Matt Barker is the pseudonym of Urho Abramov (b. 25. II 1979). He is an Estonian short story writer of speculative fiction.
Barker was active mostly in the late 90s and early 2000s, and has written and published over thirty short stories, including Lõbustuspark (‘Amusement Park’, 1997), Siis nad usuvad (‘Then They’ll Believe’, 1998), Kuri onu ja väike laps (‘Bad Uncle and Small Child’, 1998), and Haige Kõuts (‘A Sick Tomcat’, 1999). Additionally he has published three novels, including Haripunkt (‘Summit’, 2001), which was originally submitted to a 1998 novel competion and placed eighth, Leegitsev täiskuu (‘Flaming Full Moon’, 2001) and Waanenburgi tapatalgud (‘The Waanenburg Massacre’, 2002) as well as a short story collection, Sarah’ jalad (‘Sarah’s Legs’, 2000). His first short story Madu (‘Serpent’) was published in the literary journal Looming in 1996. His most recent published story Oaas (‘Oasis’) appeared in 2007 in the magazine Vikerkaar.
Stylistically, Barker’s stories often merge elements of both horror and science fiction in the everyday world, while avoiding common modern antagonists such as vampires and zombies. His work often focuses on the human psyche—where the enemy is not necessarily the supernatural itself, but rather the characters’ perceptions of reality. Mental illness plays a role, especially the nature of obsession.
Barker’s influences include Stephen King and the more classically known horror writers, such as Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, and H.P. Lovecraft. He has cited Gothic and Celtic mythology as thematic influences, as well as his medical background and studies at the University of Tartu. He works as a psychiatrist.
Books in Estonian
Haripunkt. Tallinn: Virgela, 2000, 282 lk.
Leegitsev täiskuu. Tallinn: Varrak, 2001, 237 lk.
Waanenburgi tapatalgud. Tartu: EYS Veljesto, 2002, 215 lk. [Romaan ning sellega põimuvad novellid ’Nohu’, ’Kiskja’ ja ’Suur rahupüha’.]
Sarah’ jalad. Tartu: EYS Veljesto, 1999, 276 lk.