[NOTE: this is a verbatim copy of bell's summary as it appeared on March 24, 1999. I post it here not having asked his permission and will remove it if he asks me to. - SMR 10-17-04- ]


Michael Davitt Bell
Williams College

for information on the author, visit myHOME PAGE

[Copyright © 1996, Michael Davitt Bell.Anyone should feel free to view, download, print, reproduce andeven circulate this document free of charge. The only stipulations withrespect to reproduction and circulation are:1) that authorship be attributed, 2) that the document be reproduced andcirculated in its entirety and withoutadditions or interpolations, and 3) that any person circulating the documentreceive no fee of anykind for doing so.]

[This guide was originally created around 1980,when I assigned Gravity's Rainbow as the final reading (on which afinal paper was required) in a Williams College course called "Images ofHistory in American Literature"--and then recognized that I'd better do morethan I'd planned to help my students actually get through the book!  Theguide seemed to provide the help they needed and, circulating in photocopyform,seems to have helped many others since.  I hope that now, via HTML andthe World Wide Web, it will provide help, and maybe some random amusement,to a wider audience. -- MDB]

PROLOGUE. The book's "present"(narrated, throughout, in the present tense) begins late in 1944. TheAllies are winning World War II on the ground, but the Germans are stillfiring V-2 rockets atLondon. Flashbacks (or events remembered by various characters) usuallybegin in the pasttense, but they tend to shift rapidly into the present tense (for a significantexception--a flashbacknarrated entirely in the past tense--see the story of Franz Pökler,3: [11]). The narrator is alsocapable, upon occasion, of flashes forward. Point of view shiftsfrequently (see, for instance, 1:[14]) and is sometimes indeterminate ("omniscient"?). And much of what "happens"(it's hard tosay how much) is fantasy (it's often hard to say whose). The sections(chapters?) of each of thefour numbered parts of the book, divided by rows of small squares (filmsprockets?), are here forconvenience numbered (in [brackets]). Page numbers for each "chapter" (orfor quotations) referto the 1973 Viking Compass edition of Gravity's Rainbow. What follows is, in a sense, designedas a "plot summary." But it is designed as an accompaniment to a readingof Gravity's Rainbow--and to be useless as a substitute fora reading of the book.

1: Beyond the Zero

[1], 3-7. Captain Pirate Prentice dreams of an evacuation of London. He awakens at dawn, andshoves his bed beneath the balcony to break the fall of a sleeping TeddyBloat. He climbs to arooftop banana garden, sees the vapor trail of a rocket launch across theChannel ("incomingmail," he thinks), and proceeds to pick bananas.

[2], 7-16. The banana breakfast at Pirate's ("a spell, against fallingobjects"). A phone callinforms him that the rocket he saw contained a message for him; he leavesto retrieve it. Pirate's"strange talent . . . for getting inside the fantasies of others." His proxydealings with the GiantAdenoid.

[3], 17-19. Teddy Bloat to ACHTUNG office of Tantivy Mucker-Maffick and(American) Lt.Tyrone Slothrop. He photographs a map above Slothrop's desk, a map of Londonto which starsof various colors have been affixed.

[4], 20-29. Slothrop, trying to gain access to bomb-impact site,sees Pirate retrieve his message. We learn more about the map, about "operational paranoia," and a bit aboutSlothrop's NewEngland family: "they did not prosper."

[5], 29-37. A séance: "Roland Feldspath (the spirit), Peter Sachsa(the control), Carroll Eventyr(the medium), Selena (the wife and survivor)." (Sachsa and Eventyr willbecome important to uslater.) Milton Gloaming takes notes. Jessica Swanlake, rather bored, finallythrows a dart. Pirate, also present, talks with the statistician, Roger Mexico (Jessica'slover). We learn aboutOperation Blackwing, PICSES, the "White Visitation." Pirate remembers hisown lost love,Scorpia Mossmoon (whose husband, Clive, was in plastics). He both envies,and wishes toprotect, Roger and Jessica.

[6], 37-42. Roger and Jessica, in car, discuss Roger's Pavlovian colleague,Ned Pointsman. Roger recalls his and Jessica's first meeting--a rocket-assisted pick-up. We learn about their(illegal) meeting-place in the stay-away zone. "They are in love. Fuckthe war."

[7], 42-47. In bombed-out building, Roger and Pointsman (the latter'sfoot wedged firmly in atoilet-bowl) hunt a dog, for Pointsman's experiments (post-impact studiesof saliva output, usingimplanted tubes). Roger and Jessica return Pointsman to St. Veronica's Hospital(of the TrueImage ["vera ikon"]). We hear of Kevin Spectro and The Book (by Pavlov).

[8], 47-53. Spectro and Pointsman, at St. Veronica's, discuss the caseof Tyrone Slothrop (who--and this is important to them--was as an infanta patient or subject of Laszlo Jamf). Pointsmanenvies Spectro; he lusts for human subjects. He does not want dogs any more,not even theoctopus, Grigori, but "one, little, Fox!" (i.e., Slothrop.)

