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776 pages, Paperback
First published February 28, 1973
’The young statistician is devoted to number and method, not table-rapping or wishful thinking. But in the domain of zero to one, not-something to something. Pointsman can only possess the zero and the one. He cannot, like Mexico, survive anyplace in between…. to Mexico belongs the domain between zero and one – the middle Pointsman has excluded from his persuasion – the probabilities.’
‘by riding each branch the proper distance, knowing when to transfer, keeping some state of minimum grace though it might often look like he’s headed the wrong way, this network of all plots may yet carry him to freedom.’
If there is something comforting – religious, if you want, about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long. Well right now, Slothrop feels himself sliding onto the anti-paranoid part of his cycle, feels the whole city around him going back roofless, vulnerable, uncentered as he is, and only pasteboard images now of the Listening Enemy left between him and the wet sky’
‘This war was never political at all, the politics was all theater, all just to keep the people distracted…secretly it was being dictated instead by the needs of technology….by a conspiracy between human beings and techniques’
…after a heavy rain he doesn't recall, Slothrop sees a very thick rainbow here, a stout rainbow cock driven down out of pubic clouds into Earth, green wet valleyed Earth, and his chest fills and he stands crying, not a thing in his head, just feeling natural…
Well. What happens when paranoid meets paranoid? A crossing of solipsisms. Clearly. The two patterns create a third: a moire, a new world of flowing shadows, interferences.
They have taken him so far from his simple nerves. They have stuffed paper illusions and military euphemisms between him and this truth, this rare decency, this moment at her scrupulous feet…not it’s not guilt here, not so much as amazement—that he could have listened to so many years of ministers, scientists, doctors each with his specialized lies to tell, when she was here all the time, sure in her ownership of his failing body, his true body: undisguised by uniform, uncluttered by drugs to keep from her communiqués of vertigo, nausea, and pain….Above all, pain. The clearest poetry, the endearment of greatest worth…I have never been in a war. I do not claim to understand the agony that those who participate go through, neither the soldier nor the civilian. But this I can recognize, this horrid disconnection from reality that results from society blocking you off from the realities of life with words, words, worthless words that rise like so much smoke and fall like so much ash when you realize it is all lies and there is nothing, nothing to prepare you for the truth of life and you become exquisitely aware of what They have conditioned you to be. And the question arises of whether life in this sleazed and sycophantic lubricant is worth it, and reality dims to a faint question of hunger and thirst, and your thoughts clamor at you to the edge of the precipice and all you can think about is how a permanent vacation from all this banality of evil would be nice. Very nice indeed. And the only thing that can draw you back is some confirmation that through all the living muck you are indeed alive. What is an easier answer to that eternal question than pain? Better yet, what is a more conscientious answer than pain, willingly inflicted upon the self in a controlled and safe environment, rather than going out and inflicting oneself on others in the forms of murder, rape, and physical destruction? With that in mind, who dares claim that they, an untouched outsider, have the right to condemn such a thing?
“Looking back on things, it seems to me that whatever the fuck is wrong with me is in some way related to whatever the fuck is wrong with Pynchon. And if that is indeed the case, well. I can live with that.”
-Aubrey (June 16, 2013)
An Approach for Simulating Text Consistent With Gravity’s Rainbow
Technical Report issued 6 July 2012 by the Simulation Lab Originating Text-based Handiwork (SLOTH)
A ⊂ (WWII Historical Almanac, V-2 Rocket Technical Manual, Pavlovian Psychology [loaded in backwards], German-English Dictionary, Freud’s Comprehensive List of Phallic Symbols, phrasebooks for various romance languages, Anthology of Daft ‘n’ Bawdy Poetry, Urban Thesaurus [1945 edition], Guidebook to Pharmacology, Introduction to Tarot Symbolism, Applications in Multivariate Calculus and Differential Equations, a short book of surprisingly tender love stories, a longer book of genuinely raunchy lust stories, and an assortment of engineering textbooks)
f(k, λ) = λ^k ⋅ exp(-λ) / k!
where k is the number of insertion points for each sub-block of S1, ! denotes factorial, and λ is the mean inclusion rate (λ > 0, but not by much)
The sprawling narrative comprises numerous threads having to do either directly or tangentially with the secret development and deployment of a rocket by the Nazis near the end of World War II. Lieutenant Tyrone Slothrop is an American working for Allied Intelligence in London. Agents of the Firm, a clandestine military organization, are investigating an apparent connection between Slothrop's erections and the targeting of incoming V-2 rockets. As a child, Slothrop was the subject of experiments conducted by a Harvard professor who is now a Nazi rocket scientist. Slothrop's quest for the truth behind these implications leads him on a nightmarish journey of either historic discovery or profound paranoia, depending on his own and the reader's interpretation.
Cause ⇔ Effect +/- δt
where δt = α + β⋅δJ + σ⋅δz with J being a jump parameter; δz being Gaussian (not DeLillovian) white noise; and α, β ‘n’ σ being user-defined constants.
U := incidence of urolagnia
C := incidence of coprophagia
K := incidence of kinkiness of any other form
∫ ∫ U(x,y) dx dy = ★★★
Ever since reading about Benjamin Franklin in an American propaganda leaflet, kite, thunder and key, the undertaker has been obsessed with this business of getting hit in the head by a lightning bolt. All over Europe, it came to him one night in a flash (though not the kind he wanted), at this very moment, are hundreds, who knows maybe thousands, of people walking around, who have been struck by lightning and survived. What stories they could tell!
Imagine a missile one hears approaching only after it explodes. The reversal! A piece of time neatly snipped out... a few feet of film run backwards... the blast of the rocket, fallen faster than sound—then growing out of it the roar of its own fall, catching up to what's already death and burning... a ghost in the sky...