Rutchit: The Adventure Begins by Richard Rogers

Hot Off the Presses scours the internet for newly published books from unknown authors, and saves everyone else the trouble of actually reading books to find out if they’re good or not. This is meant for entertainment purposes only, not serious consumer advice. And there will be spoilers.

I’ve read a lot of books about the gradual erosion of sanity, about a mind being chipped away like a boulder by the sea. But it’s a rare treat when the piece-meal psychological breakdown is the reader’s. Rutchit: The Adventure Begins is definitely a book. That is one fact I can pin down and not expect to fly away the moment my back is turned. It was probably summoned into existence by a real person named Richard Rogers, and was published less than twenty four hours ago when this post was made. At least, I think so. Right now I wouldn’t be surprised if I looked in the mirror and saw Robin Williams from Jumanji staring back at me. I wish I could tell you what this book is like, really I do. But I can’t. I can only try to explain what happened to me when I read it. I promise I’m not crazy.

Rutchit: The Adventure Begins follows Rutchit, a Rutchiti warrior and Chosen One as he and his revolving cast of friends battle a revolving cast of enemies, most of whom are also Rutchiti warriors. The story mostly consists of a series of battles and maneuvers between the two shifting groups, with some travel and fetch quests thrown in for good measure. Let me see if I can summarize the prologue. We start in 1720 somewhere with the trial of Crazy Fred, who escapes confinement. He battles and kills the leader of the Rutchiti before being killed by Dominick. But Fred’s supporters revive him with a Rutchiti stone, only his name is now Ricardo, which isn’t a name he chose but he likes it enough that he gets upset whenever people call him Fred from this point on. Ricardo then kills Dominick, who is also revived, but I guess they pulled him out of the printer too early because he comes out ugly and has a tail and also his name is Sinserious now. There’s a kidnapping, a showdown, a rematch between Sinserious and Ricardo, and the conspirators are sentenced to death by whale while Ricardo’s minion Mookcoo flees in a balloon. It’s now around 1980, and Sinserious meets and picnics a girl named Lily. The progression goes as follows: picnic, cohabitation, pregnancy, miscarriage, wedding. Then two more babies are born, Twinkle-Star and Rutchit. But gasp! Ricardo is back! In his efforts to kill the two babes he mortally wounds Lily, who Sinserious must then dispose of in a volcano.

And that’s where our story proper begins. The entire thing is written in the same voice, with the same slang and spelling errors (the consistent “could of”s are easy enough to tune out, but it took me a while to understand why someone would “elect” out of an airplane), rarely punctuated, with no paragraph breaks, and not properly formatted for Kindle so it lacks discernible line breaks as well. Oh, and every word is capitalized, which I legitimately did not notice for hours because it was the least distracting thing on the page. Here’s a representative sample, although for full effect you’ll need to pretend there are a few more cutaways to characters shouting early 2000s internet slang at each other:

“Then 3 Vampire Bat Birds Attacked And Rutchit Got Smacked Around And Kicked Until Him & Sasquash Teamed Up To Deal With The First One By Having Sasquash Distract Them Long Enough To Charge Up His Rutchiti Blast To Blow It To Bits.”

Sasquash is a lion friend. I’m pretty sure he showed up in chapter three, because these are my notes from chapter three:

“Rutchiti jet fighter, serpent slash, Sasquash, Rutchiti = planet?, escape parachute, whale shark = Adam Jesús”

The plot is cyclical, with each crisis leading into the next without betraying any hint that the previous plot point has been resolved. Every battle plays out as a slight variation on a pattern, often involving the same people in the same location as a previous battle. The oozing sponge of a plot, combined with the edgeless run-on sentences creates the feeling of a Nichiren Buddhist chant or a Shephard tone; it gives the illusion of progress without leaving one spot. I found myself looking down at the percentage in the bottom right of my Kindle every few minutes, just to ensure it was still going up. I’m almost surprised it never winked at me. At some point our heroes visit a nearby galaxy, encounter talking trees, and visit a candy castle. There’s a fight in which they are briefly pulled into the “3-D dimension,” then safely returned, leaving me to thirst for explanations I knew I would never taste. I won’t spoil the ending, but honestly I could just say anything. How do I even know what I read?

Any time I feature something on this blog I want to make sure that I’m not doing anyone dirty. At first glance this looked like something Neil Breen would cough up after swallowing a typewriter, i.e. fair game. But as soon as I started reading the book this assumption was shattered, and replaced with coruscating layers of urgent bewilderment. Was this written by a ten year old in Serbia, and I am the literary equivalent of someone hurling insults at children on a Minecraft server? The idea occurred to me that this was never intended to be judged as a piece of literature, but was cobbled together by a group of students as a class project. Another idea came slowly into focus as I read. You may remember Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell. In real life Voorhies suffers from Schizoaffective Disorder, and wrote a book in 2011 in which every page looks like this:

By, the, tides, we, have, carry, to, the, answer, and, rotation, of, the, prime, station, of, known, proof. That, the, composite, effective, has, windtried, the, focal, placement, of, real, treasure.

Could I be taking the piss out of someone with a similar condition? A quick search brought me no closer to understanding, though it seems that the book was the product of a would-be video production company. Someone has been creating Twitter, facebook, and Youtube accounts for Richard Rogers, RutchitiWarriors, RutchitVideo, etc., but they are almost entirely empty, and mostly interact with each other.

Would I wish this fate inflicted on another? Kind of. Once I squished my brain back into my ears, I was impressed at the level of follow through in Rutchit: The Adventure Begins. This book made me feel like I was being gaslit by the universe for hundreds of pages without interruption. The current price is five dollars on Kindle, which is way too high, but if it’s ever on sale, pick it up just to confirm that it is real, and I didn’t imagine the whole thing. I promise I’m not crazy.

I sat through another one of Madeline’s dumb reviews, so now you do too.

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