Inherent Vice is a 2009 novel by Thomas Pynchon. Ostensibly it follows Doc Sportello, a private investigator in California trying to find a missing real estate developer on the behest of his ex-girlfriend but really the work explores a much wider set of themes including the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle of the '60s and its clashes with forces of law and order with a neo-noir sensibility.A film adaptation by Paul Thomas Anderson was released in 2014.
This novel contains examples of the following tropes:
- Awesome McCool Name: Virtually every character has a bizarre name, as a Pynchon staple. Examples include "Doc" Sportello, "Bigfoot" Bjornsen, Mickey Wolfmann and Riggs Warbling, though many could just as easily qualify as Unfortunate Names.
- Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: The Golden Fang. The Viggies. The Boards. Mickey Wolfmann. Wherever you look, a new conspiracy pops up.
- Femme Fatale: Shasta starts off as one, but Pynchon once again subverts the trope by the end of the book.
- Mushroom Samba: Notably with the vision quest Doc goes on.
- Private Detective: Doc Sportello is a deconstruction of the usual noir archetype. Typically stoned, doesn't really shake anybody down, so on.
- Properly Paranoid: Denis and Doc himself at various points in the book.
- The Stoner: Doc and a lot of his friends and neighbours. Even his parents. Basically everyone in the book.
- Unfortunate Names: Lots, unless you consider them to be an Awesome McCool Name. Examples include Rudy Blatnoyd, Puck Beaverton and Buddy Tubeside.