The image above is a mockup of the front and back cover of the forthcoming Dead Air, a remix (if you will) of Bartlett’s now out-of-print first collection. This edition will feature the unpublished material of Dead Air, certain pieces that appeared in Gateways to Abomination and Creeping Waves, and entirely new material. The cover art is by Brendan O’Connell, the cover design is by Sam Cowan, the foreword to the book is by Tom Breen, the interior illustrations are by Yves Tourigny, and the book is by Matthew M. Bartlett.
Bartlett describes the book as his “B-sides collection” on his blog, and further notes:
The stories in this book were written between 2004 and 2009, approximately. Some of the poems were written as early as 1990, slightly modified in 2016. I started writing the stories on my Livejournal page in 2004. Some of them have since been modified or blown apart, and have appeared in similar or very different contexts in my books Gateways to Abomination and Creeping Waves. My vision for what Leeds is has changed since these early years, so some of what you see here is not really part of the whole Leeds/WXXT mythos (if you will), not anymore.
[editor’s note: if one is looking for an example, Ben Stockton in Dead Air is more or less human, while we all know he’s much, much more than that.]
I include it for the interest of those who might want to know how I fumbled around the ideas and concepts when I began. I hope you find it to be of some value. Thank you for reading. There is a lot more for me to tell. I hope you’ll stick with me on this bloody and disquieting journey.
There are many more broadcasts to come.
The table of contents run thus: “Introduction”; “‘Black Magic, He Told Me’: 13 Ways to Begin an Essay About WXXT, the Last Radio Station on Earth” (by Tom Breen); “The Last Outpost”; “Stephen and Mary Part 1”; “I was Acquitted of Killing My First Wife in 1936”; “My Mother, Lucille Axton”; “More About WXXT”; “I was a Scrapper”; “Knives”; “The Many Studios, Part 6”; “(Photograph Missing)”; “The Broadcasts. Transmission 99.”; “Intolerance, or FCC Commissioners I Have Known”; “Evil is Unspectacular and Always Human and Shares Our Bed and Eats at Our Table”; “In Our Effort to Become a Viable Presence in the Pioneer Valley”; “Everybody Knows He was Good at the Beginning but He Just Went too Far”; “The Gaps Between the Bars are the Sutures of One’s Own Skull”; “WXXT’s Community Outreach Program”; “What Tom Brought to Show and Tell”; “Interstates”; “As Time is Endlessly Shoveled on My Grave From Somewhere Miles Above Me”; “We Dearly Need Your Assistance”; “My Brother Earl”; “Apple Pie, Part 1”; “Our New Home”; “FCC Chairman Mangrove O’Hare Got Off Easy”; “Uncle Rottfield’s Black Gloves”; “something large and grey”; “Succubus, by James Pemhigus Morphew”; “The Ballad of Donald Belson Skratte”; “The Disquieting Legend of Johnnypants Wolfgang Gorsted”; “Some Nights It’s Bloodlust”; “please stand by”; “These are the People in Your Neighborhood”; “The Mighty Walk on Fields Stained with Dashed Brains”; “Sithyl”; “Uncle Diggle Reads To-Day’s News” – hmph!; “Dearest Michelle”; “On a Crisp October Day”; “Dead Man in My Bed: Stephen and Mary Part 2”; “My Halloween in 2oo5”; “WXXT Gossip”; “Soup in Winter”; “Tugging on Your Seaweed Sleeves”; “WXXT Are Environmentalists”; “Goodnight Nurse”; “Postscript”; and the above note “A Word”.
Here’s a finished Yves Tourigny illustration for “WXXT Are Environmentalists”.