Upper West Side Story: On ‘Bleeding Edge’ and Thomas Pynchon’s Tangled Web

bleeding edge

In the 50 years since the publication of his first novel, V, in 1963, Thomas Pynchon has established himself as the foremost paranoiac of American fiction, balancing absurdist slapstick with the obsessive conviction of the most sincere (or deranged) conspiracy theorist. Though their settings have varied wildly, from colonial America to 1970s Los Angeles, Mr. Pynchon’s basic themes have remained remarkably consistent: the dark underside of technological progress, the hidden networks of power that bind corporate interests and government control, the inability of a single narrative to neatly contain the messy complexities of a given event. In this sense, the New York of late 2001 was a Pynchon novel waiting to happen, in which the failures of “late capitalist” speculation, in the form of the recently deflated tech bubble, meet 9/11 to form the 21st century’s Year Zero. 

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Booting Up: Dustin Moskovitz and the Winklevoss Twins Met, Hugged at Burning Man

Man, remember Napster? (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/Newsmakers)

Go ahead, Instapaper this oral history of Napster even though it doesn’t include Sean Parker’s wedding: “I said, ‘Come back, and tell me how someone is going to get paid.’ And they never came back.” [Fortune]

In the words of 2 Chainz: Feds watching.  [New York Times]

Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz met the Winklevoss twins at Burning Man and, actually, hugs rather than punches were exchanged. In case you were worried about things getting awkward at those Harvard class reunions! [Medium]

Don’t forget to pre-order Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon’s upcoming novel about Silicon Alley, then let’s all reconvene to exchange made-up stories about encounters with the author. [Slate]

Aetna reportedly once tried to buy ZocDoc for $300 million. The founders said no, because would you want to be associated with a health insurance company?  [Business Insider]


Booting Up: Foursquare Is Expanding Check-In Deals to Visa and MasterCard

Everyone's favorite Dens picture.

Facebook agreed to remove pages created in tribute to victims of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the request of Connecticut lawmakers. Some of the pages purported to honor the victims were being used to harass victims’ families, the lawmakers said. [CBS News]

Foursquare is adding Visa, Mastercard and debit cards to its check-in deals program as it attempts to expand an existing revenue model. The company has let users pay for the deals—which users can access after checking in at participating locations—with American Express since 2011. [AllThingsD]

The U.S. government wasted millions of dollars in its attempts to expand broadband wireless service, according to a Republican congressman. [Bloomberg]

Thomas Pynchon’s next novel is said to be set in Silicon Alley, in the period between the dot-com boom and the terrorist attacks of September 11; here are some rejected plot lines. [PandoDaily]

The Visual Effects crowd is pissed off, and rightfully, it seems, about the lack of airtime it was afforded during the Academy Awards on Sunday. Television broadcasts largely ignored demonstrators protesting the state of the VFX industry, in which many jobs have been shipped overseas; meanwhile, the Oscar winner for VFX had his speech cut short, and Ang Lee, who won Best Director for his CGI-heavy Life of Pi, forgot to thank his VFX man. [The Big Social Picture]

Uber is signing up drivers in San Francisco; no taxi license needed, but there will be a test. [Engadget]

Visiting Dignitaries

All Our Prayers Are Answered Because Thomas Pynchon Is Tackling the Subject of Silicon Alley

Have you seen this man? (Photo:

The legendarily reclusive Thomas Pynchon, author of Gravity’s Rainbow and The Crying of Lot 49, is set to publish a new novel titled Bleeding Edge in September. And what weird corner of Americana has Mr. Pynchon chosen for the subject of his latest opus? Why, Silicon Alley, circa 2001, during “the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom Read More