Monday, December 21, 2009

Readings: Behind the Curtain, Part 4


ARPAnet 1969

Following is the final installment of my reflections on Thomas Pynchon's novel, Inherent Vice. The denoument is summed up in one sentence:

“It’s all data. One and zeros. All recoverable. Eternally present.”

So sez Sparky, a kind of keyboarding lab rat, deputy to Fritz, the ur-Nerd, surrounded by monitors, all patched into the ARPAnet, first ancestor of today’s internet. Working on a case, Doc is wont to go to these primitive hackers for information. And so, the birth of the Cyber-Information Age, the realization of a kind of “eternal life,” perhaps infernal--also in 1969, btw—is the final thematic thread running through Inherent Vice and adding its portion to our grasp of the gist of the novel’s title. It brings us right up to the point where we sit together now at our collective keyboards, bathed in the glow of our mutual monitors.

Inherent Vice is a worthwhile read: I recommend it.
Part 3 is here.