Theories of money have divided between viewing it as a substance and seeing it as deriving from a field. Conceiving money as a substance finds it as an inert entity passively and stably transmitting already accumulated value; this view is often linked with literary realism. Field theory envisions money's value as arising from and shifting with the market or social environment from which it arises. This essay examines how the field theory of money can be linked with money's role in three contemporary examples of speculative fiction: Hari Kunzru's Gods Without Men, Tom McCarthy's Remainder, and Ian McEwan's The Cockroach. In these novels, money is linked with communication as a system that produces value within itself without referring to an external origin (Gods), is affiliated with financial and other forms of speculation as a force of social projection (Remainder), and operates as credit for labor that must still be delivered (The Cockroach). However, as these novels also indicate, money's social field does not free it of its material debts to labor, for the material must ultimately underwrite fictitious capital.

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