- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
|If your edition has 183 pages, follow the pages marked a:||If your edition has 152 pages,
a: 23, b: ? - Sick Dick and the Volkswagens
Fictional, but a 1970s New York City punk band adopted the name.  "I Want to Kiss Your Feet" no doubt an allusion to the 1963 Beatles hit, "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Might this mean that Pynchon was fond of the Beatles but "did not believe in" them?
a: 24, b: ? - printed circuit
Many people have undoubtedly seen civilization from a plane or high place and been reminded of a circuit board, but this description is probably one of, if not the first time it's been set down in American fiction.
a: 25, b: ? - believe in his job
Echoes the "believe in" language from two pages back. Pynchon is drawing a metaphor between "believing in" a band and "believing in" a job.
a: 25, b: ? - religious instant
May be a stretch, but Pynchon's works seem to have many such "religious instants," in which a character experiences a flood of ideas and emotions in just a few moments. Similar to the "Proustian moment" or Joycean epiphany?
a: 25, b: ? - giants of the aerospace industry
Pynchon worked as a technical writer at Boeing from 1960-62.
a: 26, b: ? - horse
a: 26, b: ? - the Paranoids
Some fan has made a mock-up of what a CD by The Paranoids might look like, here.
a: 30, b: ? - Gallipoli
The Battle of Gallipoli took place at Gallipoli from April 1915 to December 1915 during the First World War. A joint British and French operation was mounted in an effort to eventually capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul). The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides. Wikipedia
a: 31, b: ? - hierophany
Physical manifestation of the holy or sacred. This manifestation can be in many forms, often in symbols or rituals. An example of a hierophany would be an apparition or image appearing on a window bearing resemblance to the virgin Mary.
a: 31, b: ? - Book of the Dead
ancient Egyptian funerary text used by the ancient Egyptians as a set of instructions for the afterlife. Not all the spells were used for every burial; some depended on wealth and status. Some spells were gifts to the gods, while other were used so the person could walk, a spell for not dying again in the afterlife, and even a spell 'For preventing a man from going upside down and from eating feces' Wikipedia
a: 31, b: ? - singling up all lines
Pynchon was in the Navy for a spell and "single up all lines" is a common nautical term. Ships are docked with lines doubled -- that is, with two sets of ropes or chains holding the vessel to the dock. To "single up all lines" is to remove the redundant second lines in preparation to make way.
Pynchon uses this term in almost all his novels, notably as the first sentence of Against the Day. For more, see ATD page 3.
a: 33, b: ? - a cash nexus
a: 33, b: ? - Manni di Presso
a: 36, b: ? - Botticelli
Botticelli is a guessing game which requires the players to have a good knowledge of biographical details of famous people. The game has several variants, but the common theme is that one person or team thinks of a famous person, reveals their initial letter, and then answers yes/no questions to allow other players to guess the identity. Wikipedia
a: 47, b: ? - oscilloscope... Lissajous figures
An oscilloscope is a piece of electronic test equipment that allows signal voltages to be viewed, usually as a two-dimensional graph. Wikipedia Lissajous curves (Lissajous figures or Bowditch curves) are the graph of the system of parametric equations which describes complex harmonic motion, and are displayed on oscilloscope monitors. Wikipedia
a: 47, b: ? - Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen (b. 1928) is a German composer, and one of the most important and controversial composers of the 20th century. He is best known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music and controlled chance in serial composition. Wikipedia
a: 48, b: ? - Mike Fallopian
Obviously, Fallopian tubes are two very fine tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals into the uterus.
a: 49, b: ? - Disgruntled
Pynchon's fictional navy includes the USS Scaffold and the Susanna Squaducci (V.), the John E. Badass (GR), and the Inconvenience (ATD).
a: 49, b: ? - Bogatir... Gaidamak
The bogatyr was a medieval Russian heroic warrior, comparable to the Western European knight errant. Wikipedia The parallel with Charlemagne's "paladins" may be even closer.
At the time of the U.S. Civil War, gaidamak or haydamak denoted an 18th century Ukrainian fighter for national independence. The name is sometimes translated as "Ukrainian Cossack," perhaps in part because it was extended to Cossack anti-Bolshevik troops after the 1917 revolution.
a: 50, b: ? - Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an Americanist organization founded in 1958 to fight what it saw as growing threats to the Constitution of the United States, especially a suspected communist infiltration of the United States government, and to support free enterprise. It was named after John Birch, a United States military intelligence officer and Baptist missionary in World War II who was killed in 1945 by armed supporters of the Communist Party of China, and whom the JBS describes as "the first American victim of the Cold War." Wikipedia
"Our left-leaning friends in the Birch society" is a joke as the Birch Society was right-wing, although of course Fallopian is being serious. The PPS is beyond far right in this sense.
a: 51, b: ? - Marxism... Industrial anything
Some critics have interpreted this to mean that the Pinguid Society is so anti-communist that it even opposed capitalism... because it led inevitably to communism! While funny, this seems to miss the point. The guiding philosophy of the Pinguid Society is not anti-communism. It opposes "industrial anything", which indicates a belief in another philosophy Pynchon has written much on, Ludditisim. See Wikipedia entry on Luddite; the 1984 essay, Is it OK to be a Luddite? by Pynchon; and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Luddite, an essay on Minstral Island, the aborted sci-fi musical written by Pynchon and future leading Luddite, Kirkpatrick Sale.
a: 58, b: ? - sfacim<br? Italian slang, literally "semen" but also used as an insult roughly equivalent to "son of a bitch."
a: 58, b: ? - Darrowlike
Clarence Seward Darrow (1857 - 1938) was a famous American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for defending teenaged thrill killers and defending John T. Scopes in the so-called "Monkey" Trial. Wikipedia
Hollander interprets the mention of Darrow as proof of his theory that the Russian naval encounter described by Fallopian is a reference to the purchase of Alaska from Russia, "Seward's folly."
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