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Animal Money

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A living form of money results in the unraveling of the world.

"The bank is there to save and lend."

"Workers work and customers spend."
Paperback, 780 pages
Published November 17th 2015 by Lazy Fascist Press (first published 2015)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  153 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Ronald Morton
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
We discuss each paper, even the latter. In the criss--cross of our conversation the idea of animal money appears. None of us can account for it, none of us can take credit for it.

The idea silences us for a while, as we try to grasp it, each within ourselves. It really is only a chance coupling of two words, but they seem to call to each other. It is immediately obvious to us that animal money does not refer to the age-old practice of rating wealth in head of cattle or otherwise using livestock a
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2015
Sort of like the surreal offspring of Julio Cortazar's THE WINNERS, Samuel R. Delany's THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION, and Renee Gladman's Ravicka novels. By which I mean that I enjoyed this a whole lot.
Jeff Clark
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Threaded by confusion that compels you to wander until you ... reach the end. Lovely words, ideas mingle, brackishness throughout. So many things, so many of them amazing, so many confounding. Interpretation is critical and it is only yours. We are all economists of our own reality yet slaves to a tongue louse.
Vincenzo Bilof
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
VOICE: “What can you tell us about Animal Money?”
Assiyeh awoke after the conference and began to wonder if all of her revolutionary technologies had made a difference, but it is not the difference that she wondered about, but rather, the idea of the technologies being revolutionary and what it meant for those technologies to be revolutionary. There is a sort of awareness that occurs for Assiyeh while reflecting upon the definition of a revolution and whether or not something can be revolutionary
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Does the reader want the incidents the reader fantasized?

Does the reader want to escape from the incidents the reader fantasized?

Does the reader want to have not lived those incidents?

Does the reader want to live incidents of an entirely different kind, without going into the details of the difference?

Does the reader want things to change or things to freeze?
I prefer change, but both, really.

Does the reader want to escape from these questions?
No, thanks for asking.
Jan 16, 2017 marked it as to-read
So far it is a lot of hilarious non-sense and I love it! There is more to hold onto than I feel Cisco usually allows.

There was an early narrator switch that I think was just a mistake as right now Ronald Crest appears to be the man in charge.
David Wegehaupt
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
By far the craziest book I've ever read! What in the bizarro weird world just happened for 780 pages? Animal Money contains so many fantastic passages, and often has some wonderful narrative momentum. It's some of the most fun I've had reading in years. I also would be hard pressed to describe a plot to someone without sounding like a lunatic. There were chunks of the book where I had no idea what in the hell I was reading but decided to just go along, enjoy the ride, and not insist on clarity o ...more
K.H. Vaughan
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a difficult book to review, and I think it will be a five-star book for a small number of people. On the one hand, I enjoyed the writing enough to continue through to the end. Cisco has a strong voice and can create compelling imagery. He has a wicked sense of humor and the occasionally graphic or explicit content stands out in contrast to the rest of the text to good effect. I think I did not ultimately enjoy the book as a whole because of several issues:

Animal Money is willfully non-li
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Before the imposing Edinburgh castle gates, sits the statue of Adam Smith, the father of modern Capitalism. Keeping a watchful eye on tourists, tourism representatives, street performers and the odd vagrant scuffling through the crowd, hoping someone will lend them a fiver. Although, should you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of people, all gnashing for the same photo of the cathedral and the litany of selfie sticks, a refuge is just a short walk around the corner.

Blackwell books, Edinb
Jon Hilty
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I don't know what of the events in the book actually happened, how many narrators there were, how many of them actually existed, how many were alive or dead, when it was, when it wasn't, what it was or wasn't, or even why it was. But I do know it was funny, bizarre, occasionally lucid, interesting, confounding, complex, and all sorts of other adjectives. Four stars to begin with. A fifth added because of the exceptional amount of confusing material, and then one subtracted because of the excepti ...more
Paul Dembina
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
More like 3 but upgrading to 4 for sheer oddness (and we like oddness - don't we?)

Starts off with 5 economists coming up with their theory of "animal money". It's not fully explained - but what the hey, I'm not too bothered.

Then another character comes into focus , a physicist experimenting with trying to bring her paent back from the dead (or something like that or time travel maybe).

For the 1st 500 pages I was enjoying the ride, even if it wasn't really leading anywhere. But after that you get
Matthew Hall
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, abandoned
There might be a pretty good sf allegory here, but it's buried beneath 780 pages of bloated, hysterical, masturbatory dream sequences. This was touted as a brilliant archetype of what New Weird fiction can accomplish, but it's so laden with the desire to impress you with its prose and knack for metanarrative gaming that any meaningful point feels completely lost.

Were there a few great lines? Yeah, here and there.

Were there salient criticisms about the way we think of economics? Totally.

