Fifty-Nine: The Robot Crab Who I Absolutely Love Now

04.32: Gravity’s Rainbow

In which we finally discuss the long-awaited story of Byron the Bulb, as featured in chapter 3 of Book Four of Gravity’s Rainbow.
To hear Pavarotti sing “La Dona e Mobile,” here it is on YouTube.

Chris mentions this rather famous picture of a Buddhist monk self-immolating in protest.

Chris also mentions a song by Pere Ubu called “Mister Wheeler.” You can check that out on their Bandcamp page.

2 thoughts on “Fifty-Nine: The Robot Crab Who I Absolutely Love Now

  1. I feel “Bulb Baby Heaven” a play on the “stork” cartoons, where babies — who are inexplicably fully formed and possessing all regular baby physiology — are nonetheless waiting around in clouds to be “born” (or in Byron’s case, “manufacturing day.”) The science of how a woman would be physically pregnant with a baby that is also existing somewhere else entirely, fully formed is never addressed by the trope (any more than stories that feature Santa Claus as real entity address how Santa-denying adults account for their children’s Christmas presents magically appearing on time), but I wonder how much of Pynchon’s more fantastical scenes that make no sense to us are referencing well known tropes that have just fallen out of common usage. Sometimes I think he is being less brilliant and insightful than we’re inclined to give him credit for and is literally just riffing on a cartoon he saw.

  2. all the stuff with the chicken and also the wheels at the sky mention possibly to the bhuddist karma wheel or life wheel, the circle of karma. in this wheel are symbols of chicken, snakes and pigs, the chicken stands for greed.

Comments are closed.