21 thoughts on “Animal Money – Michael Cisco

    Pages 5 – 15

    “When we say the gods we mean the gods. The Surfeit is One.”

    I’ve just scratched the top surface of the top surface of this quantitative easing of a predictively difficult book – so as to get a taster, while time-leveraging later management of scarce resources for much lengthier attacks upon its entrancing bulk. And I am already captivated, having read and reviewed three Cisco novels before, and now this one, here with two characters with the same name!
    A scenario of professors who are attending an Economic congress, a few of whom have synchronised accidents and then debate together without help of their other peers. The economic considerations seem ripe with religious trappings and oaths, taking place where – and with what currencies – I have never heard of before … so it’s not in my own fictional world but in someone else’s. But the professor-who-is-the-narrator’s world FEELS confidently more real as a construction than the shaky grasp of my own world (be it fictional or not), despite having lived there 68 years – and still counting.

  2. Pages 15 – 28

    “…buzzing with virtually worthless scavenger currencies and melting into fiscal slime,…”

    We hit the nub of this massive book already at this upper surface of the book? Not a relatively short burst of Lovecraftian fiscal ‘Meltdown’ as I once perpetrated to be published in the early 1990s, nor the Bitcoin as we understand it today.
    You see, this Cisco nub is something original, something far more mind-blowing, and I am assuming this concept of animal money in ‘Animal Money’ is brand new to any Collective Unconscious on this planet of ours, and, indeed, its description here is staggering (and I dare not be more exact here about its nature and its variant behaviours so as to keep it pristine for readers of this book, i.e. no credit crunch spoilers in THIS review, I promise you with my honoured promissory note).
    These professors, in fact, synchronously thrown together by their common casualty of accidents, are brainstorming their individual experiences of animal observation with this theme and variations on the emerging concept of ‘animal money’, and it could not have been done without this triangulation of circumstances and coordinates, one coordinate being this book itself sold as ‘Animal Money’ on its spine, this book’s very creation of fiction’s autonomous characters who were already carrying seeds of this concept in, inter alia, now bandaged heads, to be blended into unique animal money – the leitmotifs of this gestalt, to be known, in shorthand, as animal money or ‘Animal Money’. One Professor Long or another Professor Long, give or take a different gender?

  3. Pages 28 – 49

    “This is the secret zoo within the zoo.”

    The bandaged Professors are taken to where they can bear out their theories, with ‘bad luck’ hovering above their van , and I get the impression that this book, so far, is a bats out of hell road movie, like a typical busy road in a foreign place where many items of traffic not only have typically multiple angry near-misses but also just as many real contact accidents.
    I sense that ‘animal money’, too, may be the remuneration answer to all demarcation disputes of blue and white collar workers. Time management by kicking a can into the long grass.

  4. Pages 49 – 69

    “We all sense that the inequality between a rich man and a poor one is not the same inequality that exists between a master sculptor, let us say, and a neophyte or a bad one.”

    And that bandages makes nudism difficult.
    In tune with the reality-ribboning of black albinos, here in this section we have ‘white drink’ and ‘dark economists’, as our bandaged professors are interviewed about animal money by two good-looking naturists and then almost kidnapped to an eyes-wide-shut gathering for further going over. I am pleased, meanwhile, that I mentioned Bitcoin in this review before this book mentioned it.
    I am entranced by the nature of the trip-easy fantasy in this book – and its political backstory and the hilarious names of economic movements etc. that would be much neater if acronymised.
    “Conversation does not mean I replace my words with yours and I do not lose the words I use with you, you see? A book, a conversation, is not a heap of ‘word coins’.” (Cf Uhuyjhn transmission?)
    And thus I am also glad that I am coincidentally reading and real-time reviewing this massive book alongside another, if slimmer, book called BLUE ON BLUE (here) – each book outdoing, by equally coincidental alternations, the other book in heuristic evocation of truly mind-blowing margins ‘between’ fantasy and reality.
    “But the obstacle is insurmountable. It is a wall no one can even see over. Isn’t your idea a fantasy?”

  5. Pages 69 – 88
    “; his head might have been toilet-papered by teenaged pranksters.”

    …which sort of state of bandaging after swimming pre-echoes the end of this section of pages where a Ligottian “Dr Toilet” searches for the imputedly, omputedly aborted foetus of a woman who had just been in that public toilet – giving birth by scarce Gravity to animal money, I assume, but I am may have been disarmingly inveigled into thinking that by reference to the Particle Collider vision of money of a world destroyed by its economy – like a child who was so intelligent that his birth-retardedness became only average intelligence – accelerated by the accretive nature of this text turning into a Finnegans Wake of crazy names and other word-glitches. (Don’t let that put you off; I became a big fan of Finnegans Wake when I real-time reviewed it here.)
    Meanwhile, we are given a stunning word-picture of the San Toribio environs of this Economic Congress. Think Member, Celebrant, Chorncendantra.