[9], 53-60. While Roger sleeps, Jessica gazes out the windowof the stay-away zone house. Welearn of Roger's map of London, dividing the city into squares, each onemarked for number ofrocket impacts. The frequency of such impacts obeys (as Roger has predicted)the Poissondistribution. Some oppositions emerge: science vs. love, war vs. love.

[10], 60-71. Slothrop, without being told why, has been transferred fromACHTUNG to St.Veronica's, for observation. He fantasizes on various permutations andcombinations of thesentence, "You never did the Kenosha Kid." Stimulated by an injection ofSodium Amytal, andasked by a PISCES interrogator about "the Negroes, in Roxbury," he fantasizesabout throwingup in the men's room of the Roseland Ballroom (sounds of "Cherokee" comingup fromdownstairs, watched by a shoeshine boy called "Red" [Malcom Little, laterMalcolm X]). Theharmonica (later, a kind of Slothrop signature) falls from his shirt pocketinto the toilet; hefollows it--"getting into some, oh really weird shit." Segue to the adventuresof the singular hero,Crouchfield (or Crutchfield), and his decreasingly singular accessories(including an Afro-Scandinavian "Pard"--cf., later, Blicero and Enzian?). Back to the Kenosha Kid.

[11], 71-72. A pornographic fantasy-picture of Scorpia Mossmoon (Howdid They know?)produces from Pirate the semen necessary to expose the "kryptosam" messagesent over in therocket. The message: bring out operative (later identified for us as KatjeBorgesius [aDutchified contemporary Argentine writer in drag?]).

[12], 72-83. The White Visitation: mental hospital converted to ostensiblymilitary purposes. Story of the suicide of patient, Reg le Froyd ("Bert is fine," p. 73--cf.Katje, p. 106). OperationBlack Wing; its purpose: to exacerbate (by radio transmissions) German racialfears of AfricanHereros (hence research into Slothrop's racial fears). Create fictionof "Schwarzkommando"operating in Germany (Black Power Gonna Get Your Mutti?). Old BrigadierErnest[Hemingway?] Pudding--World War I veteran, Pointsman's boss. His curious"briefings" (cf.Mrs. Quoad's candy "surprises" in [15], below)?

[13], 83-92. What is known about Laszlo Jamf's experiments (during hisyear at Harvard) on"Infant Tyrone." Response: erection. Stimulus? And was his reflexdeconditioned, perhaps, beyond zero? The mystery of Slothrop's map,which has stars (anddates) to record where he has"scored" in London. It is identical with Roger Mexico's map ofrocket impacts. Moreover,Slothrop's "scores" always precede (by two to ten days) the arrivalof the rocket at the samelocation. Jessica: "What about the girls?" Pointsman (Pavlov, cause andeffect) vs. Mexico(Janet, statistician, "anarchist"). Pointsman-Pavlov-Mefistofeles, nevertheless,to Mexico-Janet-Faust: "We both have Slothrop."

[14], 92-113. Katje Borgesius (the operative brought out by Pirate),alone with Osbie Feel andobserving camera at Pirate's. He's cooking dope. Seeing him open the ovenshe recalls herassignment in Holland: with Captain Blicero (formerly, e.g., in Pynchon'sV., Lt. Weissman) andGottfried, at rocket-launching area. Their Hansel and Gretel game (cf. [21],below). Blicero'sdeath-wish (the Oven)--his (switch in point of view) memories ofSüdwest Africa, the Hereroboy he named "Enzian." Another switch (102) to Gottfried's point of view: he watches Katje'sescape. Back to Katje (104): "The true war is a celebration of markets." Back to "present"(106), via reprise of Reg le Froyd (cf. 73), then Pirate's point of view. Story of Frans van derGroov (Katje's ancestor) and the killing of Dodoes in Mauritius in the 17thcentury. Pirate andOsbie alone (Katje has gone to the White Visitation, her version of "Bert"?). Schwarzkommandopropaganda film, made by famous German director, Gerhardt von Göll. After showings,projector is taken downstairs (at "White Visitation") so that octopus, Grigori,can be shown filmof Katje at Pirate's --whose filming opened this section (cf. first and lastsentences, pp. 92 and113).

[15], 114-120. Slothrop, again not knowing why, has been returned from"White Visitation" toACHTUNG and London. Disappointed, he also feels that he's being followed(he is, byPointsman's operatives). He visits Darlene and Mrs. Quoad: "the DisgustingEnglish CandyDrill" (cf. Pudding's "briefings," above). Sex is followed (and revived)by explosion of rocket: "the rocket's rush comes swelling."

[16], 120-136. Roger and Jessica. His jealousy of her fiancé,Jeremy (Beaver). The day shetook her blouse off, on a dare, in the car. Jessica thinks about life withRoger: "Isn't it safer withJeremy?" Jessica and Roger stop at church, for Advent Evensong. Great passageon the War andChristmas (now fast approaching), on the rocket as "Christmas star," on "ourstories, all false,about who we are," on "the path you must create by yourself, alone in thedark . . . the wayhome."

