Archaic Torso of Gumby

Archaic Torso of Gumby is a series of interlinked stories and essays by Geoffrey Morrison and Matthew Tomkinson that explore the gooey, prickly, sticky materials of late-capitalist pop culture, from video games to claymation to children’s picture-books commissioned by oil and gas companies. Here lyric essay, personal memoir, fable, pseudohistory, and science fiction all coexist alongside more conventional short story forms. Each part reveals unlikely connections between subjects as different as a sentient wallet, a gathering of headless saints, abject descriptions of 3D-printed food, a sixteenth-century courtier who thinks he’s a horse, a virtual reality religious experience, and a couple with a fetish involving crustaceans. By turns cerebral, goofy, and heartfelt, Archaic Torso of Gumby is a delirious rabbit hole for the adventurous reader.

“Personal and polyphonic, Archaic Torso of Gumby bends like a tree in a windstorm of wonders. Its jigsaw-shaped stories, essays, and ficciones flicker and fly revealing a kaleidoscope of delightful and horrifying ideations…. Imagine Borges doing a tarot reading for your subconscious. Imagine a character following their own choose-your-own-adventure story. Imagine the Platonic ideal of a common place book: this is it! It’s a bag of rare marbles spilt onto a floor where two authors roller-skate barefooted to the tune of rare remixes whilst doing costume changes every 3.47 seconds! It’s dark and of the moment. Its disco-ball brightness will shine eternal! Inspired by twitter posts, Finnegans Wake, and post-colonial critiques of Gumby, Archaic Torso is alchemy for our age. Morrison and Tomkinson’s text is a rabelaisian rouser, startling our sense of how many transformations can gloriously fit in one book.”

– Kevin Spenst, author of Ignite and Jabbering with Bing Bong


Prism Magazine

 If I were to venture a single-word summary of Gumby, I might, in the end, land on joyful. There is a palpable glee about the vagaries of literature, the strange collisions and echoes that spring up everywhere, seeming coincidences of phrase or thought.

– Max Karpinski

The /t3mz/ Review

It is one of the only ways out of our individual consciousnesses and into someone else’s. In a word, empathy. And empathy, I believe, is the ultimate aim of ATOG: the purpose of all this duck-rabbiting and word games. The experience of seeing and being seen in language with the opportunity to change your life.

– Peter Szuban