Thomas Pynchon: The Scarlet Histories


If they get this far, he has to show them what he knows about Control. That’s one of death’s secret missions. … Oh, it is a real sad story, how shoddily their Schwärmerei for Control was used by the folks in power. Paranoid Systems of History (PSH), a short-lived periodical … whose plates have all mysteriously vanished, natch, has even suggested … simply to drive young enthusiasts of the Cybernetic Tradition into Control work: after all, an economy inflating, upward bound as a balloon, its own definition of Earth’s surface drifting upward in value, uncontrolled, drifting with the days, the feedback system expected to maintain the value of the mark constant having, humiliatingly, failed. . . . Unity gain around the loop, unity gain, zero change, and hush, that way, forever, these were the secret rhymes of the childhood of the Discipline of Control— secret and terrible, as the scarlet histories say.

– Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

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