Fifty-Seven: Full of Bouncy Houses

4.30: Gravity’s Rainbow

In which we take a look back over all of Book Three, “In the Zone,” of Gravity’s Rainbow.

We’re going to take a little break before we return with The Counterforce. Keep an eye our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates announcing our return.


If you want to hear Das Racsit’s “You Oughta Know,” you can find it here.

You can have a look at Nietzsche’s The Gay Science over at Google Books.

The outro song is “Whatever I Want (Fuck Who’s Watching)” by Death Grips from their album Government Plates. Here’s the full song on YouTube.

6 thoughts on “Fifty-Seven: Full of Bouncy Houses

  1. (I think that was me: the person referred to as stating that “in Pynchon, magick always works”

    A Pynchon fan named Robin Landseadel is the person who noticed and made me aware

  2. You mentioned that a listener said someone had solved the issue of Slothrop and his map of conquests, whether or not they were real, in a paper published in 1981. Did they ever provide a link to that paper or any further information on it?

  3. If Pynchon was presumably using WW2 as code to talk directly about the Vietnam era, I always took Slothrop to be somewhat analogous to America’s role in Vietnam, where you had a lot of young guys taken against their will, dropped onto foreign soil, with the goal being for the military industrial complex to condition them into killing machines as efficiently as it could. The same way gestures are exaggerated in the theater, everything about “America’s” experience is dialed up to extreme. So, for example, instead of 17-year old boy being dropped into basic training, you have a literal infant being conditioned to actually fetishize the dropping of bombs, and instead of shooting nameless villagers you have literally raping a child. You get the sense that by the time Slothrop is in the zone, he is already dehumanized by the system (note how many times during the Bianca chapters leading up to their sexual encounter, Slothrop mentions almost wanting to vomit. Maybe I haven’t had enough sex, but I don’t recall ever having to fight back nausea when my arousal was genuine).

    1. Wow. That’s an interesting take that I haven’t thought about before. (Vietnam, not the nausea-from-sex bit, which is a whole other thing.)

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