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“I used to worry about you, Zoyd, but I see I can rest easy now the Vaseline of youth has been cleared from your life’s lens by the mild detergent solution of time, in its passing. . . ”
Thomas Pynchon, Vineland
“Was it home, the mercury-lit street? Was he returning like the elephant to his graveyard, to lie down and soon become ivory in whose bulk slept, latent, exquisite shapes of chessmen, backscratchers, hollow open-work Chinese spheres nested one inside the other?”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“How, Yusef wondered, can two men joke like that and tomorrow be enemies. Perhaps they’d been enemies yesterday. He decided public servants weren’t human.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“What of Thought? The Crew had developed a kind of shorthand whereby they could set forth any visions that might come their way. Conversations at the Spoon had become little more than proper nouns, literary allusions, critical or philosophical terms linked in certain ways. Depending on how you arranged the building blocks at your disposal, you were smart or stupid. Depending on how others reacted they were In or Out. The number of blocks, however, was finite.
"Mathematically, boy," he told himself, "if nobody else original comes along, they're bound to run out of arrangements someday. What then?" What indeed. This sort of arranging and rearranging was Decadence, but the exhaustion of all possible permutations and combinations was death.
It scared Eigenvalue, sometimes. He would go in back and look at the set of dentures. Teeth and metals endure.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“It turns out to be the new Planet, which, a decade and a half later, will be known first as the Georgian, and then as Herschel, after its official Discoverer, and more lately as Uranus.”
Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon
“It’s still unmessed-with country. You like to think it goes on forever, but the colonisers are coming. The suits and tenderfeet. You can hear the blue-eyed-soul music over the ridgeline. There’s already a half dozen well-funded projects for designing software to crawl the Deep Web –”
“Is that,” Maxine wonders, “like, ‘Ride the Wild Surf’?”
“Except summer will end all too soon, once they get down here, everything’ll be suburbanised faster than you can say ‘late capitalism.’ Then it’ll be just like up there in the shallows. Link by link, they’ll bring it all under control, safe and respectable. Churches on every corner. Licenses in all the saloons. Anybody still wants his freedom’ll have to saddle up and head somewhere else.”
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
“It takes, unhappily, no more than a desk and writing supplies to turn any room into a confessional. This may have nothing to do with the acts we have committed, or the humors we do go in and out of. It may be only the room--a cube--having no persuasive powers of its own. The room simply is. To occupy it, and find a metaphor there for memory, is our own fault.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“A swaddled silence would be over the island, nights like that: if they complained, or had to cry for some lesion or cramp, it was baffled by the thick mists and all you heard was the tide, slapping ever sideways along the strand, viscous, reverberating; then seltzering back to sea, violently salt, leaving a white skin on the sand it hadn't taken. And only occasionally above the mindless rhythm, from across the narrow strait, over on the great African continent itself, a sound would arise to make the fog colder, the night darker, the Atlantic more menacing: if it were human it could have been called laughter, but it was not human. It was a product of alien secretions, boiling over into blood already choked and heady; causing ganglia to twitch, the field of night-vision to be grayed into shapes that threatened, putting an itch into every fiber, an unbalance, a general sensation of error that could only be nulled by those hideous paroxysms, those fat, spindle-shaped bursts of air up the pharynx, counter-irritating the top of the mouth cavity, filling the nostrils, easing the prickliness under the jaw and down the center-line of the skull: it was the cry of the brown hyena called the strand wolf, who prowled the beach singly or with companions in search of shellfish, dead gulls, anything flesh and unmoving.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
tags: sea
“But it is already light. How long has it been light? All this while, light has come percolating in, along with the cold morning air flowing now across his nipples: it has begun to reveal an assortment of drunken wastrels, some in uniform and some not, clutching empty or near-empty bottles, here draped over a chair, there huddled into a cold fireplace, or sprawled on various divans, un-Hoovered rugs and chaise longues down the different levels of the enormous room, snoring and wheezing at many rhythms, in self-renewing chorus, as London light, winter and elastic light, grows between the faces of the mullioned windows, grows among the strata of last night’s smoke still hung, fading, from the waxed beams of the ceiling. All these horizontal here, these comrades in arms, look just as rosy as a bunch of Dutch peasants dreaming of their certain resurrection in the next few minutes.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Out of that night and day of unconditional wrath, folks would've expected to see any city, if it survived, all newly reborn, purified by flame, taken clear beyond greed, real-estate speculating, local politics--instead of which, here was this weeping widow, some one-woman grievance committee in black, who would go on and save up and lovlingly record and mercilessly begrudge every goddamn single tear she ever had to cry, and over the years to come would make up for them all by developing into the meanest, cruelest bitch of a city, even among cities not notable for their kindness.

