-->Here's your quote: "Thomas Pynchon loved this book, almost as much as he loves cameras!" *waving at passing cars* Hey, over here! Have your picture taken with a reclusive author! Today only, we'll throw in a free autograph! [[ButWaitTheresMore But wait, there's more!]]
-->--'''Thomas Pynchon''' on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon (born 1937) is an American author and famously ReclusiveArtist, probably most well known for his novel ''GravitysRainbow''. Pynchon has written the following books:

* ''V.'' (1963)
* ''Literature/TheCryingOfLot49'' (1966)
* ''Literature/GravitysRainbow'' (1973)
* ''Slow Learner'' (1984), a compilation of early [[ShortStory short stories]].
* ''Vineland'' (1990)
* ''Mason & Dixon'' (1997)
* ''Against The Day'' (2006)
* ''Literature/InherentVice'' (2009)
* ''Bleeding Edge'' (2013)

An almost mythic figure. Only three known photographs of him exist, dating from the 1950s. He has given no interviews, no signings. His voice has been recorded only for the guest appearance mentioned above, another one also in ''TheSimpsons'' and a promotional video for his book ''Inherent Vice''. Speculation about him has been fueled, including suggestions that Pynchon is a pseudonym for [[Creator/JDSalinger J.D. Salinger]], as claimed by William Poundstone. It was even suggested at the time that he may have been the Unabomber. Fan folklore is rich and complicated, fed by the tiny bits of information about Pynchon that have come out, through the man himself or otherwise.

His works are often [[{{Doorstopper}} long]], [[ViewersAreGeniuses exceedingly complex]] and completely hilarious. Despite constant and often in-depth discussions on imperialism, industrial society, religion, science, mathematics, technology and racism, along with heavy borrowing from both world history and the history of literature, Pynchon's novels are equally interested in so-called 'low-culture,' television, comic books and rock 'n' roll (common to the [[PostModern post modernists]]), with the emotional centre of his books usually residing with a 'schlemiel' (leading, predictably, to the comment that most Pynchonian heroes likely couldn't read his books).

At this point we should probably say a word on the topic of TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}. Paranoia is the fuel Pynchon's novels run on, and is likely his most recognizable thematic obsession. Characters become convinced that their actions are being manipulated (and is usually confirmed, then denied, then confirmed again, leaving the audience in the dark about what exactly to believe), shadowy cabals are hinted at (but almost never confirmed) and the constant, sinking fatalism that our destruction is ensured, sooner or later, but only at Their convenience. Pynchon often explores ConspiracyTheories as a form of social narrative and folklore, and as a rigid interpretive framework, frequently contrasted with other frameworks (Calvinism and Marxism are common). This shows especially in ''The Crying of Lot 49'', which involves a character trying to make sense of various signs and symbols she sees around her (as well as a band called The Paranoids), and ''Gravity's Rainbow'', in which even the ''narrator himself'' seems to have the novel escape from under him as he struggles to find some way to interpret the events. [[UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies Anarchism]] sometimes shows up as well, most notably in ''Against the Day'', although a case could be made that it is present in nearly all of his works due to the strong distrust of hierarchical authority implied by their plots.

A movie adaptation of ''Literature/InherentVice'', directed by Creator/PaulThomasAnderson, is under way. This makes it the first full-scale adaptation of any of his works - 50 years after his debut novel.

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!!Tropes found in his works include:

* AuthorAppeal: Pynchon likes mathematics, jazz, drugs and the downtrodden. He dislikes exploitation, fascism, racism and Them.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Every. Single. Character.
* BawdySong
* CoolShip: Seems to always include at least one ship (of varying levels of coolness), though the prize has to go to the "John E. Badass" (which actually doesn't do anything but ''what a name'')
* ConspiracyKitchenSink: His books basically run on concentrated paranoia.
* {{Deconstruction}}: often to the point of calling in the DeconstructorFleet...and occasionally shooting it out of orbit
* {{Doorstopper}}: The prize going to ''Against the Day'', which runs 1085 pages.
* FunWithAcronyms: WAMBAM is just the tip of the iceberg. '''D'''on't '''E'''ver '''A'''ntagonize '''T'''he '''H'''orn, either.
** '''W''' e '''A'''wait '''S'''ilent '''T'''ristero's '''E'''mpire.
** ''Bleeding Edge'' gives us he '''D'''isgruntled '''E'''mployee '''S'''imulation '''P'''rogram for '''A'''udit '''I'''nformation and '''R'''eview.
* GainaxEnding: If his novels don't have NoEnding they will probably have one of these. Sometimes they qualify as both.
* GambitPileup
* GenreRoulette: His books phase in and out of various genres seemingly at random.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Historical cameos, especially celebrities, abound, including (among many others) Mickey Rooney and MalcolmX in ''Gravity's Rainbow'', GeorgeWashington and Creator/BenjaminFranklin ''Mason & Dixon'' (not to mention Mason and Dixon themselves), and Bela Lugosi and [[TheMarxBrothers Groucho Marx]] in ''Against the Day''.
* HistoricalInJoke
* IntellectualAnimal
* KudzuPlot
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Often difficult to keep track of, especially when a character might get a low-key intro only to become important several hundred pages afterwards.
* TheLongitudeProblem: The novel ''Mason & Dixon'' talks a lot about the Longitude Problem. This is reasonable when your protagonists are surveyor-astronomers tooling around the British Empire in the 18th century. Mason and Dixon test chronometers and work out moon-observation tables in the course of their careers.
* MeaningfulName: Or possibly not. Pynchon's bizarre names (eg. Mike Fallopian, Dr. Hilarius, Ruperta Chirpingden-Groin) have been the source of many arguments, with little agreement even among academics about what they mean, if anything at all.
* MindScrew: Pynchon himself has even admitted to being unable to understand parts of ''Gravity's Rainbow'', much of which was written on various drugs.
* NoFourthWall
* TheMusical: It is not uncommon for characters to break into song. One of his more immediately recognizable traits.
* ProperlyParanoid: Many of Pynchon's characters quality for this trope. Though often subverted, as an ultimately safe solution to the problems of life and society:
--> "If there is something comforting - religious, if you want - about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long."
-->-- '''Gravity's Rainbow'''
* PopculturalOsmosis: ''The Crying of Lot 49'' contains the first known use of "shrink" to refer to a psychiatrist.
* PostModernism: one of the seminal authors
* ReclusiveArtist: Does this even ''need'' to be explained?
** His agent has claimed that he's not reclusive in the sense of being a shut-in and is actually rather social, but also that he's completely uninterested in being a public figure and chooses to stay below the radar. With no recent photographs available, and the fact that he [[LostInACrowd lives in New York City]], it's hard to know for sure.
* RuleOfSymbolism
* ShadowArchetype: Most notable with Tchitcherine from ''Gravity's Rainbow'', who spends most of the book chasing his (black) African half-brother, Oberst Enzian.
* ShownTheirWork: And how. Partially why he has a reputation as such a 'difficult' author.
* SignatureStyle: And How.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Inherent Vice'', to ''Vineland''.
* StrawmanPolitical