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Showing 1-13 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 16, 2006 12:48:51 PM PDT
"Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.
With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them.

Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck."

--Thomas Pynchon

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2006 7:28:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2006 7:29:00 PM PDT
Shubha Ghosh says:
I love the introduction as much as the next Pynchon fan. And like the typical fan, I was shaken to see it disappear for the site. Could this all be a hoax? No book after all? Say it isn't so? Other conspiracies took shape as well before reason took over and spoke into my ear, most likely Mr. Pynchon didn't think it was ready to be posted. There is some plan, no doubt, but my guess it is benign. Should we second guess the man? Maybe, we should start re-writing GR or excising passages we don't like from Vineland.

I would rather wait for the final, authorized version to show up, as miraculously as the anouncement of a 992 page book.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2006 11:56:29 PM PDT
This is a legitimate description by the author. It is unfortunate that Amazon has pulled it as such, whether thorough error or purposefully; most likely the latter.

Jeremy Rice

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2006 11:58:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2006 12:27:08 AM PDT
This is my take on the Pynchon situation:

1. The appearances on the Simpsons
2. The French magazine photo hoax
3. The blurb controversy

Pynchon has engaged in hypertextual self-parody of the strangest order; somehow, the new novel in December will entertain notions
of self-parody. Yes, I am saying that the blurb is Pynchon parroting Pynchon.

I have huge hopes that his novel is a 992 page Pynchon self-parody.

We are the counter culture, the paranoids, Pynchon has brought
literature fully into hypertext and played us as that counter culture.

Welcome to literature's newest phase of self-parody.

How upset was I when Pynchon did the Simpsons? The same author who
won't show his picture, who once said that "recluse is a code word for
doesn't want to talk to journalist."

The French photograph hoax was too perfectly contrived--I cannot and
wil not go back to thinking about the new Pynchon novel as another
foray into the historical criss-crossing of obscure counter cultures and
their true/untrue conspiracy theories. Literature as conspiracy. (I'll
stick to that.) This is the new conspiracy, the conspiracy of identity (an attack on identity politics?).

All new counter cultures are hypertextual, web-based, the best way for
Pynchon to push the envelope is to bring the new subculture into the
"game" the best way to do that is hypertextually by entertaining
"tickling the creature" about what they are obsessed with (they are
obsessed with Pynchon the recluse, the hoax photos, what have you).

This is Pynchon's _Tale of a Tub_ for the so-called Information Age. The new "Print Age." At least, that's what I'm hoping this is. Otherwise, it's the greatest viral-marketing campaign ever waged.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2006 4:16:22 AM PDT
Shubha Ghosh says:
My own (postmodern?) take on this blurb incident is that it is not all that different from the Batchelor episode in the 1980's (or was it the 1970's?). Batchelor puts forward a theory that Salinger and Pynchon are one and same. Batchelor gets letter supposedly from Pynchon: "Nice work. Keep trying." or something to that effect. The man has always been playing with publicity and obsessions with celebrity, as the two Simpsons bits show. With the Internet, and Amazon's move to commodify the transmission and packaging of information as quickly as possible, the blurb seems a nice comment on how books, authors, and readers get celebrated nowadays. What next, a Pynchon plagiarism scandal? "How V Got Kissed,Got Wild, and Got a Life"?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2006 4:19:56 AM PDT
Jud says:
Without intending to be critical, and as someone who thoroughly enjoys Pynchon's writing, let me gently suggest that 5 people (so far) having a conversation on a web page lying deep up the Amazon doth not "the greatest viral-marketing campaign ever waged" seem to make. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2006 8:15:46 AM PDT
I'm referring to the French website hoax, the blurb situation, and the surround subculture (Pynchon-L mailing list etc.). By greatest I don't mean largest or grandest. You really have to be submerged in the discussion to understand what I mean (most of the discussion occurs on small web forums more obscure than this). A small group of "paranoids" has been, as Shubha Ghosh suggests, tracing Pynchon's identity-play for years. Besides, virtually every article written on the man discusses his reclusive status (with Pynchon Now in Bookforum being a wonderful exception to the rule). No offense, but five people discussing Pynchon on an Amazon mailing list could not be more (stock) Pynchonian.

My guess is viral-marketing or, more hopefully, a Swiftian self-parody and critique of Internet subcultures (a sort of new, updated Tale of a Tub.) Otherwise, that blurb is (1) fake, (2) written by a some publishing moron, or (3) Pynchon writing poorly. I can find no other way to read the blurb than as a parody of Pynchon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2006 12:11:54 PM PDT
D. Monroe says:
Well, I actually wrote to amazon to ask ...

"Why was the 'Book Description' allegedly written by the author himself removed from the page for the forthcoming Thomas Pynchon novel? Enquiring minds want to know ..."

"We will reply as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours."

More than a full day having passed without a response, I'll likely be demanding someone's immediate supervisor by sundown, but ...

Meanwhile, I have little doubt that it was indeed written by Pynchon, and, despite amazon having pehaps jumped the gun, it will reappear when teh title's announced. We shall see ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2006 6:56:05 PM PDT
I think, and hope this case is about closed, this was just sent to me from a good friend,
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13959469/

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2006 8:30:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 20, 2006 8:32:39 PM PDT
http://www.slate.com/id/2146272/?nav=tap3

I posted this earlier with a comment admitting my lack of vision, analytical prowess. Love that title, though. Check out Part 1 as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2006 1:55:12 PM PDT
D. Monroe says:
Call me Cassandra ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2006 3:21:36 PM PDT
The man writes books, he wrote a book. It is a new decade. The internet, etc. is too big to ignore as one goes not gently.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2007 7:56:12 PM PDT
Kathy, did you ever live in Lena?
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Discussion in:  Against the Day forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  13
Initial post:  Jul 16, 2006
Latest post:  Nov 2, 2007

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Against the Day
Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon (Paperback - September 1, 2007)
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