Matthew M. Bartlett burst upon the scene with the publication of his story collection/fractured novel/found transcript collage Gateways to Abomination late last year. (We reviewed the title earlier this week here.) Bartlett has gone on to garner much attention and acclaim for his delirious fictions. He has also published a chapbook through Dim Shores, Rangel—sold out of both its editions (!)—and the illustrated historical textbook The Witch-Cult of Western Massachusetts. The author also has a hardcover collection, The Stay-Awake Men and Others, and an appearance in Xnoybis #1 forthcoming from Dunhams Manor Press. Bartlett sat down with the Haunted Omnibus recently to discuss scary pictures, self-publishing, and humor in Weird Fiction.
Truly, for authors who are considering their first foray into the realm of self-publishing, Matthew M. Bartlett’s Gateways to Abomination should be used as one of the prime texts in terms of both professional refinement and freedom of creative expression. There have been books issued by third-party publishers that have had more instances of typographical errors in a matter of pages than Bartlett’s work does in the whole of its volume, to say nothing of their lack of imagination. This might sound like damning with faint praise, but let me assure you it is not. Bartlett’s collection resonates with the care and enthusiasm that went into its preparation. This author respects his audience. Like a master chef, he knows that the presentation is just as important as the taste of the dish.
But, to belabor a metaphor with an idiom, the proof is in the pudding, and Bartlett demonstrates abundantly throughout his book that he is a voice worth listening to. The connective tissue of the collection is Massachusetts-based radio station 89.7 WXXT, a channel run by a witch cult of decrepit ancients who broadcast all manner of upsetting, mesmerizing, and ominous songs and monologues that enrapture and entice the listeners who happen upon it by accident or design.