[17], 136-144. Pointsman (as "you"--i.e., as if we needed it now, asecond-person singularnarrative) dreams of "home." Wakes to "the news about poor Spectro," killedat St. Veronica'sby rocket (brought in by Slothrop's visit to Darlene, nearby, two days beforethe fatal impact?). With Spectro's death only Pointsman and Thomas Gwenhidwy, of the originalseven owners ofThe Book, now survive. Pointsman meditates on various "irreversible processes,"thenmasturbates to fantasies about getting Nobel Prize ("Stockholm"), confrontingultimate dog-prey/minotaur. Slothrop--who, Pointsman reflects, should be on the Riviera bynow--is his new"Minotaur" (the subject, or "Fox," who may at last earn him the Prize).

[18], 145-154. Flashback (her point of view) to Nora Dodson-Truck's discoverythat CarrollEventyr is a medium (cf. [5], above; but also NB.: "Lewis Carroll"was the pen name of themathematician and undressed-child photographer, Charles L. Dodgson. Is this information help,or only further harm? Do you think the lost "g" is important?) Eventyr'scontrol on the OtherSide is (remember?) Peter Sachsa. We learn about other "White Visitation"freaks, includingGavin Trefoil who, by metabolizing tyrosene and thereby producing melanin(cf. "kryptosam," p.71), can alter his skin color (cf. the Afro-Scandinavian of Slothrop's"Crouchfield" fantasy? orEnzian?). There is a brief conversation (apparently) between veteran andneophyte skinpigments. We learn of Nora's assertion of the "Zero." Of the "Angel" seenover Germany byBasher St. Blaise. Peter Sachsa (the control), recalls (or at least thetranscripts of Eventyr'ssessions, which Eventyr cannot remember, report that he recalls) his lifebefore death--including"Lt. Weissmann" (Blicero) and his "Herero aide" (his lover, his "Pard": Enzian). Peter's love forLeni Pökler, wife of chemical engineer. (All this transpired before1930, when Peter was killedby a blow to the head from a policeman during a political demonstration.)

[19], 154-167. Leni's difficult (and possibly anachronistic) growth intofeminism. Her fantasy oflove vs. radical politics ("AN ARMY OF LOVERS CAN BE BEATEN")--and also vs.herhusband, Franz ("You're the cause-and-effect man"). Franz--once a student,incidentally, ofLaszlo Jamf--meets Kurt Mondaugen (a school chum and a character in theSüdwest Africaepisode in Pynchon's V., also involving Weissmann [Blicero]) whoguides him to a job in rocketdevelopment. Leni leaves Franz (taking their daughter, Ilse) for Peter Sachsa,who--when shearrives--is conducting a séance (he, too, being a medium) to contactthe spirit of WalterRathenau. His message (166-67): "All talk of cause and effect is secularhistory, and secularhistory is a diversionary tactic."

[20], 167-174. The PISCES Christmas party. Pointsman and Maude Chilkesin the closet. Pointsman and Gwenhidwy go to the latter's flat. Gwenhidwy to Pointsman(on what we willlearn to call the "preterite"): "How they persist." East Londonas the "City Paranoiac": Gwenhidwy imagines (or perceives?) that the poor and outcast have beenplaced here to absorbthe brunt of rocket attacks from the Southeast.

[21], 174-177. Roger and Jessica have taken her nieces (whose fatherhas been lost to the War)to a pantomime of Hansel and Gretel, interrupted by a rocket impact(cf. ending of Gravity's Rainbow?). Penelope (one of the nieces,whose name should recall Homer'sOdyssey) thinksbitterly of fathers "leaving their children alone in the forest." Rogeris more and more afraid oflosing Jessica, and love, to the War or to Jeremy/Beaver who "isthe War." "Oh, Jess. Jessica. Don't leave me."

2: Un Perm'au Casino Hermann Goering

[NB.: "perm'" = "permission," leave, furlough.]

[1], 181-189. Dawn: Slothrop awakens in his room at Riviera casino (cf.Pirate's awakening atdawn in London, which began part 1?). Tantivy Mucker-Maffick and his "friend"Teddy Bloat(who photographed Slothrop's map, remember?) share a room down the hall. From the balconythey pick up three girls, then head off for a sea-side breakfast picnic (cf.part 1's bananabreakfast? or the "White Visitation" sea-side party that ends Part 2?). Slothrop sees, in water,another girl (Katje, placed here by Pointsman) who is attacked by an octopus(Grigori, ditto,trained by watching films) (cf. this intrusion to the rocket Pirate seesfrom his roof? After all, itwas bearing a message from the same Katje.) Slothrop rescues her, usingcrab which Bloat just"happens" to have along. Slothrop's mounting suspicion of manipulation: his "Puritan reflex . . .paranoia."

