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Old 12-27-2016   #11
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Re: Secret Hours

I've read a couple of Cisco short stories in anthologies (namely Dadaoism and Grimscribe Puppets) and I really liked those, but I remember reading some review that claimed Secret Hours wasn't that good, and somehow that idea stuck to my head and I never got the book. This thread is making me rethink it entirely and am considering ordering the paperback. But apparently the edition published in a boxset by Centipede Press had more stories? Any idea what those are and if they've been reprinted elsewhere?
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Old 12-27-2016   #12
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Re: Secret Hours

Quote Originally Posted by ramonoski View Post
I've read a couple of Cisco short stories in anthologies (namely Dadaoism and Grimscribe Puppets) and I really liked those, but I remember reading some review that claimed Secret Hours wasn't that good, and somehow that idea stuck to my head and I never got the book. This thread is making me rethink it entirely and am considering ordering the paperback. But apparently the edition published in a boxset by Centipede Press had more stories? Any idea what those are and if they've been reprinted elsewhere?
yes, that edition has a bunch of more stories, and I've read it has some of his best there, some where printed elsewhere but I haven't found them. I have the paperback, but at least it has great artwork inside. and the stories I read were great

there really should be another collection of stories by Cisco

Last edited by Spiral; 12-28-2016 at 02:52 PM..
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Old 12-27-2016   #13
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Re: Secret Hours

I know these stories, which I think are regarded as some of his best, aren't in the old paperback edition:

--The City of God
--The Scream
--The Cadaver is You (can be found on The Master in Café Morphine: An Homage to Mikhail Bulgakov)
--The Dream of the Ucasunis
--Violence Child of Trust (can be found on Black Wings)
--Machines of Concrete, Light and Dark (can be found on Lovecraft Unbound)

for some reason, apart from reading it's great, I really want to read The Dream of the Ucasunis
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Old 12-27-2016   #14
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Re: Secret Hours

"The Scream" is in Album Zutique
"The City Of God" is in Leviathan 4

I was surprised to see two of his books in Waterstones a few months ago. Animal Money and The Narrator.

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Old 12-27-2016   #15
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Re: Secret Hours

Ucansui makes a great point. Burroughs is definitely a very live influence for Cisco and Ligotti. Also, don't know if this is a tangent but I had trouble understanding Burroughs til I read the "Zero", should now be a collected graphic novel. Now I'm going back and rereading Burroughs and getting much more out of him. Also, maybe I was just too young when I read him initially. Not sure.

And Sam is right, "The Knife Dance" is incredible. I was worried it wouldn't be good but was way, way wrong. If you can get a copy of it I'd recommend it.
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Old 12-27-2016   #16
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Re: Secret Hours

@Spiral — I'm hardly the most objective reviewer when it comes to "The Dream of the Ucasunis", but (and this will no doubt come as a tremendous shock) I love that story. For those that feel Cisco is too avant garde (I'm looking at you, S T Joshi), this story is completely accessible. A wonderfully devastating gothic horror story.

This is what I wrote about my favorite stories from the Centipede Press edition in a previous thread:
Quote Originally Posted by Ucasuni View Post
-- Herbert West: Reincarnated — The Chaos into Time [a pulp extravaganza, as written by a surrealist]
--The Depredations of Mur [for me, the quintessential Cisco story, flirting with impenetrability... but only flirting. The perfectly realized dream-logic, grotesque fantasy.]
--Dr. Bondi's Methods [Narratively, among the most cohesive, but filled with the kind of dream-like grotesquery that is Cisco's signature.]
--He Will Be There [A fabulous King in Yellow homage.]
--Ice Age of Dreams [Dream logic again... in a story about dreams.]
--The City of God [Same or similar setting and style to Dr. Bondi, The Veneficio Cannon, or The Narrator]
--The Scream [Very reminiscent of Ligotti's "Prof. Nobody's Little Lectures on Supernatural Horror".]
--The Cadaver is You [This originally appeared in Ex Occidente's Bulgakov homage anthology. On the strength of this story alone, I sought out—and paid out the nose for—the anthology.]
--The Dream of the Ucasunis [Easily the most linear story in the bunch... and the one I reread the most. It retains Cisco's grotesque inventiveness, without turning my brain into knots. Maybe not the BEST Cisco story, but it goes down like honey.]
--Violence Child of Trust [I think of this as Cormac McCarthy, if he were suddenly possessed by Michael Cisco.]

I use the word "grotesque" a lot in describing Cisco's work, and I just want to be perfectly clear that I don't mean "gruesome". I mean "fantastically strange".
Looking at the list again, it looks like about half of my favorites were only included in the CP edition. All this talk about Secret Hours is making me think it's time for a re-read.

@Michael — Full disclosure: the Burroughs/Cisco link wasn't mine... it was Cisco's. And frankly it was one that I didn't appreciate until after he made it. Of course, after fact, it was the most obvious thing in the world, particularly after I heard Cisco's readings of his own work.
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Old 12-27-2016   #17
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Re: Secret Hours

Thanks for the info, everyone. I've decided to buy Secret Hours. Shame about the handful of stories that'll remain out of my reach, but oh well. As the song goes, "for the sun will rise, the moon will set / and you learn how to settle for what you get."
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Old 12-28-2016   #18
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Re: Secret Hours

there really needs to be another collection of Cisco stories, including the ones that weren't in the original edition of Secret Hours
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Old 12-28-2016   #19
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Re: Secret Hours

For purely selfish reasons, I'm happy having those stories exclusively in the CP version. I'm not a big fan of spending huge sums of money for books whose only real added value is packaging.

That being said, there is PLENTY of uncollected Cisco material to fill a new collection. The absence of a second collection totally baffles me, particularly as he's been publishing novels at a pretty impressive clip over the last few years. It's not like he's struggling to find decent publishers for his work: Hippocampus, Cheeky Frawg, Lazy Fascist, Chomu... I refuse to believe that these publishers are prepared to publish his novels (which I've found more challenging than his far-from-pedestrian short fiction) but not a SSC...
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Old 01-19-2017   #20
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Re: Secret Hours

I've recently purchased a paperback copy of 'Secret Hours', intending for it to be my introduction to the work of Michael Cisco.

I started reading the book yesterday and have thus far covered the first three stories; 'The Depredations of Mur' being the clear standout so far. I won't pretend I understood everything the story had to say, but it achieved the dream-like/otherworldly/surreal quality which I've been looking for in horror fiction for so long.

Very much looking forward to reading the rest of the book.
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