- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
Page numbers refer to editions with 385 pages, where the story begins on page 3. Not sure if there are other editions with variant pagination. Please let us know otherwise.
"Zero Profile Paint & Body"
makes Trans-Am invisible. A distant echo of Imipolex G in Gravity's Rainbow?
A not-so-distant echo of Wonder Woman's invisible airplane.
Similar, Predator-esque camo, turns up in Against the Day as well.
"little robot fridge [named Raoul], with two round video screens...each with an image of a cartoon eye."
This is so cute! And, significantly, this robot icebox delivers "refrigerator tunes."
Science fiction window dressing, presumably an imaginary subassembly of the make-believe time machine. Tachyons are whimsical sub-atomic particles; the root is from the Greek = swift.
Trivia alert: tachyons figure prominently in the 1980 serial The Leisure Hive of Doctor Who. Be careful spotting possible Doctor Who references in Pynchon. Once you start, there's no end to them, and all, perhaps, purely coincidental. This one, however, seemed worthy of mentioning since "The Leisure Hive" was a famous Doctor Who serial that predated "Vineland" and actually had a kind of tachyon chamber in it.
"exactly a tenth of a second after the warranty ran out, the 'sucker blew..."
Clearly a hair-trigger critical-need-detector.
"distant wash of freeway sound, the concrete surf"
Nice writing. Is this the sound beer-riders hear? Or Chuck Berry's "highway sound" (from "Maybelline")?
See note, p. 116.
"grown up in New York City and, except for geographically, never left it..."
Ah, we know the type.
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) classified mankind into types, according to physical appearance. Xanthochroi, one of his classes, is a subdivision of the Leiotrichi, or smooth-haired type, having yellow or light-colored hair and a pale complexion. This is the prevailing type in Northern Europe. Aryan. Either Pynchon, his editor, or his typesetter has dropped the "h" in "chroi."
Poteet, Texas is a small town south of San Antonio. Comic-strip hero Steve Canyon's ward was adopted from an orphanage there, and bore the name "Poteet Canyon."
Yiddish for "trouble."
Yiddish for "a state of confusion." Yiddish is very rich in words for trouble and confusion.
"When backs were left uncovered and chores undone..."
The interpersonal dynamics of 24fps are very convincing.
Yiddish for "non-Jewish man." This one happens to be Brock Vond.
Page 200"her faithful 16mm Canon Scoopic"
The Canon Scoopic 16, introduced in 1965, was the first 16mm movie camera with a built-in zoom lens. It has a phallic appearance.
"this one [shot] of Brock ended up on a bedsheet"
Specifically, this means projected on an improvised bedsheet screen, but of course it also foreshadows the smell of sexual developments before the fact.
"...you got some real pretty takes of this creep..."
DL catches on right away that Frenesi is falling for Vond.
"The roll ended."
But the flashback continues. Very smooth transition.
"Then a man in a uniform, with a big pistol, would have to make you come"
Sinister/sexy wordplay foreshadows the rapid development of Vond's takeover of Frenesi, and her infatuation with him. It's actually a microcosmic bondage scene, in which Frenesi, the bound partner, is freed of responsibility and guilt.
"arguments about light"
Here Pynchon exposes the arguments that 24fps have about light. Though they believe they are all working for one cause, this seems to be their major argument, something they cannot agree upon. Meaning-of-life/origin-of-life/religious metaphor? See also p. 185.
Some resonance here to Gravity's Rainbow, and the tale of Byron the Bulb.
"Central Power itself, merciless as a tornado ... only become, for a while, less visible"
This is a clue about what it is about Brock Vond that attracts Frenesi.
"You don't die for no motherfuckin' shadows"
High-powered tear gas but note that the initials are the same as DL's Czech motorcycle.