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Hymns of Abomination represents a long awaited tribute to Matthew M. Bartlett, celebrated author of Gateways to Abomination and other collections of weird, absurd, and terrifying horror. To add to the praise Bartlett receives, one of his many talents is writing in a style that is uniquely his own, but which invites the creative reader to participate in his world of Leeds and WXXT. I can speak to being inspired by Mr. Bartlett's work and playing in his conceptual playground myself.
This collection sees many contemporaries of Matthew's also swinging on the creaking sinister swingsets, sliding down slime-slickened slides, and building their own unique monstrous playthings. All are a devilish delight to read. The authors are all up to the daunting task of setting their works in and around Bartlett's world, while also retaining their own unique voices in these various hymns. It is hard to pick a favorite, as all of the entries are excellent. Fans of Bartlett's are sure to find this collection a joy, but those who are fans of the contributors, or fans of weird horror will also find much to take pleasure in. A special note and compliment must be paid to the editor, Justin Burnett, for his layout and illustrations throughout, which add another horrific and intense dimension to the patchwork ensemble. Mr. Barlett should take special pride in what his work has wrought, and I look forward to other works by him (and perhaps others in future collections) which are set in the Leeds-verse.
You’re listening to WXXT – The shadow in the valley, the killer in the alley, the grease in the pan, the disease in the man.
Specific to Amazon/KDP, NOT the book itself I unfortunately must include a critique of the KDP platform at the end, who botched the pre-order of this and ended up delaying the release of a physical copy thanks to their bungling. I am hopeful that Mr. Burnett can work with an alternative distributor for future SMM projects, and his negative experience with Amazon/KDP (as well as negative experiences of other peers) has me strongly considering going an alternate route as well.
Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2021
Hymns of Abomination: Secret Songs of Leeds is another solid anthology from Silent Motorist Media and editor Justin Burnett. As a loving tribute to the work of Matthew Bartlett, it’s outstanding. I loved every grotesque word of it.
Full disclosure: I have a short story in this anthology. Matthew Bartlett is among the greatest living writers of weird fiction. I’m not just saying that because I enjoy looking at the pictures he posts of his cats, Larry and Peachpie. Hymns of Abomination is a testament to Bartlett’s genius. It’s disturbing as hell. It’s also, in some parts, hilariously funny. Mostly it’s very, very good.