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When Creeping Waves came out, I noticed two things it is a substantially longer collection than Bartlett s debut, Gateways to Abomination, and the New England town of Leeds, with its evil radio station WXXT and black magic occult were once again the focus I wondered if there was still enough of Leeds to explore in a whole new book About 20 pages in, I decided that, yes, indeed there was Creeping Waves is as disturbing, darkly humorous, and under your skin getting as its predecessor And it s When Creeping Waves came out, I noticed two things it is a substantially longer collection than Bartlett s debut, Gateways to Abomination, and the New England town of Leeds, with its evil radio station WXXT and black magic occult were once again the focus I wondered if there was still enough of Leeds to explore in a whole new book About 20 pages in, I decided that, yes, indeed there was Creeping Waves is as disturbing, darkly humorous, and under your skin getting as its predecessor And it s still as unique and unlike most other stuff being published as ever.There are differences Bartlett uses a wider range at times, as seen in Rangel, one of a handful of stories that are much longer and explore an emotional arc with a poignant grace that s touching amidst all the blackened satanic dread Another longer story is cleverly cut up and interspersed throughout the book, in which a former cult leader enlists help in ridding Leeds of a vast evil I found myself looking forward to the next mini episode of this story as I continued through the book Taken with the impressive number of extremely entertaining vignettes in this book, there s still that Gateways flavor of madness But Bartlett showsof his skills here, and further earns his status as an inventive, clever, and very talented writer who always has something up his sleeve that s worth keeping tabs on I m already looking forward to [[ Kindle ]] ⇲ Creeping Waves ⇱ Where is the real Leeds How does one get there Is it floating on the air words and music you can almost reach out and grab like wriggling worms of sound and ether Is it in the carnival that seethes under the corrupted church, drawing the lost along shadowy corridors and through the strangely angled Funhouse doors to the place where the city fathers perform secret rites with the goat headed masters of the dark Do you seek the Real Leeds Venture out to a secluded spot, turn on your radio, and spin that dial down to the murky low numbers, somewhere just aroundThat music, that voice calling on the edge of static and distortion it might lead you to that blasted and damned path toward the Real and Truest heart of Leeds, Massachusetts This is WXXT It s the witching hour, when shadows take wing and nightmares stalk Turn your radio up Point your antennas to the infinite sky And stay tuned for Weather on the Sixes WXXT The bubbling blisters on the tongue of the Pioneer Valley Frostfire (Kyndred, drawing the lost along shadowy corridors and through the strangely angled Funhouse doors to the place where the city fathers perform secret rites with the goat headed masters of the dark Do you seek the Real Leeds Venture out to a secluded spot Stepping Over the Line (Shamed turn on your radio Ray & Joan and spin that dial down to the murky low numbers Ollie & Moon somewhere just aroundThat music Riveted (Iron Seas, that voice calling on the edge of static and distortion it might lead you to that blasted and damned path toward the Real and Truest heart of Leeds The Baby Twins Massachusetts This is WXXT It s the witching hour Nothing Left to Burn when shadows take wing and nightmares stalk Turn your radio up Point your antennas to the infinite sky And stay tuned for Weather on the Sixes WXXT The bubbling blisters on the tongue of the Pioneer Valley It is a rare treat indeed when a book comes along that manages to not only live up to the hype, but also still take me by surprise in a dark alley Yet that s exactly what Matthew M Bartlett s Creeping Waves does Weird so weird that it rubs its hunched shoulders up against Bizarro fiction, while still maintaining a constant tone of writhing horror, Creeping Waves spits occult blasphemies like a curb stomped man spits blood Less a short story collection than a grotesque, frenzied fever dream o It is a rare treat indeed when a book comes along that manages to not only live up to the hype, but also still take me by surprise in a dark alley Yet that s exactly what Matthew M Bartlett s Creeping Waves does Weird so weird that it rubs its hunched shoulders up against Bizarro fiction, while still maintaining a constant tone of writhing horror, Creeping Waves spits occult blasphemies like a curb stomped man spits blood Less a short story collection than a grotesque, frenzied fever dream of a mosaic