Thomas Pynchon and the Posthuman Gothic
The Maas couple each reach their limits early in the novel, as one finds his life disrupted by inhuman intrusions, and the other sees her world melt into ineffable networks and flows. Yet it is past those limits that Pynchon continues, as the novel charts out a cosmos in which the human is but a malleable component of a great infernal machine. In the fifty years since the The Crying of Lot 49’s publication, this process has continued apace, and we may now look back to the novel as a forerunner of our presently emerging Posthumanity. The Gothic addition to this mixture gives our Posthuman future a bittersweet taste: Pynchon seems to cry out, Look where you are going! How soon until we are all lost?— And yet, it is the ambivalence of the Gothic that also gives hope. It shatters the ordinary world we take for granted, reveals the horrific machinery beneath its surface, and asks if another world is still possible.