[2], 189-205. His mission accomplished, Dr. Porkyevitch departs in boat,with his faithfuloctopus. Slothrop agrees to a midnight date with Katje, then confronts Tantivywith hissuspicions of Bloat. He has his assignation with Katje, followed by a pillowand seltzer-bottlefight, then more sex. Morning: she lies "S'd against the S of himself."(198) Hearing his clothesbeing stolen he chases the thief and, after various adventures, finds hisown room empty (even ofidentity cards). Tantivy, too, is gone. Paranoia is on the rise: "'Fuckyou,' whispers Slothrop," toThem. He imagines the 1630 Puritan Migration as a film now run backwards.(204) Searchingfor Tantivy, he can only find Katje: "It's the only place I knew to come."(205)

[3], 205-226. Slothrop reading circuit-diagrams for German rockets. Sir Stephen (Dedalus?--i.e., Joyce? cf., also, their "Noras") Dodson-Trucksees in circuit-symbols evidence of organiclinguistic evolution--seeing in one symbol the "sun" (as in "Oxen of the. . . "?). Slothrop detectsin Sir Stephen "obvious membership in the plot"; yet he's drawn to the oldman's "love for theWord." Time passes. Bloat now gone, Slothrop studies rocket manuals, whichinduce erections;Sir Stephen takes notes. Wanting more information, Slothrop sets up thedrunken Prince ofWales game, after which, suitably drunk, Sir Stephen confesses what he knows. Shift (217) toCarroll Eventyr, to Leni Pökler and Peter Sachsa. Peter's death (220). Sir Stephen leaves. So,finally, does Katje: "they are not, after all, to be lovers in parachutesof sunlit voile, lapsinggently, hand in hand, down to anything meadowed or calm. Surprised?" (222)

[4], 226-236. Pointsman's poem, "spoken" by Pavlov at 83. A meetingof the Slothrop group at"The White Visitation." Pointsman, who has been meeting with Clive Mossmoon(Scorpia'shusband--remember?--he's in plastics), assures them that Brigadier Puddingwill continue tosupport the project (i.e., to expose Slothrop to the Rocket and observe hisresponses). All leave,save Webley Silvernail, in whose fantasy (apparently) the lab animals singand dance to"Pavlovia (Beguine)." Afterwards Silvernail, departing, tells them of thefalse "freedom" of theelite--"using every other form of life without mercy to keep what hauntsmen down to a tolerablelevel." Pudding sneaks through the terrors (arranged by Pointsman) of Dwing to his assignationwith Katje (as "Domina Nocturna"--this, too, arranged by Pointsman, who hasplumbed theBrigadier's fantasies for something that will keep him in line). Katje indulgesPudding's "needfor pain"; her shit, which he carefully swallows, recalls to him "the smellof Passchendaele, ofthe Salient"--his horrified memories of mass death and putrefaction in WorldWar I.

[5], 236-244. Spring, 1945, at "The White Visitation." Cut to Slothropand the Riviera. Thefirst of the "Proverbs for Paranoids." (237) In Slothrop's dream or "revery,""the late RolandFeldspath" (see 1: [5], above) meditates on the reduction of "the Rocket'sterrible passage . . . tobourgeois terms." Slothrop, bothered by evidence of links between Alliedand Germancorporations, debates conspiracy as vs. "coincidence" with Hilary Bounce(of Shell Oil, althoughhe wears a medal from I.G. Farben). Second Proverb (241). In a German partslist (one of themany he is studying, as part of Pointsman's experiment) Slothrop finds referencesto an insulationdevice, to a "Document SG-1," to "Imipolex G." Then, after getting Bounceout of the way, heuses Bounce's hotel-room teletype to get information about these things fromShell's Londonoffice. He then heads for a nonstop party, to which he's already sent Bounce,chez Raoul de laPerlimpinpin: "He'll read the information through later."

[6], 244-249. Raoul's party--including such things as hash in thehollandaise, inducing a rush onthe broccolli. Slothrop is accosted by Blodgett Waxwing (cf. the first lineof John Shade's poemin V. Nabokov's Pale Fire?), a famous forger and Western movie freakwearing a white zoot suit(which Slothrop admires). Waxwing gives Slothrop an envelope to hold forsafe keeping. A"plot" is revealed (247: you figure it out). Tamara (part of the"plot") arrives in a tank, fires intoparty. Waxwing gives Slothrop a zoot suit, keychain, and his business card,"embossed with achess knight and an address on Rue Rossini." (The chess knight might also recall Nabokov--or, perhaps, the cardof the hired gun, Palladin, played by Richard Boone in the 1950s TV Westernseries,Have Gun, Will Travel.)

[7], 249-269. Begins with the information on "Imipolex G" that Slothrophas gotten (via Bounce's teletype) from London. It is a plastic developedin 1939 for I.G.Farben by, of course,Laszlo Jamf. We learn "Plasticity's central canon: that chemists were nolonger at the mercy ofNature." (249: cf. Walter Rathenau, 166; also Slothrop's Plasticman comic,206-7?) A briefhistory of the development of plastics, into increasingly complex molecularchains, is paralleledby a brief history of the development of interlocking "arrangements" amongthe corporations thatmanufacture them. (250-51) Slothrop fantasizes a commando raid on DuncanSandys' office atShell Mex House, London; at the heart of it all he finds only machines, talkingto one another. Returned from fantasy (?), he finds a new clue on the parts list: "S-Gerät, 11/00000"--apparentlythe serial number of a special model rocket, using Imipolex G, somehow, forinsulation.