novel, filled to the bloody brim with carnality and the charnel house Bartlett writes like a man in the grip of a vision, when he writes like a man at all, and not just a pile of worms in a man shaped suit So spin your dial all the way down to the left, and settle in for Creeping Waves You re listening to WXXT, the razor blade in the apple of the Pioneer Valley This was ok Just ok The preceding book, Gateways to Abomination, was a home run that was delicious in its portrayal of cosmic evil In this book, the author seemed wayinterested in funny horror so it s muchWelcome to Night Vale than Lovecraft Talk amongst yourselves I ll give you a topic comic horror is neither comical nor horrifying Discuss Some of the stories were ok, but the shocking imagery became extremely repetitive after awhile Couple that with the fact that nearly e This was ok Just ok The preceding book, Gateways to Abomination, was a home run that was delicious in its portrayal of cosmic evil In this book, the author seemed wayinterested in funny horror so it s muchWelcome to Night Vale than Lovecraft Talk amongst yourselves I ll give you a topic comic horror is neither comical nor horrifying Discuss Some of the stories were ok, but the shocking imagery became extremely repetitive after awhile Couple that with the fact that nearly every story ended with some open ended variant of, Then I saw something bewildering and scary It opened its mouth and began to speak, and you have a sequel that does not live up to the promise of its predecessor Doubtful I ll read this again or any subsequent books in this series, for that matter Disappointing I wish I had my 3.99 back Well hell Matthew M Bartlett went and managed to top Gateways to Abomination Collected Short Fiction, my favorite book of 2014 I liked it so much that I published a limited edition chapbook from Bartlett in 2015 Rangel sold out quickly, and the story was selected for inclusion in Year s Best Weird Fiction Vol 3 Rangel is also reprinted in Creeping Waves, and I m very pleasedpeople will get to read and be creeped out by it Creeping Waves has many of the 1 3 page vignettes that made Well hell Matthew M Bartlett went and managed to top Gateways to Abomination Collected Short Fiction, my favorite book of 2014 I liked it so much that I published a limited edition chapbook from Bartlett in 2015 Rangel sold out quickly, and the story was selected for inclusion in Year s Best Weird Fiction Vol 3 Rangel is also reprinted in Creeping Waves, and I m very pleasedpeople will get to read and be creeped out by it Creeping Waves has many of the 1 3 page vignettes that made Gateways to Abomination so surreal and affecting, and it also has some longer stories I was going to say meatier stories but felt a little sick when that phrase came to mind in connection with this book Trust me, you ll see The longer stories are just as squirmy and creepy as the vignettes Time periods and characters shift and intertwine, with a cohesive narrative developing as it goes Taken together, it all fills in some of the sinister past and present of devil haunted Leeds, MA and its unnervingly horrid radio station WXXT Everything builds up to a trip to Real Leeds, and oh the sights you will see there Bartlett s style is a unique blend, at times almost darkly whimsical while still making your skin crawl and your guts churn He has a gift for descriptive prose that is on par with Thomas Ligotti in being beautiful and repulsive and absolutely enthralling all at once, and Creeping Waves is an exemplar of that particular emotional space Witch cults, body horror, bizarre history, desecrations, goats, doom if these words catch your interest, read this book NOW I fell on this collection of short stories after reading Gateways to Abomination This is the equivalent, to me, of punk in horror, and a middle finger, in the most respectful sense, raised to, well almost everything I admire the energy and the absence of a safety catch I thinkof George Battaille and William Burroughs than I do of most horror writers that I have read, though with a dusting of Ligotti and Samuels Funny and ghastly by turns Not weird for the sake of it, but compuls I fell on this collection of short stories after reading Gateways to Abomination This is the equivalent, to me, of punk in horror, and a middle finger, in the most respectful sense, raised to, well almost everything I admire the energy and the absence of a safety catch I thinkof George Battaille and William Burroughs than I do of most horror writers that I have read, though with a dusting of Ligotti and Samuels Funny and ghastly by turns Not weird for the sake of it, but compulsively grotesque because of something that matters to the writer where the good stuff comes from Reading this second collection novel from Mr Bartlett feels a lot like watching