Pynchon, Redux

John Jacobsen
Friday, January 11, 2008

Home Other Posts

Earlier post Flights: Round 1 southpole

Later post Shortcut to Toast southpole

“Everyone has an Antarctic.” – V

During last year’s trip, I strained to finish Gravity’s Rainbow while at Pole. I’d lifted my copy of Rainbow from the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO) at Pole in 2000, and brought it back with an eye to finishing it and leaving it behind. I failed, but finished it a month or so later, and then tackled and summited his latest, Against the Day, which, while longer and less poetically gorgeous than Rainbow, was an easier read, and just as fun.

This year I thought it fitting to bring down, in Rainbow’s stead, my copy of Pynchon’s V, purchased in Geneva, Switzerland in 1990. Never managed to finish it despite several attempts, but after Rainbow and Day it should be doable. I’m going to see how far I can get until Station Close - I have a month. We shall see.

I think Pole is a great place to read Pynchon. Here’s why Antarctica feels like a Pynchon novel:

  • Dozens or hundreds of quirky but poorly-elaborated personalities advance and recede from view, colliding in myriad ways, like solitary molecules bonding in various configurations and then flying apart;
  • The tenor of Science lurks everywhere, a kind of unifying thermal paste holding the whole thing together, but you’re not sure exactly how or why;
  • Lots of strenuous effort bent in all sorts of absurd ways (drilling holes 2 miles into ice? Christmas trees made out of metal parts in the machine shop? Driving for hundreds of miles across icy wastes searching for meteorites? Running naked from 200 degree sauna out into -100 winter air?);
  • Lots of stuff happens, sometimes exciting, often tedious, often painfully beautiful, usually strange; but there really isn’t much of a plot.

Earlier post Flights: Round 1 southpole

Later post Shortcut to Toast southpole

Posts (153)

Select from below, or choose only posts for:clojure southpole misc python art code


Home


Reflections on a Year of Daily Memory Drawings art

Repainting art

Marathon southpole

Daily Memory Drawings art

Questions to Ask art

Macro-writing Macros code clojure

Time Limits art

Lazy Physics code clojure

Fun with Instaparse code clojure

Nucleotide Repetition Lengths code clojure

Updating the Genome Decoder code clojure

Getting Our Hands Dirty (with the Human Genome) code clojure

Validating the Genome Decoder code clojure

A Two Bit Decoder code clojure

Exploratory Genomics with Clojure code clojure

Rosalind Problems in Clojure code clojure

Introduction to Context Managers in Python code python

Processes vs. Threads for Integration Testing code python

Resources for Learning Clojure code clojure

Continuous Testing in Python, Clojure and Blub code clojure python

Programming Languages code

Milvans and Container Malls southpole

Oxygen southpole

Ghost southpole

Turkey, Stuffing, Eclipse southpole

Wind Storm and Moon Dust southpole

Shower Instructions southpole

Fresh Air and Bananas southpole

Traveller and the Human Chain southpole

Reveille southpole

Drifts southpole

Bon Voyage southpole

A Nicer Guy? southpole

The Quiet Earth southpole

Ten southpole

Plein Air art

ISO50 southpole art

In Defense of Hobbies misc code art

Closure southpole

Takeoff southpole

Mummification southpole

Eleventh Hour southpole

Diamond southpole

Baby, It’s Cold Outside southpole

Fruition southpole

Friendly Radiation southpole

A Place That Wants You Dead southpole

Deep Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls southpole

Retrograde southpole

Three southpole

Transitions southpole

The Future southpole

Sunday southpole

Radio Waves southpole

Settling In southpole

Revolution Number Nine southpole

Red Eye to McMurdo southpole

That’s the Way southpole

Faults in Ice and Rock southpole

Bardo southpole

Chasing the Sun southpole

Downhole southpole

Coming Out of Hibernation southpole

Managing the Most Remote Data Center in the World code southpole

Photoshop on a Dime art

Man on Wire misc

Posing Rigs art

Metric art

Cuba southpole

Wickets southpole

Safe southpole

Broken Glasses southpole

End of the Second Act southpole

Pigs and Fish southpole

Last Arrivals southpole

Lily White southpole

In a Dry and Waterless Place southpole

Immortality southpole

Routine southpole

Tourists southpole

Passing Notes southpole

Translation southpole

RNZAF southpole

The Usual Delays southpole

CHC southpole

Wyeth on Another Planet art

Detox southpole

Packing southpole

Nails southpole

Gearing Up southpole

Gouache, and a new system for conquering the world art

Fall 2008 HPAC Studies art

YABP (Yet Another Blog Platform) southpole

A Bath southpole

Green Marathon southpole

Sprung southpole

Outta Here southpole

Lame Duck DAQer southpole

Eclipse Town southpole

One More Week southpole

IceCube Laboratory Video Tour; Midrats Finale southpole

SPIFF, Party, Shift Change southpole

Good things come in threes, or 18s southpole

Sleepless in the Station southpole

Post Deploy southpole

Midrats southpole

IceCube and The Beatles southpole

Video: Flight to South Pole southpole

The Pure Land southpole

Almost There southpole

There are no mice in the Hotel California Bunkroom southpole

Short Timer southpole

Sleepy in MacTown southpole

Superposition of Luggage States southpole

Sir Ed southpole

Shortcut to Toast southpole

Flights: Round 1 southpole

Packing for the Pole southpole

Goals for Trip southpole

Balaklavas southpole

Tree and Man (Test Post) southpole

Schedule southpole

How to mail stuff to John at the South Pole southpole

Summer and Winter southpole

Homeward Bound southpole

Redeployment southpole

Short-timer southpole

The Cleanest Air in the World southpole

One more day (?) southpole

One more week (?) southpole

Closing Softly southpole

More Photos southpole

Super Bowl Wednesday southpole

Night Owls southpole

First Week southpole

More Ice Pix southpole

Settling In southpole

NPX southpole

Pole Bound southpole

Bad Dirt southpole

The Last Laugh southpole

Nope southpole

First Delay southpole

Batteries and Sheep southpole

All for McNaught southpole

The Big (Really really big…) Picture southpole

t=0 southpole

Giacometti southpole

Descent southpole

Video Tour southpole

How to subscribe to blog updates southpole

What The Blog is For southpole

Home