Slothrop comes upon (by chance?) a copy (forged?) of the LondonTimes, containing an obituary,by Bloat, for Tantivy, supposedly killed in heroic action. He flees to Nice(as, we learn later, hewas supposed to), going to the address on Waxwing's card. During the nighthe is visited byvarious dead and/or departed. Next day, Waxwing's agents give him new papers,a new name(Ian Scuffling), and an address in Zürich. He arrives a week later,and contacts Waxwing'srepresentative, Semyavin. He meets (in a musical "number") various "Loonieson Leave!" (259-60) Looking for sources of information in information-specificcafés, he meets Mario Schweitar,who tells him of Jamf's death.

Schweitar offers more information for a price, but Slothrop is broke. And seeing a strange RollsRoyce in front of his hotel, Slothrop recognizes that he cannot return, thathe is also homeless. Proverb #4 (262). He pawns his zoot suit and wanders. At the Odeon Cafe(which is notinformation-specific) he meets an Argentine anarchist, Francesco Squalidozzi,who tells ofhijacking a German U-boat (with Graciela Imago Portales) to seek asylum fromPeron in, yes,Germany. Why Germany? Squalidozzi on Argentine history: "We areobsessed with buildinglabyrinths, where before there was open plain and sky. . . . We cannot abidethat openness; it isterror to us." Slothrop counters: "But-but . . . that's progress." Squalidozzi: "In the openness ofthe German zone, our hope is limitless." The Argentines need a courier,unknown to theirenemies. Slothrop offers to help, for enough money to pay Schweitar forhis information.

Slothrop takes a plane to Geneva (in plane encountering Richard Halliburton[266]). Heexchanges messages with Squalidozzi's contact, then returns to Zürich. Squalidozzi is nowhereto be found. We learn of the Slothrop family's role in Shay's Rebellion.(268) Slothrop goes outto stay at Jamf's tomb, where he take delivery of Schweitar's information: "In the weeks ahead . .. he may even have time to wish he hadn't read any of it."

[8], 269-278. May: A "White Visitation" picnic by the sea (cf. openingof part 2?). Pointsmanthinks about the disappearance of Slothrop, lost by British Intelligencea month ago, in Zürich. He thinks, as well, about his major blunder: authorizing Harvey Speed andFloyd Perdoo toinvestigate Slothrop's sexual adventures in London, the ones recorded onthe map (this operationbeing known, acronimically, as SEZ WHO). Unfortunately there is no evidencethat any of his"scores"-- not even Darlene (though there is a "Mrs. Quoad")--actuallyexisted. The War over,Pointsman must confront efforts to dissolve PISCES (as well as more generaltendencies todissolve the stark polarities sustained by the War). He has begun to feel"the solitude of aFührer." Back to the sea-side, we get our first allusion to the Rossinivs. Beethoven controversy--which, we're told (presumably, here, by the narrator),will later erupt in Berlin. Pointsman,facing his various dissolutions, begins to act "a bit mental"--he's hearinga Voice. We learn, asthose at "The White Visitation" have recently learned, that there reallyis a "Schwarzkommando"operating in Germany, just as in the "fiction" created by Operation Blackwing. All this followinga digression on King Kong. (Here, as with the Rocket [and Slothrop],the order of cause andeffect seems to be getting reversed or confused: can fantasyproduce reality?) Edwin Treacle hascontended, to his consternated colleagues, "that their feelings about blacknesswere tied tofeelings about shit, and feelings about shit to feelings about putrefactionand death." (276) Pointsman, hallucinating, sees need to get Jessica out of the way, in orderto secure control ofRoger for his continuation of the War into the Post-War. "'Yang and Yin,'whispers the Voice,'Yang and Yin. . . . '" (a Pavlovian breakdown?--a dissolution of "ideasof the opposite"?).

3: In the Zone

[1], 281-295. Early morning (cf. dawn openings of parts 1 and 2?): Slothroparrives atNordhausen. He recalls meeting his first African (Enzian), and Major DuaneMarvy. The "plot"[which will thicken, then, strangely, thin]: Schweitar's information onImipolex G (see 2: [7],above) points to Franz Pökler (see 1: [18] and [19], above), who cameto the Mittelwerke, anunderground rocket factory at Nordhausen, in 1944. The Shell file on Jamfpoints to Lyle Blandof Boston, to Hugo Stinnes (a German financier), and to a banknote contractwith the SlothropPaper Company. All this recalls to Slothrop a smell ("the breath of theForbidden Wing"[presumably Imipolex G, involved in Jamf's experiments on "Infant Tyrone"]);it also producesan erection. Bland ("Uncle Lyle") apparently sold his interest in the"Schwarzknabe enterprise"(next to this entry are the initials, "T.S.") to Grössli Chemical (laterPsychochemie AG). Fromall this Slothrop concludes that his father Broderick ("B.S.") "sold" himto Bland, for Jamf'sexperiments, in return for money for Slothrop's education; and Slothrop'sapparently been undersurveillance ever since.

