At long last, we’re thrilled to show you Yves Tourigny’s cover to Hymns of Abomination: Secret Songs of Leeds, our tribute anthology to Matthew M. Bartlett scheduled to release in July of this year.
For those who don’t know, Bartlett is a beloved voice in contemporary weird fiction known for his richly nightmarish tales of Leeds, a fictionalized version of a village that’s part of Northampton, MA. What began as Livejournal posts circulated among friends in the early 2000’s, Bartlett’s short, macabre, and imaginative yarns found their way into Gateways of Abomination, a collection that swept the small world of weird fiction into giddy delirium. Nathan Ballingrud aptly describes the experience of discovering Gateways in his introduction to Creeping Waves, Bartlett’s second anthology: “What I encountered was a writer in full flourish, in complete command of his art. I encountered a savage dream which moved with the lethal confidence of a great white shark. Bartlett was no dilettante; here was someone channeling a vision. The book seemed to vibrate.” There aren’t many readers in the know who would argue otherwise.
Over the years, Bartlett’s work has wound its way ever more tightly into the heart of the community, influencing a wide berth of current authors (many of whom have agreed to appear in this anthology) and surely more to come. His achievements include an entry (for his short story “Rangel”) in Year’s Best Weird Fiction vol. 3 edited by Simon Strantzas alongside weird fiction superstars like Robert Aickman, Ramsey Campbell, and Kristi Demeester. He’s even contributed to Cadabra Records’ eerie blend of spoken word and haunting soundscapes with releases like Mr. White Noise, Call Me Corey, and Ginny Greenteeth (the latter read by Laurence Harvey). The point is that Bartlett isn’t going anywhere, and that’s good news for weird fiction and horror readers. As Scott Nicolay has said, “Matthew Bartlett is one of those authors whose emergence redefines the genre. Barker, Ligotti, Barron, Llewellyn… Bartlett.” That’s quite some praise. It also happens to be the widely-held consensus regarding Bartlett’s work.
“Bartlett writes like a man in the grip of a vision,” Orrin Grey wrote. If his writing’s a vision, it’s contagious–every year lures more readers into Leed’s shadows for thrills more terrible than can easily be described. And with this tribute we joyously descend further into his nightmare. What better way to celebrate Bartlett’s legacy than to don his vision like a suit? Only we must be cautious–the suit isn’t empty.
Excited about this release? Then let us encourage you to join our Patreon: cover reveals, early, unedited versions of Hymns submissions, and more are available to patrons. We deeply appreciate your support!