The Wretch of the Sun by Michael Cisco


  • June 2016
  • 272 pp
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-61498-166-4
  • Cover art by Harry O. Morris






“Reading The Wretch of the Sun is akin to a ghost looking at its reflection in a mirror in a haunted house and finding nothing there, or too much there.  An out-of-control freight train going from this world to the other and back whiteout / without knowing where it will stop, if ever.” -- Harry O. Morris

“Michael Cisco’s works are indispensable to contemporary fantastic literature. They not only elevate this genre, they hover above it.” –Thomas Ligotti

“Michael Cisco is of a different kind and league from almost anyone writing today.”
–China Mieville


A haunted house is a house with its own story. A ghost is someone about whom stories are told, who is unable to tell his or her own story. Death can be understood as the inability to tell one’s own story; whether that death is literal is another question. Ghosts exist in imagination, which is real. A story, to be a told story, needs a listener or reader. Ghosts, as I have been saying, appear to need someone to whom to appear. So we discover the story of the suicides, and we solve the riddle alongside the narrating busy body of the story, and bury the bones together in one grave; the disturbances cease. But a house once haunted will always be haunted; it isn’t the disturbance but the story that haunts it.

The haunted house draws attention to the secret it keeps like a master who teases his pupils with unanswerable riddles. Or like secret police, who can’t be entirely effective if they are entirely secret. These aren’t questions that contain their own answers, like math problems. I do not have the answer any more than you do, because the answer isn’t in the question, the answer is to leave behind the idea that a question is a door that an answer pulls finally shut. Once we’ve dutifully recited to the last syllable every thing we know, we are chastened or even taken aback by the paltry incommensurability of what we’ve just said with the haunted wealth that extends within and without us in all directions. At that moment, the suggestive ambivalence of a story will have to seem truer than the abbreviation of a hollow answer.

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 03 May, 2016.