A Screaming Comes Across the Sky
A Screaming Comes Across the Sky is the name of a percussion-heavy orchestral work by David Heuser, the winner of the 2007 American Composer Competetition. Called “all-American music at its most dynamic and visceral” by The Houston Chronicle, the work was recently played by the Columbia Orchestra. It takes its name from the first line of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.
A Screaming Comes Across the Sky Non Sequitur Music has a small page dedicated to the work, with the entirety of the 6-minute piece available for listening.
Music of 3 Americans Emerging Saturday June 1, 2007, Baltimore Sun. Judah E. Adashi describes Heuser’s work in this article.
Pynchon Letter to the UK Press
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Pynchon adds his voice in support of Ian McEwan against charges of plagiaraism.
Gravity’s Rainbow Illustrated
November 2006 will see the publication in book form of Zak Smith’s monumental illustrations to Gravity’s Rainbow, as seen at the Whitney Biennial in New York City and hosted online here at The Modern Word since April 2005.
Gravity’s Rainbow Illustrated: One Picture for Every Page
By Zak Smith
Tin House Books, Box Set, 784 pages, $39.95
New Pynchon Novel!
Against the Day
By Thomas Pynchon
Penguin, Hardcover, 1120 pages, $35.00
November 21, 2006
Thomas Pynchon’s sixth novel is titled Against the Day. In a Pynchonian first, The Man himself has issued a tongue-in-cheek blurb about the book and its subject. Hopefully it will be blurbed by Marge Simpson shortly.
Spanning the period between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.
With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.
The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.
As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s their lives that pursue them.
Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.
Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.
300-some pages in, the Quail has these first impressions of Against the Day. A full review is forthcoming...eventually....
New Yorker Pynchon Cartoon
Nov 8, 2004, New Yorker. “Pynchon’s Evil Twin” by Roz Chast. (Copyright New Yorker)
Pynchon again on The Simpsons
Thomas Pynchon will again “appear” on The Simpsons, in episiode #337, “All’s Fair in Oven War.” The episodes airs November 14, 2004.
“After Homer suddenly develops a knack for cooking, he unwittingly competes against Marge in a bake-off.”
Pynchon on The Simpsons
Thomas Pynchon lent his voice to “The Harpooned Heart,” an episode from the Simpsons 15th season. You may read more details here.
Pynchons New Intro to 1984
Thomas Pynchon penned a new introduction to Plume’s “Orwell Centennial” edition of 1984. The following section will collect articles discussing Pynchons intro.
Pynchon Brings Added Currency to 1984 David Kipen, SF Chronicle, 3 May 2003. Kipen calls Pynchons intro the finest, deepest, sanest new 20 pages around.
For the Love of Big Brother Jim Knipfel, NY Press vol 16/19. Knipfels review discusses Pynchons intro.
Pynchons 1984 Mark Feeney, Boston Globe, 29 June 2003. Feeney finds Orwell and Pynchon to be both anarchists at heart, equally suspicious of technology and hierarchy.
V. Typescript & Letters
From the University of Texas:
Recent acquisition: "Perhaps the most enigmatic American literary figure of the latter half of the twentieth century, Thomas Pynchon is renowned for his passion for secrecy, in both his private and professional life. His writing has come to define if not presage an era of conspiracies, cultural paranoia, and hidden connections in history. Part of the beauty of his work resides in how seamlessly he weaves the personal lives and emotions of his eccentric characters into the larger fabric of historical events. It is therefore with great pleasure that the Ransom Center announces the acquisition of the corrected typescript to Thomas Pynchons first novel, V., originally published in 1963. Until now, Pynchon scholarship has largely been limited to critical analyses because of the paucity of primary sources available to scholars.
"Along with V., the Ransom Center has acquired eight typed letters dating from the early 1960s, from a young Pynchon to two close friends. The letters are witty, agonizing, insightful, imaginative, full of both doubt and bravado, and peppered with expletives. In short, they are a tremendous gauge of a young authors state of mind, and indicative of the brilliance that would follow in novels such as The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravitys Rainbow.
"One letter from Mexico in 1964 details the profound effects of the Kennedy assassination on Pynchons mental state. A negative review of V. and his self-professed inability to plot have him questioning his worth as a writer, but rejection from Cal-Berkeleys math department tips the balance back in favor of writing. Pynchon also describes his role as best man at the wedding of fellow author Richard Fariña, who would die tragically in a motorcycle accident two years later.
"Following the publication of Gravitys Rainbow in 1973, which is dedicated to Fariña, Pynchon published no new novel for sixteen years, before returning to the scene with Vineland in 1989 and Mason & Dixon in 1997.
"It is estimated that this early typescript of V. contains one hundred pages of scenes ultimately excised from the published novel, as well as a dozen pages reworked almost beyond recognition. The Pynchon material at the Ransom Center should prove of great scholarly value and is a welcome addition to a growing collection of later twentieth-century literary materials."
Mistral Island Manuscript
From the University of Texas:
Recent acquisition: "The manuscript for an unproduced musical called Minstral Island by Pynchon and Kirkpatrick Sale. Early notes, outlines, and drafts for the 1958 collaboration between Pynchon and Sale which explores the year 1998 when IBM dominates the world and artists (including musicians, sailmakers, and prostitutes) are pariahs who have yet to be assigned roles in the new world order. Pynchon collaborated on the manuscript with Sale in 1958, prior to the publication of Pynchons first novel, V. Kirkpatrick Sale has written extensively on the political, economic, sociological, and environmental impacts of technology, even going so far as to reconstitute the term Luddite to describe a contemporary movement that is skeptical of uncontrolled technological advance. Pynchon manuscripts are notoriously rare, which makes this unpublished gem particularly exceptional."
Other Pynchon-related News Sources
Pynchonoid This blog, run by my dear friend Doug M., chronicles everything Pynchonian. Seriously. If it's Pynchon, it's there. Everything connects...
Google News Alert This free service combs the Web for the appearance of any desired keyword or phrase, sending you a daily digest of links. Just enter “Thomas Pynchon” to be kept up-to-date on his name in the news.
Yahoo News Search Search Yahoo for articles and news related to Pynchon.