Against the Day Weblog

December 19, 2006

Missing the point

Filed under: General,Notes — basileios @ 10:17 am

Ok, we have gone this through more times that I want to remember. Against the Day is a novel about change, about the brief moments just before the explosion when everything is in a state of chaos that is ordered by the explosion itself (remember the Proudhon quote Anarchy is Order?).

As is often the case with Pynchon science is used as a means of parallelizing the social political status of the world with elements of science. The time of the book is just perfect for all the changes in the scientific paradigms that brought forward ‘modern physics’ (quantum mechanics and relativity). Yet herein lies the wonderful bit about Pynchon and Against the Day.

Pynchon failed to feel into the trap of entering the cliche of talking about the theory of relativity and Einstein. Yes, special and general relativity are almost everywhere in the book (like the E=mc**2 formula described in page 565) but they do not play the crucial role of change that a medium caliber writer would make them play. Instead Pynchon dives deep in the actual theory, picks out the element that was transformed by the paradigm change (light), something which is often missed by many professional scientists, and uses this as the central metaphor for the whole book.

Frankly, I find this simply brilliant.

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