Sixty years after the publication of The Recognitions, his first novel, how do we describe the literary reputation of William Gaddis?
Since at least Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, and now with Joshua Cohen’s Book of Numbers, we’ve seen the rise of the phrase “Internet novel” — as if anyone knows what that means. Even so, here is an incomplete chronology of the Internet novel, from 1984 to the present day, beginning with William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
Pot-smoking and pop-culture consumption go hand in hand: do the former, and you run the risk of only wanting to partake in the latter. So it makes some sense that pop culture has taken ample advantage of pot. At its funniest, it’s given us the stoner comedy of Richard Linklater, the Coen Brothers, Amy Heckerling, and Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. At its trippiest and most philosophical, it yielded some of the greatest art of (and set in) the ’60s and ’70s, from The Beatles to Dylan, Fear and Loathing to Inherent Vice. Then there are the more lively party-stoner creations, represented here by hip-hop touchstones The Chronic, Missy Elliott, and The Beastie Boys. Farther afield, we get the inadvertent stoner favorite, a diverse subset that ranges widely, from Adventure Time to David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Each of these categories is well represented in Flavorwire’s Stoner Canon, which we’re proud to present in celebration of …Read More
Did Thomas Pynchon Predict Parallel Universes, Mini Black Holes, and the Death of the Big Bang Theory?
“It’s effectively a new machine,” said CERN physicist David Charlton of the Large Hadron Collider. After two years of upgrades, the planet’s most expensive physics experiment is set to relaunch at twice the energy of its initial run. And in a new paper, a team of astrophysicists suggests that the miniature black holes that may be discovered by the LHC could detect parallel universes, validating their existence under a theory called Gravity’s Rainbow. You may recognize the name of this theory as the selfsame title of Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel about the V-2 rocket in WWII. The novel, which is famously difficult, was awarded the 1974 National Book Award for Fiction. It also features (apparently correct) complex equations and longueurs on quantum …Read More
The twin publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture and Mohamedou Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary has unleashed a disorienting irony: in the Age of Total Information Awareness, in the era of the NSA dragnet, meaning itself is redacted. The more information our government collects, the less we seem to know. Even worse: the gap between what those in power know and what we know now overwhelms the dragnets of our imaginations. This explains why our philosophers, like Slavoj Žižek, revert to the platitudes of Donald Rumsfeld to explain the issues of the day: under the tyranny of unknown knowns, even our public intellectuals bow down to the knowledge, the intelligence, of the governing elite.
For a reader, there’s something magical about picking up a first novel — that promise of discovery, the possibility of finding a new writer whose work you can love for years to come, the likelihood of semi-autobiography for you to mull over. The debut is even more important for the writer — after all, you only get one first impression. Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic first impressions to be had. Click through for some of the greatest first novels written since 1950 — some that sparked great careers, some that are still the writers’ best work, and some that remain free-standing. …Read More
The leaves turn, the air gets colder, and a publication devoted to men makes a list of “80 Books Every Man Should Read” that has just one female writer on it. It’s just one slight in a list that’s slanted towards the great white male literary perspective that’s so common these days. Instead of getting mad, we here at Flavorwire wanted to counter that vibe by asking our favorite feminist writers what they think “every man should read.” The results were funny, smart, and a true reflection of the complex lives that we all …Read More
Paul Thomas Anderson took five years to make his 2007 oil epic There Will Be Blood. He took another five years to make 2012’s Scientology-inspired The Master. He banged out his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice in two, and you can feel the difference—in the best possible way. The two films that preceded it marked the filmmaker’s transition from wunderkind to Serious Artist; by turns wrenching, challenging, and borderline impenetrable, they plunged the depths of American history and the American soul. Vice, by contrast, is a slang-y, breezy lark, a picture whose two-and-a-half-hour running time, Oscar-friendly release date, and premiere as the Centerpiece selection at the New York Film Festival make it sound like a more important movie than it is—or, more importantly, than Anderson seems to think it is. After a decade spent making two films that are like pressure cookers, he was clearly ready to blow off some steam.