To all appearance resolute, adventurous, manly, the city would not shake that terrible all-night rape, when "he" was forced to submit, surrending, inadmissably, blindly feminine, into the Hellfire embrace of "her" beloved. He spent the years afterward forgetting and fabulating and trying to get back some self-respect. But inwardly, deep inside, "he" remained the catamite of Hell, the punk at the disposal of all the denizens thereof, the bitch in men's clothing.”
Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day
“Nostalgia lurks, ready to ooze from ambush.”
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
“The row ostensibly has to do with tables versus CSS, a controversial issue of the time, which has always, given its level of passion, struck Maxine as somehow religious. She imagines it will be difficult, no matter which side prevails, to appreciate, ten years from now, the all-consuming nature of the dispute.”
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
“It was as if she had just discovered the irreversible process. It astonished her to think that so much could be lost, even the quantity of hallucination belonging just to the sailor that the world would bear no further trace of. She knew, because she had held him, that he suffered DT’s. Behind the initials was a metaphor, a delirium tremens, a trembling unfurrowing of the mind’s plowshare. The saint whose water can light lamps, the clairvoyant whose lapse in recall is the breath of God, the true paranoid for whom all is organized in spheres joyful or threatening about the central pulse of himself, the dreamer whose puns probe ancient fetid shafts and tunnels of truth all act in the same special relevance to the word, or whatever it is the word is there, buffering, to protect us from. The act of metaphor then was a thrust at truth and a lie, depending where you were: inside, safe, or outside, lost. Oedipa did not know where she was. Trembling, unfurrowed, she slipped sidewise, screeching back across grooves of years, to hear again the earnest, high voice of her second or third collegiate love Ray Glozing bitching among “uhs” and the syncopated tonguing of a cavity, about his freshman calculus; “dt,” God help this old tattooed man, meant also a time differential, a vanishingly small instant in which change had to be confronted at last for what it was, where it could no longer disguise itself as something innocuous like an average rate; where velocity dwelled in the projectile though the projectile be frozen in midflight, where death dwelled in the cell though the cell be looked in on at its most quick. She knew that the sailor had seen worlds no other man had seen if only because there was that high magic to low puns, because DT’s must give access to dt’s of spectra beyond the known sun, music made purely of Antarctic loneliness and fright. But nothing she knew of would preserve them, or him.”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“Men had it so simple. When it wasn't about Sticking It In, it was about Having The Gun, a variation that allowed them to Stick It In from a distance.”
Thomas Pynchon, Vineland
“WE AWAIT SILENT TRISTERO'S EMPIRE.”
Thomas Pynchon
“I want to break out – to leave this cycle of infection and death. I want to be taken in love: so taken that you and I, and death, and life, will be gathered inseparable, into the radiance of what we would become.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“It's true,' Vanya now, 'look at the forms of capitalist expression. Pornographies: pornographies of love, erotic love, Christian love, boy-and-his-dog, pornographies of sunsets, pornographies of killing, and pornographies of deduction--ahh, that sigh when we guess the murderer--all these novels, these films and songs they lull us with, they're approaches more comfortable and less so, to that Absolute Comfort.' A pause to allow Rudi a quick and sour grin. 'The self-induced orgasm.”