    “…crossed by long shadows in primary colors, and presided over by a silent, motionless planet.”

  6. Pages 88 – 101

    “‘Anti-sado-austerity,’ Professor Aughbui says.
    ‘Anti-masocho-money,’ the second Professor Long says.'”

    Another interview with the bandaged professors about animal money, a frenzied one, eventually a spin-off into these economists’ latest collaboration with physicists on this subject, particularly with Assiyeh Nemekeseyah who, inter alia, tells us, via the reported interview answers, about, not a back story, but a side one, regarding the foetus disappearances, the first in the public toilet and others elsewhere, and then about a head separated from its body, and before I can gather my wits, I seem, as reader, to diminish into a dot on an old-fashioned TV screen, just switched off.

  7. PART TWO:
    “(41. Do you works better in a team or alone?”

    Pages 119 – 126
    “The formal economic debate is resolved when both contestants leap into the air.”

    The whole of the first above is an exchange of relentless questions and feisty answers from SuperAesop as part of a job interview at the zoo (the secret zoo within a zoo?). As well as its hilarious surface satire of such a process, I was left with an impression of the area inside a particular zoo that is close to my own personal writerly heart where dream is recognised as dream, even it is dream, rather than, elsewhere, where dream is impossible to differentiate from reality.

    The start of the second above is another hilarious surface satire, this one reminding me of the Summarise Proust Competition in Monty Python. It is a duel between the animal money exponents and those opposed to it. I sense an archetypal dream that we all dream when quantitatively eased by the prospect of such large amounts of text in this hefty book yet to be input and sifted.

  8. Pages 126 – 153

    There is no need – nor ability of most readers of this book – to keep itemising the plot for a current non-reader of it. In fact with a real-time review there is always a danger of letting slip a spoiler before it actually becomes a spoiler.
    I feel like as if I have become for this book like Professor Aughbui’s Smilebot ‘familiar’ has become for him. Knowing and not-knowing at once, preferably mute, but I am aware of the possibility of some events and characters in this book being fictional devices for preventing the letting slip of too much of the truth to the reporters reported in the text as being reporters asking questions about animal money.
    I can vouchsafe, meanwhile, that in spite and/or because of the twirling images, events, memes that crowd this text, it is a simple, smooth task In actually reading it, a literary pleasure like the finest syrup of meaning and sub-vocalised sound, conveying much that you don’t at the time of absorbing it realise you are absorbing, until later. This can happen later even if you are not even thinking about it when, say, the secret theory of secrets dawns on you…
    Yesterday, meanwhile, I had reason to cross-reference this book to the Piccadilly Goat in a coincidentally concurrent real-time review here.

  9. Pages 154 – 167


    Pages 171 – 192

    This text has some very striking memorable scenes like the tongue monster in this section and the mad daylight saving scheme. The animal money concept itself remains a masterstroke although I NOW see vague signs of it elsewhere including a side aura of it in my own novel vis a vis certain zoo concepts and in QSC’s Blue on Blue sea monkey scenarios etc. This book definitely clinches the original deal, though, with the world’s first crystallised animal money flourish. The Piccadilly Goat, notwithstanding.
    Although I am enjoying the madcap plot aspects of these five professors stretching their intellectual legs against the rub of university rivalry and academic conspiracy and the machinator fireman Oscar, I am getting a bit worried about this book. Not a serious worry yet, but one where I feel myself starting to want (if not succumbing to that want) to skim the text rather than read it properly. It is mind-stretching enough, however, to maintain my confidence that I will eventually find it to be a book worth extolling. Even to become that masterpiece I have seen others call it. A bit of a SHITUATION, indeed.
    Of course, when I reviewed this author’s story here in 2011 from THE WEIRD, I had to read it twice…

  10. Pages 192 – 214

    “The book seems to write itself, and yet it is only now just coming into existence. Our different sections all have the same style, recognized by none of us as our own.”

    …only now just coming into existence? Hence, the only way to review it is by this dreamcatching real-time way? Starting to grow anagrams now and meaningless backward names. One of the duplicate named professors has gone (suicide? or wiped out by an academic hitman or social media rival?), thank goodness, so we don’t need any LONGER to refer to one of them as the first and the other as the second!

    “You’re telling us about animal money, specifically who gave you the idea. / There was no specific person who gave us the idea. As I’ve been explaining, the idea just happened.”

