1) Reading fiction is so much easier than reading theory. Not to say that one is above the other -- difficulty level is divorced from merit. (or, difficulty and merit are perhaps corellated but not causal). Thomas Pynchon, although discursive (and I mean discursive in the rambly, wordy, perambulatory sense, not the Foucaultian one) and wandering and such, flows directly into my brain and I understand crisply and precisely (accuracy not guaranteed) what he's saying, at least in terms of grasping movement and flow. Perhaps this is the time to re-read Ulysses again.
2) I can see why people call Pynchon postmodern, as in the after-Modernism sense, as in global capitalism makes comprehension impossible, that there are micronarratives that reject the hegemonic dominance of the grand narrative of Modernism speaking for all of humanity, that it deals with simulacra that is a copy without an original, copies copying copies:
The desire to seek this metanarrative, some overarching order:
The spatial layout of the city is overlaid with the planned and orderly creation of a circuit board populated and organized by transistors, resistors, only in relation to an unseen yet tangible order and flow of power on the other side of the PCB, rivulets of metal, conduits of organization and relation. Oedipa's own hallucinatory mirage-like conception of this city is her own conception, a nostalgic specter for technological/Enlightement rationality and order -- unlike the desperate floundering of her husband who has already rejected this and cannot believe. Desire for order.
jamesonian, lyotardian, baudrillardian postmodernisms.
3) Moments and moments at these tangents of paranoia and skepticism I am reminded of Fredric Jameson's quote on conspiracy. Conspiracy, and its accompanying paranoia in the novel is ultimately defined by probability, or improbability, staged-ness, uncertainty:
In other words: What are the chances? What are the probabilities of these connections, matching-ups, these coincidences? The sheer repeatedness and volume of this constellation-like occurences push events into conspiracy, overarching order, and Oedipa sees this -- "it was part of her duty, wasn't it, to bestow life on what had persisted, to try to be what Driblette was, the dark machine in the centre of the planetarium, to bring the estate into pulsing stelliferous Meaning, all in a soaring dome around her?"
Jameson's notion of conspiracy is ultimately pessimistic in that he believes in the impossibility of total comprehension and representation of the logic of late capitalism, and that conspiracy is a perhaps anachronistic pre-postmodern method of understanding the world, of coordinating or generating divisions of syntax between coherent/incoherent, meaningful/unmeaningful, dividing pure form into content and non-content as this operation of generating meaning. But a conception of the impossibility of the accuracy of this task is contrasted by the fact that this narrative exists only within a novel -- a novel/story also being a linear progression of words that generates a sequence of meaning (whether the plot itself is linear or not). Out of a linear, logical sequence arises a haphazard alchemic mixture of meaning -- another mapping of sorts. If narrative and story generates these cognitive mappings, then The Crying of Lot 49 perhaps exists as story of story, mapping about mapping, a conspiracy of conspiracy....