Thomas Pynchonchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“But elephants have souls. Anything that can get drunk, he reasoned, must have some soul. Perhaps this is all “soul” means. Events between soul and soul are not God’s direct province: they are under the influence either of Fortune, or of virtue.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“When power corrupts, it keeps a log of its progress, written into that most sensitive memory device, the human face.”
Thomas Pynchon, Vineland
“Every mode of violent death available to Renaissance man, including a lye pit, land mines, a trained falcon with envenom'd talons, is employed. It plays, as Metzger remarked later, like a Road Runner cartoon in blank verse”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“When something real is about to happen to you, you go toward it with a transparent surface parallel to your own front that hums and bisects both your ears, making eyes very alert. The light bends toward chalky blue. Your skin aches. At last: something real.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“MARG: You are so close.
STEN: To whom? Margravine, not even to himself. This place, this island: all his life he's done nothing but hop from island to island. Is that a reason? Does there have to be a reason? Shall he tell you: he works for no Whitehall, non conceivable unless, ha, ha, the network of white halls in his own brain: these featureless corridors he keeps swept and correct for occasional visiting agents.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“... it was luck, dumb luck, that had put them each where they were, and the best way to pay for any luck, however temporary, was just to be helpful when you could.”
Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice
“But then last September the rockets came. Them fucking rockets. You couldn’t adjust to the bastards.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Runners are bouncing up and down at the curb waiting for lights to change. Cops are in coffee shops dealing with bagel deficiencies.”
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
“It isn't the sort of argument Pointsman relishes either. But he glances sharply at this young anarchist in his red scarf. "Pavlov believed that the ideal, the end we all struggle toward in science, is the true mechanical explanation. He was realistic enough not to expect it in his lifetime. Or in several lifetimes more. But his hope was for a long chain of better and better approximations. His faith ultimately lay in a pure physiological basis for the life of the psyche. No effect without cause, and a clear train of linkages.

"It's not my forte, of course," Mexico honestly wishing not to offend the man, but really, "but there's a feeling about that cause-and-effect may have been taken as far as it will go. That for science to carry on at all, it must look for a less narrow, a less . . . sterile set of assumptions. The next great breakthrough may come when we have the courage to junk cause-and-effect entirely, and strike off at some other angle."

"No - not 'strike off.' Regress. You're 30 years old, man. There are no 'other angles.' There is only forward - into it – or backward.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Smog hung all round the horizon, the sun on the bright beige countryside was painful; she and the Chevy seemed parked at the centre of an odd, religious instant. As if, on some other frequency, or out of the eye of some whirlwind rotating too slow for her heated skin even to feel the centrifugal coolness of, words were being spoken.”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“Shit, money, and the Word, the three American truths, powering the American mobility, claimed the Slothrops, clasped them for good to the country’s fate.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“American voices, country voices, high-pitched and without mercy. He lies freezing, wondering if the bedsprings will give him away. For possibly the first time he is hearing America as it must sound to a non-American. Later he will recall that what surprised him most was the fanaticism, the reliance not just on flat force but on the rightness of what they planned to do…he’d been told long ago to expect this sort of thing from Nazis, and especially from Japs—we were the ones who always played fair—but this pair outside the door now are as demoralizing as a close-up of John Wayne (the angle emphasizing how slanted his eyes are, funny you never noticed before) screaming “BANZAI!”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“The classic hustle is still famous, even today, for the cold purity of its execution: bring opium from India, introduce it into China00howdy Fong, this here’s opium, opium, this is Fong—ah, so, me eatee!—no-ho-ho, Fong, you smokee, smokee, see? pretty soon Fong’s coming back for more and more, so you create an inelastic demand for that shit, get China to make it illegal, then sucker China into a couple-three disastrous wars over the right of your merchants to sell opium, which by now you are describing as sacred. You win, China loses. Fantastic.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow


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