one of that old kaiju japanese things rising from the bottom of the ocean, the rise of a true master of horror and rather from the back of his Massachussets forest than from any abyss.In its wake, that Bartlett beast loses everything that weights contemporary horror fiction, useless trinkets like plot twists and the construction and development of likable characters, retaining machine gun fire characterization a Reading this second collection novel from Mr Bartlett feels a lot like watching one of that old kaiju japanese things rising from the bottom of the ocean, the rise of a true master of horror and rather from the back of his Massachussets forest than from any abyss.In its wake, that Bartlett beast loses everything that weights contemporary horror fiction, useless trinkets like plot twists and the construction and development of likable characters, retaining machine gun fire characterization and a taste for the grotesque rivalled only by Books of Blood s Clive Barker.I have seen the future of horror and it reads like the violent fantasies of a deranged five year old, like creepypasta written by Thomas Ligotti, like fucking hell Originally appeared on my website, the Conqueror Weird Gateways to Abomination floored me, but Creeping Waves WOW I knew it was going to be good, but I never expected something like this.First, you ve got that Nick Gucker cover Nick Gucker Illustrator of gross and drippy phenomena He doesn t disappoint here Look at all of the disgusting, Bartlettian phenomena a ossuary WXXT booth, dancing embryos playing with a hanged man this one is out of view, as its cut off by the spine , a man wr Originally appeared on my website, the Conqueror Weird Gateways to Abomination floored me, but Creeping Waves WOW I knew it was going to be good, but I never expected something like this.First, you ve got that Nick Gucker cover Nick Gucker Illustrator of gross and drippy phenomena He doesn t disappoint here Look at all of the disgusting, Bartlettian phenomena a ossuary WXXT booth, dancing embryos playing with a hanged man this one is out of view, as its cut off by the spine , a man wrangling worms, a black Satanic snake, Ben Stockton beckoning a child whose mouth is crammed with tiny teeth all under the landscape of a distorted fair, clownish monoliths rearing up to the sky Holy hell.Nathan Ballingrud provides a beautiful introduction, describing how Bartlett burst onto the scene and how he s back with a vengeance in Creeping Waves But, as wonderful as it is, it doesn t even begin to cover the contents.The book opens with an eerie prologue narrated by Ben Stockton, reminiscing on the genesis of WXXT and covering some ground for those who haven t read Gateways to Abomination It is followed by Spring Thaw , a short, creepy piece that hints at the horror to come But the real fun begins with Rampage It s a dark story A really, really dark story one that seems to take some concepts from path a story in Gateways and warps them into a muchmorbid idea After Rampage , you re doomed.The book is muchintertwined than Gateways The whole WXXT gang is back, and the FCC is still after them What silly shenanigans will they get up to this time Thematic elements from Spring Thaw are woven through the contents A certain narrative one about a faded cult leader named Vernon Golden is serialized throughout the book, along with Anne Gare s Rare Book and Ephemera Catalogue There are sequels, prequels, references and opening chapters Old ideas are elaborated upon, and new ideas rise along with them.The book is considerably longer than Gateways, so I ll focus on thetraditional narratives, the first of which is Master of Worms A dark story about a twisted family patriarch, Bartlett starts off restrained before delving into unbridled surrealism The opening scene is one of the most shocking things I have ever read.Next up is Night Dog Wow This has to be one of the scariest stories in the book A man named Wendell, working at the ominous Annelid Industries International, has his world turned upside down no has his world pur ed in a goddamn blender by a strange man who proclaims horrifying revelations as the company meeting approaches There were times during this story when I was thinking No, no, NO as things went from bad to worse to hopeless Probably my favorite of the longer narratives.Then Rangel , the next longer narrative, comes along I think it s safe to assume that this is Bartlett s most successful story it s in the contents of the Year s Best Weird Fiction Volume Three ed Simon Strantzas, series ed Michael Kelly and was considered by Ellen Datlow for her latest volume of the Best Horror of the Year Not only that originally published as a chapbook by Dim Shores with creepy illustrations by Aeron Alfrey , it sold out of not one but two limited editions Reading it, one