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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 07:57 am:   

The Tyrant was the first book I started after the WFC - I decided on this long before I headed to the convention. I finished reading it last night. My thoughts can only mirror stuff I heard at the WFC. It starts more slowly than The Divinity Student (which grabbed me within the first paragraph). But once you get into the story, it goes very quickly. It took almost one week to read the first 75 pages, and then just over two days to read the last 175 pages.

With TDS, I was reminded of the Brothers Quay, it seemed to have a similar sense of drawing you into a dream-world as their films, and the descriptions also seemed to evoke their imagery. The Tyrant also draws you into the dream-world, but I don't imagine it like their films. Instead of thinking it's like them, I don't think it's like anybody else ("like Michael Cisco" is all that comes to mind).

Did I mention I liked it?

Oh, the cover looks great under black light.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 05:30 pm:   

You should see the "original" - if one can speak of originals regarding computer-rendered art. I have a print of it here in front of me, and I swear I've seen the white lace on the water move.

As for the beginning - that's the taskmaster part of me at work. I like books that put the reader through a sort of initiation.

Kirsten Bishop, who began reading the Tyrant at the convention, drew a remarkable portrait of Ella. Her drawings of the other characters were a bit hit-and-miss, understandable since she hadn't yet read very far, but she hit on Ella right away, and even reintroduced me to the character. Nearly nothing can excite me more than the prospect of creating independently alive characters.

I never set out to look like the Quay brothers, but I think similar influences and aims are at work in their material and in mine. I didn't make any conscious effort to alter my imagery or my approach in the Tyrant - in fact most of my authorial decisions are spontaneous or exuberant. Bear in mind that there are two novels you haven't seen (both of which are due to appear in the next year or two) in between the DS and the Tyrant, so what may appear to be an abrupt shift in style is actually the consequence of a more gradual meandering.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 08:18 am:   

So when in 2004 (2005) are those next books planned?

I didn't think there was an abrupt shift, a small shift. This leads towards a revision my image of the writing, making it seem like you were working with a different style of imagery from the Quays all along. Does that make sense?
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 09:12 pm:   

The San Veneficio Canon is due out sometime in Spring, I believe. I don't know at what time of the year they plan to put out The Traitor.

I never set out to be like the Quays. I liked them, less and less as more of what I believe really is pretension becomes apparent to me in their work. I think Svankmajer's imagery is closest to mine, although I never set out to become like him either. It seems to me that we all go about envisioning things in the same ways, in line with many of the same influences.
Burroughs (William S., not Edgar Rice) has had the greatest overall influence on my writing, including my imagery. Much of what might seem to be "mine" in manner is perhaps "his". I don't consider myself a pasticheur of Burroughs, because I use his techniques for my own ends, to express what is most personal to me. Of course, in some places, our ends overlap (an arresting image in itself).
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Stepan Chapman
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 06:21 pm:   

One huge difference between you and WSB is that you write actual factual novels. Burroughs wrote novel-length fictions, but they fail if you judge them as novels. Only Place of Dead Roads and Cities of the Red Night even come close to being novels.
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rick bowes
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 11:58 pm:   

Your delivery at the Thackery B. Lamshead thing Friday was very WSB. You're a much snappier dresser, though. And you didn't make me feel like you were going to turn me down for a bank loan the way Wild Bill did.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 12:32 pm:   

"Banker's drag" he used to call it ... I don't know what I'd call mine - maybe "Pastor's Snap"?

Step - B says in the Atrophied Preface that he doesn't seek to impose narrative on events, he's a recording device, and so on, so he wasn't really trying to write novels, or he was trying to reinvent the novel. But yeah later on he goes back towards narrative. I think he had to throw it off before he could pick it back up again and use it.
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MTC
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   

A review of the Tyrant ...

http://trashotron.com/agony/news/2003/12-15-03.htm#121803

gee whiz - I thought it was rather a light book.
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MTC
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 12:10 pm:   

Here's Kleffel's review of the Tyrant. Not the same as the link above.

http://trashotron.com/agony/reviews/2004/cisco-the_tyrant.htm
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 05:46 pm:   

Michael: Congrats on the review. This assessment sounds concurrent with what I heard in the reading on Saturday night. I toss back a growler in your honor.
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MTC
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 09:15 pm:   

Thanks! We saved the good stuff for you, best way I know to keep off - shudder - the dreaded *douche chill* ...

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