Literature / Inherent Vice

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.
  • Kudzu Plot
  • Loadsand Loadsof Characters
  • Mushroom Samba: Notably with the vision quest Doc goes on.
  • No Ending
  • 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, Buddy Tubeside, and Denis (pronounced like "penis")