Slothrop--travelling in the Zone as a British journalist, Ian Scuffling--alsorecalls Marvy, on topof a moving railroad car, warning him about "niggers" in the next car, SouthwestAfrican rockettroops (the Scwarzkommando), who have now joined together, heading forNordhausen. He thenrecalls Oberst Enzian appearing, and throwing Marvy off the train.

Cut back to "present," Nordhausen, morning. Slothrop meets Geli Tripping(say it out loud), anapprentice witch, part of the "harem" ("a girl in every rocket-town in theZone") of Soviet officer,Vaslav Tchitcherine. After sex he begins worrying the Russian is about toappear, but the noisehe hears is only Geli's owl, Wernher. It turns out she knows about the 00000rocket, and the"Schwarzgerät." Proverb #5 (292). She claims the Schwarzgerätis for sale, in Swinemünde. Despite misgivings, Slothrop stays the night.

[2], 295-314. Next morning, Slothrop, in a pair of Tchitcherine'sboots(a gift from Geli), headsfor the Mittelwerke. The entrance-arch is a parabola, designed by Etzel(cf. the unsuccessfulAmerican automobile?) Ölsh, a disciple of Albert Speer. Inside, joinedby forty-four Stollen, aretwo parallel, S-shaped tunnels (a tribute both to the SS and to the doubleintegral sign--but cf.198). We are treated to a meditation on the importance of the double integraland Brenschluss(301). We learn Slothrop's reasons (cf. 2: [8], above) for editing andfalsifying information,changing names, on his London map (302). Moving deeper into the tunnel Slothrophears ourfirst rocket limericks (305-7), sung at a drunken Russian-American party,which he soon joins. Itturns out to be a going away party for Major Marvy who, when he sees Slothrop,takes off afterhim, with his men: "Marvy's Mothers." Taking cover in one of the Stollen,Slothrop meetsProfessor (of mathematics) Glimpf, with whom he achieves a crazy silent-movieescape, viarailroad. They proceed to the castle-laboratory of Glimpf's former colleague,the mad scientist,Zwitter.

[3], 314-329. We now meet the Schwarzkommando, and learn about the historyof the ZoneHereros, the "Erdschweinhöhle." We learn about the Empty Ones,"Revolutionaries of the Zero .. . [whose] program is racial suicide," and about the true (Marx notwithstanding)function ofcolonies (317). Enzian and Joseph Ombindi--the leader of the Empty One faction,and Enzian'smain rival for power among the Zone Hereros--discuss suicide. "Sold on Suicide,"song (320). Then we learn about various portions of Enzian's personal history: abouthis Russian sailorfather, about the death of his mother (fleeing the Herero massacre), abouthis becoming theprotoge and lover of Weissmann/Blicero. Responding to a radio call for help,from another bandof Zone Hereros, he heads for Hamburg. We learn that Tchitcherine is hishalf brother.

[4], 329-336. Slothrop and Geli are on the top of the Brocken, awaitingsunrise. We learn aboutSlothrop's Antinomian-witch ancestor, Amy Sprue, hanged at Salem (329). Slothrop and Geli, asthe sun rises, watch their gigantic shadows in the clouds. Since Marvy isstill after him, Slothropheads for Berlin (by Geli's arrangement), in a balloon, with one Schnorp--who'sflying in custardpies to sell on the black market. They are pursued by Marvy and his Mothersin a plane. Morerocket limericks (334-5). The balloon, after a custard-pie battle, escapes.

