The Genius of Assassins: Three Dreams of Murder in the First Person – Michael Cisco

Earlier extract from my real-time review of the VanderMeers’ massive ‘The WEIRD’ HERE:-

The Genius of Assassins: Three Dreams of Murder in the First Person – Michael Cisco

“- here come branches, bare and sooty, up around me, and the chiming of tiny bells -”

I am afraid this is another rare story in this book I have had to abandon. It has defeated me completely. This is my failure, not the story’s. I shall return to it, I hope. It seems to be about a dare for committing serial gratuitous murders – all I got from the first few pages, much else going over my head. The prose language, meanwhile, is scintillating, flowing like an unstoppable river of Ginsbergians. Poetry that may arrive in some sump of my being…. [To show I have, in the very recent past, appreciated this author here is my real-time review of one of his novels.] (30/11/11 – another 2 hours later)


Today (7 Jan 12) I have fully read this story.  I must have had some sort of blind spot amid the blinding strobes of creative reading on 30/11/11 above.

Michael Cisco is a great author, especially if he can work this miracle, this turnaround – indeed, arguably, here with a story greater than most of the other stories that I appreciated first time round. But that is the danger of real-time reviewing, I guess. A picture in time. A mote, not a moat, around a reading-journey rather than infecting it like Cisco’s plague germ from this story.  A scenic self as murderer, a stereoscopic self as serial careerist in killing, involving otherwise loving blood-connected generations. Humans should love all other humans, as we all have blood connections, the simple possession of it. Perhaps that’s why we need to kill some of those humans, as we do not have enough love to share around.   It’s a dream, a nightmare, a theatrical critique of our dramatic entrances and exits.  A gratuitous Jungian pool of destructive desires: like the pool in The WEIRD’s Clark Ashton Smith story.  There is another cat-killing, too, as sort of top-off head upon an intoxicant far stronger than (my favourite) beer: words.  The larvae disguised as the tentacles from The WEIRD’s cover infecting our brain from the bottom of the barrel: the ‘final selection’ brew that un-does the un-doer in you: but still you go on, unable to stop, killing even yourself time and time again because you hate loving yourself. That’s what we all do. Self-serving. Even the whole world is your accomplice, its geography, its ley-lines, its contoured zodiacs or zoos, its sea-sized pools, its Barronial forests of desire.  [Simon trips on the pavement” – a few minutes after reading this sentence a few hours ago, a loved one returns from a walk by the sea, her face all bloodied. Tripped over the pavement, she said. Luckily she’s not badly hurt. More psychologically un-done for a while. True.] “…the park lying in the carpet smell…”

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