Could th
Jacob Wren
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Michael Cisco writes:

"It isn’t authority, it’s the look you see on a child’s face when she is in an unfamiliar situation and fiercely understanding everything she sees. It’s what patronizing adults call the exaggerated seriousness of the child. They say that because adult seriousness is not serious but just a hollow meringue of affect. That hard, hard understanding look is the real seriousness."
Evan Martin
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Not for the faint of heart, but the cover probably tells you as much.
Pros: Incredibly inventive and imaginative. As if Ray Bradbury was a Psychonaut.
Cons: Very hard to get through. I don't need my book to be a walk in the park but this was like scaling a rock wall due to the extreme dreamlike story telling and elusive plot. But even for that it definitely had some gems hidden throughout.
Lucas Warford
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Would have been 5 stars if this book had been half as long.
Fucking frustrating experience.
Great ideas, great style, great humor, great insight.
Crushed to death under its own weight.
Read Steve Aylett or Brian Catling.
Same quality of content in 1/4 the size.
Autumn Christian
Economic professors come up with the concept of Animal Money - which begins to insinuate itself into their lives, and transform the way that human beings interact with each other. A star taken off because the middle of the book begins to slog, taking away from a brilliant and engaging beginning.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The wildest read-ride since the first time I read Gravity's Rainbow! This will take time for recovery!
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ouch, my brain. But in the best way. This book (and Michael Cisco in general) is a priceless addition to the "what the hell is going on" genre.
Stephen Toman
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is easily the weirdest book I’ve ever read. I have so many thoughts I don’t even know where to begin.

It starts more or less as other reviewers and the blurb describes - some economists visit a South American country for a conference but each suffers a head injury and in the hotel bar come up with an idea for animal money. This section, the first 100 pages or so, is oddly reminiscent of the first section of Bolano’s 2666 (even down to the centred bullet point section breaks).

But then it gets
Phillip Freedenberg
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Michael Cisco’s nearly 800 page brick of a book Animal Money (2015) is as much fun as a book can be, so much so that it could put television out of business. In short the book is about 5 economists, including protagonist CUNY economics professor Ronald Crest, who travels to San Toribio, Archizoguayla for an academic economics conference in which they all end up suffering debilitating head injuries shortly after their arrival in unrelated accidents.

The group, agents of a secret society of econom
Jeff Raymond
This was a weird, weird book. And I loved it.

The conceit is that there is some version of the world where economists are also politicians, but also religious figures? Maybe? And there's a new form of money being proposed that is never completely explained in a coherent fashion, but involves animals, and since it threatens the order of the world in some way, there's of course competing interests and murder and mayhem.

And since this isn't a traditional narrative by any measure, there are giant di
Eron Rauch
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brooding surrealist masterpiece for the Anthropocene. One part sprawling city-book, that branches and builds a territory; one part multi-thread hallucinogenic myth, with a cast of fearsome and bewildering characters remaking the known world in the telling and re-telling of their drama. The diffuse, cascading, obtuse prose might seem daunting at first, but like a long Alan Ginsberg poem, much of the pleasure is in the word-feel, if I can coin a term akin to mouthfeel. The texture of the text an ...more
Andrew Sare
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
"You like to read and speculate about the nature of things, about reality, about history... So, speculate with me now about animal money.
All right - if you like -
I like." Michael Cisco

Cisco has put out a big novel here - its full of play and big ideas that will shake your values: new thinking on the value of money, the rat race, self fulfillment and interplanetary travel.

Enjoy the ride.
Si San
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-and-weird
Initially a hard book, this is especially suggested to those who love plots where for more than half of the book the narrator keeps scattering the pieces all over. It’s up to you to give sense to the narration, to detect reality from fiction. I considered it a wonderful narrative transposition of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus.
A great discovery!
Jack McBride
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The love/pain/life stories from the economists’ youths are achingly beautiful. And so intense and human, especially to show up so late in the book.” (Note from a few days ago)

The ending of the book was a true wonder for me or, at least, it felt that way today.

I must read more Cisco.
Ethan Ward
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
not like anything i've ever read and i can't tell if it's in a good way or a bad way. some of the passages are incredibly evocative and beautiful, and the message as a whole is good, but it feels dreamlike and hard to get a grasp on.
The Final Song ❀
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't even

I need money anyway.
Dec 18, 2015 marked it as abandoned
As poetic, intelligent, and well-written as this book was, after three hundred pages I'm abandoning entering its looped slipstream, its Ouroborous, going nowhere and everywhere at once, much like a physics project mentioned in the book. Perhaps the amazing cover led me astray and perhaps this is a modern day Surrealist manifesto, but I've reached my wit's end waiting for the story to build into something. It only wants to swallow its tail.
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
It opens strong, with brilliant and disorienting humor - it slowly descends into painfully long and slightly masturbatory sequences that would make Deepak Chopra skeptical that there's anything to take away from this at all. I suspect there isn't, but if there is, whatever it is probably doesn't warrant 780 pages. Finishing this was liberating.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fucking weird. Totally wild.
This one is gonna take a second.
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Michael Cisco is an American writer and teacher currently living in New York City. He is best known for his first novel, The Divinity Student, winner of the International Horror Guild Award for Best First Novel of 1999.

He is interested in confusion.

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“Although unavailable for analysis the moment it happens, being struck a violent blow on the head is a very interesting experience.” 1 likes
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