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Pynchon and paranoia

Fascinating rereading Pynchon after 2-3 decades. The density of the writing, the allusions. Images flying off at tangents. Writing about the Occupied Zone in 1945, and the genesis of parallel worlds.

Separations are proceeding. Each alternative Zone speeds away from all the others, in fated acceleration, red-shifting, fleeing the Center. […] Once it was necessary to know uniforms, insignia, airplane markings, to observe boundaries. But by now too many choices have been made. The single root lost, way back there in the May desolation. Each bird has his branch now, and each one is the Zone.

from Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

The story of Gravity’s Rainbow is not, I think, the point of the book, which is, rather, its context. Pynchon wants us to get his gnawing suspicion that war is inherent to the System, not a crisis in it.

It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theater, all just to keep the people distracted… secretly, it was being dictated by the needs of technology… by a conspiracy between human beings and techniques, by something that needed the energy-burst of war, crying ‘Money be damned, the very life of [insert name of Nation] is at stake,’ but meaning, most likely, dawn is nearly here, I need my night’s blood, my funding, funding, ahh more, more… The real crises were crises of allocation and priority, not among firms – it was only staged to look that way – but among the different Technologies, Plastics, Electronics, Aircraft, and their needs are understood only by the ruling elite…

from Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

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