    That ‘syrup’ I mentioned above, this Teflon text, continues to slide over the eyes, probably because we are ALL writing it as well as reading it simultaneously and we already know what it says. But, disappointingly, so far, it does not match up with the Celebrant and Member masterpieces. Honestly. And talking about reviews…

    “When, a miraculously brief eighteen months later, ‘Animal Money’ is published by Lazy Fascist Press, it is ignored. No reviews, no sales, no availability…”

  11. Pages 214 – 234

    “Dreams never begin. Something else becomes a dream a piece at a time, rapidly but not instantly, until it’s all dream.”

    This is a perfect description of the accreting of leitmotifs towards a gestalt. A fiction’s soul or dream. This book, with its smooth, almost glossy, pages, is growing more and more digestibly tractable, however ostensibly difficult its concepts. No mean feat.
    It is also, for me, another book in the Erithian mode, one that demonstrates the optimum of heuristic hesitancy (tinged with angst and theosophy and cosmic mysteries), here exploring, in this way, the nature of dreams and ghosts. We feel we actually become Assiyeh during these cerebral psychical fiscal physicalities. And one can’t help noticing some hidden gender politics, in that her name is a sort of near anagram of Ass and Hyena?

    “What’s this got to do with animal money? This doesn’t have anything to do with animal money. It has everything to do with animal money. I don’t know how it does, but I am certain THAT it does.”

  12. Pages 234 – 258

    “The idea has taken hold that ‘Animal Money’ is an extravagant fantasy, the whimsical jeu d’esprit of a group of accident-addled economists, and not really a serious book.”

    Or the whimsical critique of a group of readers, of whom I am one of two Des Lewises plus others lurking or trolling on the sidelines, a triangulation of several coordinates of the Devil in the world economy. The fallibility in the Fantasy.
    Here we seek, by violence in the toilet, the source of the triangulation of Animal Money itself, which voices were present when the five of them hatched it, and were these voices (my own ex cathedra question) Uhuyjhn’s or Tourette’s?
    (One Des Lewis wants to give up reading this diffuse book (cut his losses), but the other is determined to see if there is any interest in plugging on.)

  13. Pages 258 – 304

    “His sense of safety is on a fast crumble. Professor Budshah knows he is completely alone and that anything can happen to him because no one is there to see it.”

    I get the same feel about this book. Just replace the last bit with “anything can happen in this book because there is no one there to read it.”

    In tune with the phenomenon of the late Professor Long, I intend to read the rest of this book long after I am dead.

  14. PART FIVE:

    “‘The nice thing,’ I say, ‘about a pipe is that you still have it when your smoke is done.'”

    Like this book (as opposed to an ebook).

    “How dead are you now? […] No you can’t just lie there rotting – you have to report on it: how is your rot going?”

  15. PART SIX:

    Pages 321 – 348

    “The whole world is a zoo of phoney habitats and segregation and staring for the sake of staring. You go to a zoo to see animals behaving the way animals behave in zoos. Her visitor from the hotel room has found her again, is very near to her. Not crouching now. He’s been playing out her leash and now he’s yanking it in. He isn’t any one person in particular: he’s the guiding spirit that bides darkly in upper corners.”

    I feel as I have been let out on a leash for the last few days but now yanked back in again. As ‘the remaining Professor Long’ (female) – as opposed to ‘the late Professor Long’ (male) – is here being yanked back, with the other remaining professors, to give reports on their discovery of and findings on ‘animal money’. I also feel I am being made to return to my discovery, by real-time review, of Animal Money itself. And I am glad I resumed, because I have just been taken up in a wonderful whirl of words, leading to a spaceship, itself made of words. I have skimmed along… [EDIT (3 Jan 16): I have arrived, in my reading and reviewing of this book, at page 348, i.e. about halfway. I am worried that I am not doing justice to it – or perhaps it is not doing justice to me!There are some wonderful passages and ideas scattered around it so far, but I have decided to put my reading of it on hold (freezing my review as ‘private’) until I can get my act together in this book’s respect – or until somehow it entices me back osmotically! Sorry.]

  16. I have decided after resuming this book for a while, from page 348, that it has truly defeated me. It is me not the book. I found a fire escape in these few pages – amid some rather off-putting scenes of nudity and other shenanigans – and so I used it!

    I have now noticed at the end of the book – beyond the novel’s ‘THE END’ – there are items of advice to the reader, plus some permissions, one of which is: “Readers may come and go, stop and start, as they please.”
    Synchronously, such a permission – as well as other items of advice and warning to the reader – is appropriate in my case, and I confirm that I read it AFTER making my final stoppage decision above.


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