[5], 336-359. "The Zone is in full summer." Cut to Tchitcherine, who"is more metal thananything else." He has two missions in the Zone. Official: to recoverrockets and hardware forthe Soviets. Private: to annihilate Enzian (his half brother) and theSchwarzkommando. Wethen cut to his past in Kirghiz ("the town looked like a Wild West movie"),where his assignmentwas to enforce the NTA (New Turkic Alphabet) on the unlettered natives (cf.this linguisticimperialism to the organic theories of language propounded by Sir StephenDodson-Truck[inverted "Turk"?] 2: [3], above?). We learn about Galina, "the schoolmarm,"and about DzaqypQulan, the "native" schoolteacher, whose father was killed in the Kirghizmassacre of 1916 (cf.Fran van der Groov and the Dodoes, 1: [14], above? the Herero massacre, 1:[14], above? theattitude toward Indians implied by all the Western lingo here? Vietnam?). We learn, too, aboutTchitcherine's horse, Snake, from the United States. There are various rumors(this flashback,like many in the book, is shifting into the present tense) about the reasonsfor Tchitcherine'sbanishment to Central Asia: an alliance with a "Soviet Courtesan"; anacquaintance withWimpe, a German salesman for IG, with a special interest in "opium alkaloidsand their manyvariations." Cut from this to the Chinese swamper, Chu Piang, with whomTchitcherine smokesopium. Then we hear Wimpe discourse on Morphine research, on Laszlo Jamf(348). Or hasTchitcherine (as he thinks) been banished to Kirghiz (and Chekovianlonging for return to thecity) because of Enzian? We learn how Tchitcherine's sailor-father fledthe horror of loadingcoal in a Southwest African port ("a conspiracy of carbon . . . he couldsmell Death in it") to the"honest blackness" of Enzian's mother (351). We then learn, in chaotic detail,about factionalinfighting at the NTA plenary session, and about the similarity of its committeesto Soviet"Committees on molecular structure." (355) Tchitcherine and Dzaqyp Qulanride into a villagein time to hear a singing duel (cf. 387?)--and to hear an old aqyn (wanderingsinger) sing (we'reinto the Oral Tradition here, no writing) about seeing the "Kirghiz Light/Ina place where wordsare unknown." Following his instructions the Russian and his sidekick travelto It, but Tchitcherine's "heart was never ready." "But in the Zone . .. the Rocket is waiting. He will be drawn thesame way again."

[6], 359-371. Slothrop lies sick (he drank the water!) in a Berlin basement. He recalls hissecond encounter with Enzian; the Schwarzkommando were dredging for piecesof rocket. Hesees their symbol. Their disappointment at the serial number on what theydredge up reveals thatthey, too, are looking for the 00000 rocket. Enzian tells him the Hereromantra (since themassacre): "'Mba-kayere . . . 'I am passed over.'" Back in the basement,Slothrop considers hisown quest: "The Schwarzgerät is no Grail, Ace." (364) He "will meet,"we're told, GretaErdmann, a former movie actress. "This is how they meet," we're told. Thenwe're told ofSlothrop's meeting with Emil ("Säure" ["acid"]) Bummer, notorious catburglar and doper, whosegirls give Slothrop a Wagnerian opera costume (cape, helmet), transforminghim into"Raketemensch" (Rocketman). They all proceed to the Chicago Bar, a dopers'hangout,decorated with photos of John Dillinger. A song, "The Doper's Dream" (369),is sung by SeamanBodine (known as "Pig" Bodine in V.). Slothrop, now as Rocketman,is asked to go to Potsdam(where the Allied conference to work out the division of Germany is now takingplace) toretrieve six kilos of hashish Bodine has buried there. For one of the kilos,and a millioncounterfeit marks printed by Bummer, he agrees. (NB. We're still waitingto find out just howSlothrop meets Greta Erdmann.)

[7], 371-383. Next morning, Bummer explains that the hash is buried acrossfrom Potsdam, "inNeubabelsberg, the old movie capital of Germany." Slothrop learns of thedeath of "hispresident," Roosevelt. (373) At mention of Schwarzgerät, Bummer suggeststhat Slothrop talk to"Der Springer." Now alone, with papers identifying him as "Max Schlepzig,"Slothrop heads forPotsdam. His boots (Tchitcherine's, given to him by Geli) lead to interrogationby Russians, butthey finally let him pass (it turns out, though, that they've been in touchwith Tchitcherine). Hearrives at his destination, only to discover that during the Conference it'sserving as Truman'sresidence. Digging up the hash beneath a balcony, he is suddenly staringface-to-face at MickeyRooney (who, we're assured, will repress all memory of the encounter). Then,leaving, he iscaptured: "You were followed all the way."

[8], 383-390. Cut to the hijacked U-boat of the Argentine anarchists(see 2: [7], above,Squalidozzi--remember?). We learn the story behind Squalidozzi's disappearancefrom Zürich. He was pursued by British Military Intelligence (Slothrop's Rolls Royce). He came upon a groupof zoot-suited gangsters, Blodgett Waxwing's people, watching a Bob SteeleWestern in anabandoned harmonica factory, and meets Gerhardt von Göll ("Der Springer"),a Germanfilmmaker (who made the Schwarzkommando film for Operation Blackwing--see1: [14],above). He now offers to make a film of Martin Fierro, an epicwhose gaucho hero is regardedby the anarchists as a saint. This has now become the major project of theU-boat anarchists, butthere is a problem: will they shoot only part one, or will they also dopart two, in which the herosells out? There is a fantasy of a scene from the (as yet unmade) film: Fierro's withdrawal fromGeneral Roca's attempt to exterminate the pampa Indians (cf. all the othergenocidal massacresthus far: Dodoes, Hereros, Central Asian "natives"?). We learn about vonGöll's connectionswith IG Farben, with Laszlo Jamf, about his best known film, the "immortalAlpdrücken." Hisinterest in Martin Fierro stems mainly from the chance it offersto shoot a scene of a singing duel(387--cf. 3: [5], above?). The plan, then: to get to the LünebergHeath, meet von Göll (who willarrive separately), and shoot the movie there. The U-boat fires a torpedoat the U.S.S. John E. Badass (Seaman Bodine's ship); but it misses,apparently because Bodinehas added Oneirine("Laszlo Jamf's celebrated intoxicant") to the coffee.

