Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mr. White Noise

I have a new record out, from Cadabra Records, called Mr. White Noise. Featuring stories from "Of Doomful Portent," the record's music is performed by the estimable Black Mountain Transmitter, with brand new liner notes and gloriously grotesque artwork by Aeron Alfrey.

There are, as of right now, just three copies left. Purchase yours HERE!!!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Brand new WXXT/Leeds chapbook - Pre-order now before they're gone!

Buy my new limited edition chapbook If It Bleeds, and support the Dakin Humane Society.

A toe-tapping track from way back spreads like a virus through Leeds, Massachusetts, heralding a new era of unspeakable evil. WXXT - the slithering tongue in the ear of the Pioneer Valley. Are you ready to rock?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Kickstarter: Ashes & Entropy: me, Laird Barron, John Langan, Autumn Christian, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, and more

This worthy project is nearing its deadline, and nearing its goal. You can help! One of the rewards is an ultra-rare chapbook of my story Dr. 999.

Help fund this anthology here:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

An Unsafety Guide by Scott Nicolay

Author, World Fantasy Award winner, and friend Scott Nicolay kindly agreed to write the introduction for my short collection The Stay-Awake Men & Other Unstable Entities. I couldn't be more pleased. Without further ado, then:

Bartlett and You: An Unsafety Guide
An Introduction by Scott Nicolay

 You may already know what I am going to say here, or at least you may think you do: Matthew Bartlett is one of those authors whose emergence redefines the genre. Barker, Ligotti, Barron, Llewellyn... Bartlett. And there I said it. Not that it will come as any surprise to you if you have read Gateways to Abomination and/or Creeping Waves...his importance is really a given at this point.
That’s really only a starting point though, isn’t it? It may well be the reason why you are here in the first place. You may have heard the rumors. You may think you know it already. You may even think you know what you are in for with this latest collection of his work.
But things are never what they seem chez Bartlett, are they? If you have played previously in his twisted playground (a setting he actually used in one of the most memorable stories from Gateways) you might anticipate a progression from creepy to disturbing to holy-shit-what-the-fuck, followed by a long hot shower and gargling with salt water to get the taste of pus and leeches out of your mouth (it won’t work, trust me). Critic s.j. bagley has described this payload delivery system of The Weird and its lingering effects as unsettlement...a deceptively understated term, especially in Bartlett’s case. He works like a decrepit Charon ferrying readers from the shores of the self to the unself, boatloads at a time, and for mere pennies. Each of his stories is a kind of haunted house that shunts you through multiple unexpected turns and shocks, rapidly deranging your narrative expectations doesn’t really matter because the you who entered is no longer the reader who emerges.
Just so does my friend Matthew defy expectations afresh with each new tale. The reader cannot possibly know what you did going in because you never came out. Not that such knowledge would be much help anyway. Bartlett’s narratives follow no formula, not even their own. Every story is a unique labyrinth with its own rules, or rather, his labyrinth has no rules. Its corridors and catacombs are constantly shifting, ceaselessly changing, always Bartlett, never the same. There are many points of entry. No way out.
Here the reader, searching for some fixed reference, a place to attach one end of a long skein of colored yarn, may proclaim triumphantly: “But Bartlett’s stories all do have a common thread: WXXT, the sinister and mysterious radio station operated by an ancient and even more mysterious witch cult in Leeds, Massachusetts!”
So the reader may think...but that reader is neither you nor me. And the reader who is fortunate enough to have acquired a copy of this small volume is about to discover that our protean author has, like the slime mold, shifted into a new form and slithered on to new ground during the dark intervals of our eye blinks. You can’t step into the same Bartlett twice.
Oh, he is not without form, but no one has seen his true form. Though not all Weird writers are evolving, Bartlett, like rust, plasmodia, or The Weird itself, never rests. A certain type of reader might attempt to create a visual representation of the current amorphous state of The Weird, assigning a set of variable characteristics to each author and mapping our work along multiple axes in three or more dimensions. Such a display would likely reveal an overlapping array of lumpy blobs, many clustered closely together in unwholesome familiarity, others positioned at some greater remove from the crowd. Bartlettia would be one of the latter.
A similar approach to each individual author’s corpus might produce similar results, showing nuclear cores surrounded by more elastic pseudopodia extending in new directions. Variation within many populations would inevitably stand revealed as greater than that between the populations themselves. And within that dark star map, a graphic representation of the seven tale subset that comprises The Stay-Awake Men and Other Stories would indeed portray a single cluster and that cluster would still lie within the overall Bartlettosphere. These tale all give me that Bartlett Fink Feeling, true--but they belong to a new and distinct extrusion of that system. Of course it is no secret that Bartlett is going places. He always has been. Just not the places the reader expects.
So it is with The Stay-Awake Men and Other Stories (six other stories, to be exact): WXXT remains silent here. Leeds receives mention more than once--as does its major employer, Annelid Industries International--but though these are all distinctly Bartlett stories, none of them are “Leeds stories.” The titular tale is actually set at a radio station--but not WXXT. The diffĂ©rance is quite delicious, really. Amidst the familiar flavors in this batch of stew are tantalizing hints of Barker, Ligotti, Aickman, Samuels, and Klein, stronger than they have been before, but not strong enough to do more than add spice to the stock of an author who himself seems to grow in power with every paragraph. “Spettrini” (which previously appeared as a limited edition chapbook from Dunhams Manor Press) in particular invoked not only “The Glamour,” a long-standing personal favorite among Ligotti’s tales, but also Barker’s Imajica. Perhaps that was just me, but there is no way for me to tell now.
The Stay-Awake Men shows Bartlett not simply shifting his territory, but broadening it overall, becoming a little more literary perhaps, maybe a bit more strange or uncanny, as some prefer to style it in the Other England, the “Old” one. Part of that must come from the extent that the author has distopiated these tales, distancing them from one of the most distinctive locales in contemporary fiction. While the reader was distracted, Bartlett expanded, growing not only greater, but nearer. As his tales become less local, they become more universal. Was their a vacant house down the street from you? It may have a new occupant. Don’t worry if you can’t visit: it may come to you.
Oh look, here in your hands: it has already arrived. Oh well, time for me to leave. It was nice knowing you.
Bartlett’s house has many doors. Many gateways in. No way out. Don’t worry though. I think you will like it there.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Gateways to Abomination - Limited edition blue and green covers. Available now!