can certainly see why I m not going to talk too much about the plot, but instead I ll just say this Halloween parade in Leeds Something to see This was my introduction to Bartlett, and look where I am now reviewing all of his work The Egg is a deliciously nasty tale, probably one of Bartlett s most brutal compositions to date A family is raising chickens they wanted pets, and chickens were just the best fit for them and decides to leave the radio on for their comfort Life lesson chickens WXXT bad news My description makes it sound almost comical, but trust me, The Egg is anything but and it features one of the cruelest endings in literature Little Leeds isn t that long, but I wanted to pause on it because well, you ll see Bartlett has a story coming out soon that ties very smoothly into this, and well, I don t want to spoil the fun A rebellious girl joins a group of teens in the woods Needless to say, things get very strange very fast The Purging of My Uncle s House The Time of the Black Tents is a continuation of the sons of ben from Gateways to Abomination This tells of a grim family reunion in an old, secluded house, while some sort of dark ritual takes place outside in the woods Dripping with mystery and terror, this is a highlight story in the book and it also brings upquestions about the Real Leeds , a ominous location referred to throughout the book.The exploits of Vernon Golden creep through the book A bygone leader of a forgotten cult, he contacts the son of a couple who once were amongst his followers, telling him that he needs help fighting the devil in Massachusetts Of course, nothing is quite as it seems, and the plot takes frantic twists and turns in a delightfully dark form.The real climax to the book is Baal Protects the King parts one and two I honestly cannot bring myself to describe this story, and, to be honest, I don t know if I even really could It s a onyx goblet brimming with blood, a raging hurricane of nightmarish imagery and haunting ideas Its intensely disturbing scenery will stay with you for days after you read it.Creeping Waves is, as of this date, Bartlett s masterpiece It s it s it s the best thing ever It s the most distressing reading experience I ve ever had It s dark, it s devilish, and it s disturbing.I really can t describe it better than that Bartlett s short collection Gateways to Abomination offered tantalizing, sanguinary glimpses of Leeds, Massachusetts, under the diabolical sway of flagitious radio broadcasts from WXXT I devoured Gateways in a single sitting, marveling at Bartlett s supple, vivid prose In thrall, but my bloodthirst unslaked, I desperately wanted to knowof Leeds, its denizens, and its occulted history Creeping Waves delivers on the promise of Gateways in fact, it exceeded my expectations and rais Bartlett s short collection Gateways to Abomination offered tantalizing, sanguinary glimpses of Leeds, Massachusetts, under the diabolical sway of flagitious radio broadcasts from WXXT I devoured Gateways in a single sitting, marveling at Bartlett s supple, vivid prose In thrall, but my bloodthirst unslaked, I desperately wanted to knowof Leeds, its denizens, and its occulted history Creeping Waves delivers on the promise of Gateways in fact, it exceeded my expectations and raised the bar for the entire genre Bartlett here expands and deepens his vision of Leeds a kaleidoscopic paroxysm of tales and anecdotes and gory bits of Leeds lore, gradually resolving, but not quite snapping into focus It s clear that there is much, muchof Leeds to explore and, once again, I am left yearning to return Bartlett s readers are in the hands of a true master of his craft He s working real magic here I ve read this book before, in fact it s among my favourites and when I saw that this was available on audible I snapped it up straight away This works just as well as an audio book as it does written, the narrator Dexter Harron does a brilliant job with a multitude of voices and a compelling style The writing itself is simply amazing, Bartlett s Leeds is a place of depravity and horrors and the various short stories, flash fiction, vignettes and transcripts come together to form something tru I ve read this book before, in fact it s among my favourites and when I saw that this was available on audible I snapped it up straight away This works just as well as an audio book as it does written, the narrator Dexter Harron does a brilliant job with a multitude of voices and a compelling style The writing itself is simply amazing, Bartlett s Leeds is a place of depravity and horrors and the various short stories, flash fiction, vignettes and transcripts come together to form something truly unique The book is a surreal nightmare with some beautifully hideous imagery and masterful prose, I give this book my highest recommendation