Monday, October 31, 2016

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon ***

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon feels like LA Confidential updated to the early 1970s and written by Kurt Vonnegut, yielding an odd mixture of science fiction/fantasy and hard-boiled mystery about private investigator Doc Sportello.
It all began, apparently, some 3 billion years ago, on a planet in a binary star system quite a good distance from Earth. Doc's name was something like Xqq...
In the current time, Doc is simultaneously stoned and and an astute observer of the human condition.
"What I should only trust good people? man, good people get bought and sold every day. Might as well trust somebody evil once in a while, it makes no more or less sense. I mean I wouldn't give odds either way."
For a strange remembrance, reconstruction of the early 1970s, this might be the book for you.

Pynchon delivers on many levels with liberal doses of clever writing and obscure references to Los Angeles geography.
Back when Doc was still new in town, one day around sunset--the daily event, not the boulevard--he was in Santa Monica near the western end of Pico...
Two nerd notes:

The title is an obscure insurance term. Inherent Vice: An exclusion found in most property insurance policies eliminating coverage for loss caused by a quality in property that causes it to damage or destroy itself, which might be taken as a metaphor for Doc or LA or not.

The APRAnet plays a small role as a harbinger of 21st century Internet, but also as a harbinger of itself, as the novel is set at a time when the ARPAnet had maybe three dozen nodes.

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