‘Moon Paths of the Departed’ — which are masterpieces of the genre; stories that are destined to be reprinted time and again.
- George Berguño; from his introduction
Bastards of the Absolute contains eleven pieces — a mix of novellas and short stories, revised and reworked especially for this book — along with nine previously unpublished drawings by Charles Schneider and an introduction by George Berguño.
The full table of contents is as follows:
Introduction — George Berguño
The Face in the Wall
The Notched Sword
Beyond Two Rivers: A Symphonic Poem
Only For The Crossed-Out
The Curse of Desert and Flesh
Moonpaths of the Departed
The Kuutar Concerto
Symphony of Sirens
Orphans on Granite Tides
The book is a lithographically printed, 256 page sewn hardback with printed endpapers (by Eduard Wiiralt), limited to 250 copies. It ISBN 978-0-957160675. Published April 2015.
The first 150 copies sold included a postcard featuring artwork by Charles Schneider and signed by Adam Cantwell; now all sold out.