Gateways to Abomination: Special new cover design and colors. New interior. $12.00 each includes shipping and handling. $21.00 inclusive for both. PayPal to matthew.mark.bartlett (at) gmail (dot) com. Where PayPal allows you to include a note, indicate whether you want the green or blue edition.
Contact me re: international shipping.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018


All donated funds go towards my paying for cover art, proof copies, formatting, etc. for my self-publishing projects. They help me keep working.

Click the link to donate:

Monday, February 19, 2018

STORY NOTES - Carnomancer, or The Meat Manager's Prerogative, from The Stay-Awake Men & Other Unstable Entities

In Vernon, Connecticut, in an L-shaped plaza set off a bit from a smaller L-shaped plaza (they formed a kind of a box around a Denny's where I spent a lot of time, mainly ordering the two-egg breakfast with fries, joking around with my brother and our friends, and bothering an older, put-upon waitress with the unlikely name of "Kitty"), there was a supermarket, like any other shopping plaza supermarket. At the front, on the right as one walked in, they had put up framed pictures of their department managers. The meat manager looked absolutely deranged, so much so that kids tried constantly to steal the framed picture. It was like a copy of the Satanic Bible at a Waldenbooks; I'm surprised they didn't put it behind the service desk for safekeeping. I don't know if the kids ever succeeded. I would pay good money to have that to hang up in my office.

Sadly, I have no memory of what the man looked like.

I'd wanted to write a story about a mysterious or deranged meat manager for a while. I knew only one thing: I wanted to steer clear of any hint of cannibalism. It seemed to me too trite a topic, at least for this particular story. People might expect it.

One day I was visiting my grandmother down in West Hartford, and I saw a street sign that said FOXCROFT. What a wonderful name. It stuck in my head (like a bone-in steak?). Later that day, I passed a truck that said LAFOGG on the side.

The title "Carnomancer" came to me out of the blue. So, between the supermarket portrait, the two names, and the title, I set out to write Carnomancer. My "research" consisted of scoping out the meat departments of various supermarkets (sticking my head over the wall, basically, and looking at the work areas), asking some questions of Facebook friends who'd worked at supermarkets, going to a local psychic, and scoping out a really terrible local Spirituality shop. The same shop, incidentally, had somehow mistakenly charged someone else's purchase to my credit card a few years back. I also looked at a ton of pictures of psychic's shops online. As one does. And I looked up meat terms.

I also used as a character - the dancing man LaFogg sees from his bedroom window - a local man I see from time to time, heavy-set, bearded. While I was in the middle of writing the story, I saw him dancing in the rain on a street corner. It was sort of beautiful in a raggedy way, and perfect for the story.

The sort-of-twist ending to the story was something I wrestled with. It felt too neat, too "clever." But I couldn't shake it. I ended up keeping it. For better or for worse.

The Stay-Awake Men & Other Unstable Entities is available here in a limited edition hardback with a cover by Dave Felton colored by Steve Santiago, and three interior illustrations by Felton. Fewer than 30 copies remain.