Pest presents the bizarre events that lead a new, parallel life for a man named Chalo as a wild yak living in the Himalayas.
Chalo the man is recruited by a latter day prophet named Grant to design and build a campus on Catalina Island, where initiates will be trained to receive a celestial visitor, the "Ancient Newborn." Chalo the yak reflects on his human past while the annual rut looms ominously nearer and nearer. The struggle to fund and construct the campus is complemented by the psychoactive changes of the yak breeding cycle, and the mating battles that Chalo will have to participate in. Both involve creating something that will outlast Chalo's individual life, and give it meaning. Both will also involve telluric forces, demons recruited by Grant to overcome sinister fiduciary magic, which cross-link the two halves of the story.
Michael Cisco is a writer and teacher currently living in New York City. He is 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. His experimental novel UNLANGUAGE was nominated for Best Horror Novel by Locus in 2019. He has published in anthologies edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Ellen Datlow, among others, and his work has been translated into German, French, Spanish, and Italian. His scholarly monograph, Weird Fiction: A Genre Study, will be published in early 2022 by Palgrave Macmillan. He teaches at CUNY Hostos in New York City.
"Michael Cisco's works immerse the reader in worlds that are not simply dreamlike in the quality of their imagination but somehow manage to capture and convey the power of the dream itself." —Thomas Ligotti
"Michael Cisco is of a different kind and league from almost anyone writing today." —China Mieville
"With Michael Cisco doing things like this, sometimes it feels like the rest of literature might as well get up and head home." —China Mieville on Cisco's novel CELEBRANT "Fans of stylish and thematically sophisticated weird fiction should seek out ... Cisco's visionary genius." —Publishers Weekly
"The Narrator is not a subversive fantasy novel. It eliminates all other fantasy novels and starts the genre anew. You must begin your journey here." —Nick Mamatas
"An extraordinary story of war and the supernatural that combines the creepiness of Alien with the clear-eyed gaze of Full Metal Jacket. Like The Other Side if it included soldiers who could glide over the water, a mysterious tower right out of early David Lynch, and infused with Kafka's sese of the bizarre. Destined to be a classic." —Jeff VanderMeer on The Narrator
"A rivetingly strange novel in which Cisco mixes game theory, serious philosophy, SF, and dark fantasy into something at once unreal and really entrancing. Kind of like what might happen if Wyndham Lewis decided to write like M. John Harrison and had Martin Heidegger as his editor. Member is a complex, compelling work." —Brian Evenson
"To miss the humor in Cisco is to miss Cisco. Even though the plight of the characters is dark and the reader feels the dire nature of things, the general absurdity of what happens is at the same time unnervingly funny. I don't mean out loud, laugh-a-minute funny like the jokes in a TV sitcom, but humorous in the way that Poe's stories are or the stories of Borges." —Jeff Ford, on The Traitor
"He is absinthe in a world of Pepsi." —Jeffery Thomas
"The alchemy of words ceasing to be words, words seamlessly melting before our eyes into grandiose imagery, into soaring hallucination, into fever dreams that tap directly into our subconscious and perfectly describe emotions that cannot be described is something no author achieves with more effect than Michael Cisco." —Paul Tremblay, on The Golem