The Pynchon in Public Podcast, or PIPcast as we sometimes call it, came out of the desire to have someone to talk about Thomas Pynchon’s novels with. Pynchon fans tend to be somewhat reclusive, and, even in America, Pynchon scholars are comparatively rare. So we established this podcast as basically public meetings of what’s maybe the world’s most sadistic bookclub.

The important thing to keep in mind is that we’re not experts. We address one book per season. Each episode is a panel-discussion. Our panelists hail from around the globe and have differing levels of education and differing interests. The only real qualifications we look for in panelists is that they like Pynchon, have Skype, do the reading, and are willing to put in the time and work involved.

Our purpose is to help people get through Pynchon’s novels. While we do bring scholarly sources to our discussions, we are not particularly interested in furthering academic research. We rely on the Pynchon Wiki as much as academic libraries and journals. We simply want to understand each of his novels as well as we can and to help create a community for Pynchon’s fans.

If you’re interested in being on our show, email Chris. If there’s a problem with the site, the feed, or the podcast, email Bo.

18 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello,

    I’m not entirely sure if it was mentioned or not, way back in part one of the book discussion of Gravity’s Rainbow, but…

    The V2’s official name is also ‘A4’, which is our most commonly used paper size. This has eerie synergy with the fact that Slothrop descends from a line of paper-converting ancestors.

    But I’m sure it must have been mentioned by your clever paneloids.

    Also, how do you go about deciding which book to tackle next after you complete one? Has there been any talk of what the next seasons will be after finishing Gravity’s Rainbow?

    Thanks for your time, I greatly appreciate being able to eevesdrop on your conversations.

    Sammy Herremans

    1. Thanks for the questions, Sammy.

      I’m pretty sure we mentioned the V2/A4 thing, but I don’t think we related it to paper-size. That’s interesting, given the theme of paper that runs through the novel, though I wonder when the A4 standard was adopted.

      The process for deciding which book comes next really just involves a lot of discussion, a little voting (maybe rigged, maybe not), some calf’s blood, an offering of burnt electrical wiring, fifteen water chestnuts thinly sliced and simmered in olive oil with a dash of paprika, the smegma of a four-month-old tortoise, two Pilot G2 .07 pens of any color, one nostril hair from each of the regular panelists, a casual glance from a pregnant woman on some variety of public transportation (the subway being best, for obvious reasons), and an incantation in some language that only Liam can speak.

      We haven’t yet begun this process.

      Thanks for listening!

  2. Dear Team,
    Great work. It’s daunting.
    Anyway I came across Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” the other day by chance. Turns out the Dictator’s name is Adenoid Hynckel. I think you might get a kick out of that.

    Thank you (and can’t wait for either Against the Day or Mason & Dixon),


    1. That’s pretty cool about The Great Dictator. Although, I think that late in GR Pynchon connects the Adenoid with Nixon. I wonder then if he’s drawing a parallel, through film, from Nixon to Hitler. Interesting thought.

  3. Hi folks,

    Really enjoying the podcast, have been with you since Inherent Vice and your discussions add a whole’nother dimension of enjoyment to reading Pynchon.

    I’m not sure if it’s possible but it would be great if you could find a way to balance the different speakers’ audio levels a bit more evenly. I find myself frequently turning up the volume for Bo’s contributions, principally because they are so insightful but also as the audio level seems relatively low compared to the others.

    Keep up the great the fantastic work, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen each show.

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

      The volume issue with my parts of the recording is something I’m aware of. There’s a couple of fairly technical reasons for it, but you’ll notice improvement in the next few episodes. I hope to have the problem resolved for next season. Again, though, the net couple of episodes are better.

      And thanks for being a long-time listen, especially slogging through those IV eps where it’s just me and Chris. Those…those are rough.

  4. I just quickly wanted to thank you guys for this amazing podcast. As a sort of Pynchon new-comer (I read Mason & Dixon halfway through before putting it down, and picked up GR about a month ago), season 4 has really enriched the experience of reading the book, and makes everything ‘click’ as it were. I really enjoy the in-depth-but-not-stuffy kind of vibe you guys have going on, and will definitely listen to the podcast while reading the other works. (Can’t wait for your reading through Mason & Dixon, so I can finally finish it!)
    Were I ever to meet another person that would like to read a Pynchon novel, I would absolutely point them your way. Keep on doing the great work.

  5. Hi All,

    Have been listening to GR season, catching up to where I am in the book (almost Part 4). Insightful, witty, charming–truly a feat to which all Lit nerds aspire. I will surely listen to the balance of your delightful show, thank you for producing a great podcast!

    I’d like to ask about the raucous song that precedes the episodes of Season 4. I’m sure you’ve linked some info but a cursory run-through of episode summaries hasn’t pointed me in the right direction. Who wrote it? Are there more songs? Are lyrics transcribed on kinkyrockets.com??

    Thanks again,

    1. Greg,

      If you’re talking about the song at the very beginning of each episode, the words were written by Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day, pg 16 I believe) and the music by me. The all of the voices are mine, which we refer to as a Choir of Bo’s.

      If you’re talking about the song at the end of each episode, that music was, again, written and arranged by me.

      Thanks for listening and I’m really glad you’re enjoying the show!

  6. Hi,
    I’m new to the podcast but would love to follow along next season. Any idea what book you’ll be covering so I can grab s copy?

    1. Hey Rick, welcome to the show! Next season we’ll be tackling V. We won’t start until after the New Year, so no need to bog down your holidays with it though!

      Thanks for listening!

  7. Stumbled upon this podcast late. Enjoying it & finding it useful too. Brought me back to a reread of GR. You guys are helping me through.

    Here’s a minor check, which might have been rectified before the end of your discussion of the book. (I’ve only finished Part One.)… Like you, I thought for a while that St. Veronica’s & the “White Visitation” are one and the same. They aren’t. The WV is down near the coast. St.V’s is in London. Slothrop gets sent to the WV for tests (the sodium amytal section), gets sent back to London (chapt15), where he has candy & sex with Darlene who works at St.V’s. A V2, of course, later hits that neighborhood & kills Kevin Spectro.

    1. Hello and welcome to the show!

      I think we did figure that out eventually, or that some of us knew it but missed making the correction when someone said it. But I appreciate you pointing it out.

      Thanks for listening!

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