Michael Cisco (born October 13, 1970) is an American writer, Deleuzian academic, teacher, and translator 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. His novel The Great Lover was nominated for the 2011 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel of the Year, and declared the Best Weird Novel of 2011 by the Weird Fiction Review. Other fiction includes the short story collections Secret Hours and ANTISOCIETIES. He teaches at CUNY Hostos.

Animal Money by Michael Cisco

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."



  • "I think of this novel as not just possibly the finest weird novel of the modern era, but also an uncanny Infinite Jest by way of early Pynchon and Robert Bolaño's 2666."

    – Jeff VanderMeer, Electric Literature
  • "A welcoming and disorienting ride."

    – Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
  • "Brilliant and demanding [...] Simultaneously the strangest high-finance thriller ever and a rumination on value theory and the financial shituation (sic), it deserves to provoke as much excitement among philosophers of money as it does among aficionados of weird fiction."

    – China Mieville, The Guardian



"Mephitioso," Professor Budshah says, glancing at a fire truck gliding down the street.

"Rejoinder," I reply.

The fire truck swings toward us and begins yelping and flashing its lights as it rolls up carefully onto the sidewalk. The truck stops and a single fireman emerges from behind the wheel and comes up to us, sweating in his heavy fireproof jacket and helmet.

"Are you Aughbui Budshah, Crest, Long, and Long?" he asks us, still approaching.

We uncertainly identify ourselves.

The fireman says "well" and seems to be preparing himself to say something further. He does not seem to want to meet our eyes and yet he is suppressing a grin. He takes a step forward, moving like an actor in a musical, and gives a sort of bow.

"You're all fiiiiirrrrrrred!" he sings.

While we stand nonplussed, he produces five letters, one from each of our colleges, and distributes them amongst us. They are all genuine termination notices. The second Professor Long sighs explosively and turns away, rubbing the back of his bandaged head.

"What in hell do you mean with this?" Professor Budshah asks, sounding almost wounded.

"Those letters all came through the US embassy first."

"The US embassy?" the first Professor Long asks, baffled.

"Who are you supposed to be?" I ask.

"I'm a fireman!" he says. "Get it? You're all fired?"

"Letters from Shanghai and Europe come through the US embassy?" the first Professor Long asks.

"Looks that way!" the man, whose name is Oscar Rentaxuaga, badge 495—as transcribed by me from his name tag—says. "Sorry!"

He turns to go back to his truck.

"This was my idea, by the way," he says, turning to look back at us and throwing a thumb over his shoulder. "They would have just sent the letters."

He gets into the truck and waves to us once more from the running board.

"Good luck!" he cries.