Book Review: In the Desert of Mute Squares by M Kitchell

Ben Arzate.

“Language is a trap. To deny the existence of whatever. A melancholy enticement. Like balloons. Language is a fucking disaster. I’m unsure of how to birth the participle. Underneath. No reason to ever go outside any more. The days choke in the darkness & supplicate to endless rest. There’s no question of what will happen in the future because there is no future. Life is a fatal attraction.”

M Kitchell’s In the Desert of Mute Squares is difficult to classify. Its publisher, Inside the Castle, describes it as a “text object,” which seems the most appropriate name for it. The form of the book, from its text placement, to its spacing, to its images, to the reader’s interactions with the book itself are just as essential as the text. As the excerpt above implies, this seems to be an attempt to transcend the frustrating limitations of language.

Even the title seems to be a self-deprecating acknowledgment of literature’s limitations, referring to itself as a wasteland of pages that can’t truly communicate. Slaughtered trees which can never truly convey the impossible. It includes the equally self-deprecating subtitle of or Errors; or, Dreams I Never Had; or, Late Capitalism. (more…)

A Multi-Dimensional Review of Rick and Morty—with Notes on Time and Depression

Daulton Dickey.

The third season of Rick and Morty, Adult Swim’s surreal and absurd animated sitcom, recently completed its run. One of the most anticipated shows of the past season, it ran the gamut from brilliant to tedious. Some episodes represented the best of what the show has to offer while others offer glimpses into the creative minds behind the show—Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland—and what seems a conscious attempt to transition the series, to move it forward, to keep it from outliving its expiration date. Every television series takes risks at some point but for a show such as Rick and Morty, a show built on risk-taking, too many risks can turn formulaic. So far, they’ve avoided falling flat. But can they obfuscate the inevitable and keep it fresh throughout its life? 


Blinking transitions you from moment to moment. The brief slip into darkness renders the transfer perceptible in the strobe-like shift from sight to darkness to sight again. In that fraction of a second, as time continues to pass, you shift from the present to the present—without noting or detecting a shift. Only your memory implies one. The world and universe functions as usual in that moment of darkness. Billions of people around the world go on with their lives. But if you focus on the shift, using the darkness of the blink as a reference point, you’ll glimpse the eternity of the moment when you open your eyes again.

Following the adventures of Rick, the smartest man in every conceivable universe, and his less-than-bright grandson, Morty, the show acts as a surreal and absurd twist on conventional science fiction. It usually subverts or inverts traditional SF tropes while injecting the show with bizarre moments and clever and innovative situations. At times, the imagination fueling the show is staggering. (more…)