Pynchon’s Essays, Reviews, Introductions & Blurbs
Although Pynchon is best known for his novels, he has also penned a good number of essays, articles, cover blurbs, and liner notes, many of which have found their way onto the Web. This page contains some of these writings, all of which have been reproduced as HTML documents and placed online here at Spermatikos Logos. Please remember that the copyrights are exclusively held by the publication and/or Mr. Pynchon. It is not our intention to offend any copyright laws, but since many of these writings are not easy to find, we feel that we are doing Pynchon enthusiasts a small service by making them readily available.
Spermatikos Logos would like to thank the Pynchon List Archives for their assistance and resources. Additionally, if anyone knows of any other possible addition to this collection, please mail it to us.
A Journey Into the Mind of Watts
The New York Times Magazine, 12 June 1966. This article is a psychological profile of the Watts neighbourhood of L.A. and the racial tensions that gave rise to the infamous riots.
Is it O.K. to Be a Luddite?
The New York Times Book Review, 28 October 1984. This essay discusses the history of the Luddite movement and the many ways it has resurfaced throughout the years.
Nearer, My Couch, to Thee
The New York Times Book Review, 6 June 1993. This essay, part of their “Seven Deadly Sins” serial, focuses on Sloth.
Mortality and Mercy in Vienna
From Cornell University’s Spring 1959 Epoch, this is one of Pynchon’s first short stories.
New! Voice of the Hamster
A fiction serialized in four issues of Pynchon’s high school newspaper, the Oyster Bay High School Purple and Gold, in 1952-53.
New! The Boys
Another piece from Pynchon’s high school newspaper. A short, humorous piece on Pynchon’s band of high school chums, a shadowy group whose secret membership is finally revealed when they are photographed for the first time...!
New! Ye Legend of Sir Stupid and the Purple Knight
Another piece from Pynchon’s high school newspaper. A short Arthurian parody.
Reprinted from Holiday, December 1965, this is a review of Oakley Hall’s western, Warlock. (Pynchon was asked to select a favorite “neglected” book.)
The Heart’s Eternal Vow
The New York Times 10 April 1988, this is a long and compassionate review of Gabriel García Márquez’s “shining and heartbreaking” novel, Love in the Time of Cholera.
Introduction to Fariña
An introduction to his friend Richard Fariña’s 1966 novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.
The introductory essay from The Writings of Donald Barthelme
Stone Junction Introduction
Pynchon’s introduction to Jim Dodge’s Stone Junction contains some pointed musings on cyberspace and privacy in the Internet age.
New! The Road to 1984
For their “Orwell Centennial” editions, Plume asked Thomas Pynchon to pen a new foreword to 1984. The result is an insightful look at Orwell’s contemporary mindset, the Orwellian methods that modern governments use to maintain control, and the possible optimism found in the novel’s oft-neglected appendices.
Spiked! The Music of Spike Jones
The text of Pynchon’s 1994 liner notes for a Catalyst Spike Jones CD.
Lotion: Nobody’s Cool
The liner notes from Lotion’s 1995 CD.
This page lists the books that Pynchon has endorsed with a paragraph or two on the jacket or back cover. Each book is annotated with a brief synopsis culled from the Web and has links to ordering information.
Letters & Miscellaneous
Reprinted from from Aerospace Safety, December 1960. This article dates from when Pynchon worked with Boeing, and is an essay on safety in regards to loading missles. Though it is not the most riverting thing he has ever penned, its mix of Puritanical caution and wry wit are charmingly Pynchonesque.
Letter to the Editor (Genghis Cohen)
Reprinted from from The New York Times Book Review, 17 July 1966. A brief and charmingly acerbic defense to a charge of plagarism.
Words for Salman Rushdie
Reprinted from The New York Times Book Review, 12 March 1989, this is a few lines of grateful encouragement to author Salman Rushdie.
New! The Evolution of The Daily Show
From the program of “The Daily Show: Ten Fu@#ing Years (the Concert),” held November 16, 2006 in New York City.
New! Words for Ian McEwan
Reprinted from The Daily Telegraph, 6 December 2006. In a typewritten letter, Pynchon raises his voice in defense of Ian McEwan, recently stung by charges of plagiarism.