[9], 390-392. Tchitcherine (it was he who captured Slothrop at Potsdam)has released him, aftertaking some hash for himself--which he is now smoking with a companion, gettingmore andmore stoned. He put Slothrop, whom he likes, through a Sodium Amytal session: "Black runsall through the transcript." He finds Slothrop's lone pursuit of the 00000rocket curious, andplans to have him followed.

[10], 392-397. Coming off Sodium Amytal, Slothrop dreams of being littleand worried aboutlittle birds in a storm, being reassured by his father: "Don't worry, son"(cf. Slothrop'sreassurance of Ludwig, worried about his lost lemming Ursula, 553-4, below? cf. the quitedifferent attitude of Pointsman toward his "foxes," or of the Germans towardtheir horses andcows--337, above?). Slothrop leaves the white room in which he has beeninterrogated (afternoting that some of the hash has been taken) to find himself in an abandonedmovie set, where hemeets (at last--see 3: [6], above) Margherita (Greta) Erdmann, the movieactress, who is lookingfor her lost daughter, Bianca. They come to the set of von Göll'sAlpdrücken, in which she (asvictim) played opposite Max Schlepzig (as torturer), and during the filmingof which, shebelieves, Bianca was conceived. Slothrop is bothered by the coincidence(?) of names--hispapers identify him, after all, as "Max Schlepzig" (and the handwritingon the pass, Greta claims,is that of the "real" Max). Anyway, Slothrop and Greta act out the scenefrom Alpdrücken (onthe set of Alpdrücken), Slothrop as "Schlepzig," Greta as "Greta": bondage, whipping, sex. Thetransition from Greta's stocking to her bare thigh leads the narrator(apparently) to a meditationon "singular points" (396).

[11], 397-433. (This long chapter, consisting mostly of one longrecollection, narrated in the pasttense, tells the story of Franz Pökler--see 1: [18] and [19], 3: [1],above. cf. the story of Franz'sloss of Leni and Ilse to the story of Roger and Jessica?) It was his arousalfrom seeingAlpdrücken that inspired the conception of Franz and Leni'sdaughter, Ilse (cf. Ilse, therefore, toMargherita's daughter, Bianca, conceived during the shooting ofAlpdrucken?). "That's how ithappened," he reflects. "A Film. . . . Isn't that whatthey made of my child, a film?" (398) Franz is now (in "present") at the ruin of an amusement park-city,Zwölfkinder (cf. Disneyland?),waiting for Ilse's annual summertime return. He recalls his fear of thepolitical demonstrations(the street) to which he lost Leni; he recalls an argument they had overthe meaning of theRocket, which he has come in his way (and out of his fear) to worship (400). He turned to theRocket, in earnest, to pull himself together after Leni left him. He recallsthe "electro-mysticism"of Kurt Mondaugen (see 1: [19], above). His memories of early rocket daysalso includeWeissmann (Blicero) and Enzian. He moved to Peenemünde (where rocketswere tested) in1937, but he couldn't quite forget his old Berlin self; he was torn between"personal identity andimpersonal salvation." (406) We learn of the connection linking the Rocket,film, and calculus(407). Then, one summer, "Ilse" appeared at his cubicle, for a visit, reportingthat she and Leniwere living at an SS "reeducation" camp. Pökler dreamed about the historyof Friedrich AugustKekulé, father of organic chemistry (410-13), and about Kekulé'sdream: a serpent with its tail inits mouth. We learn how this dream was misused by the System, as the foundationforunderstanding the benzine ring. All this is lectured on by "Pökler'sold prof," Laszlo Jamf. Ilse'sfantasy was to live on the moon. Then one evening, returning from work,Pökler found her gone. He was crushed: "Victim in a Vacuum," song (414-15). Mondaugen advisedthat he wait, ratherthan rebel; and Pökler agreed.

As war approached Pöklerbecame more enmeshed in the life of theRocket (his life is oftenrecalled, indeed, in terms appropriate to the rocket's flight). "It is thegrim phoenix," we are told,"which creates its own holocaust . . . delibeate resurrection.. . the planet of NationalSocialism." (415) The next summer, again apparently arranged by Weissmann,there was anothervisit from "Ilse" (as before, he could not be certain it was she). Thistime he was granted a two-week furlough; they went to Zwölfkinder, whoseexhibits recapitulate many motifs from earlierportions of Gravity's Rainbow. Pökler fantasized incest andescape (420-21), but insteadaccepted "Ilse" as his daughter: "It was the real moment of conception,in which, years too late,he became her father." (421) Then, the two weeks over, she disappeared again. And "so it hasgone for the six years since," his need of her used by Weissmann (cf.Pointsman/Pudding/Katje,2:[4], above?) to keep Pökler in line. He compares her regularly repeatedappearances to theregular repetition of frames in film: she is "the moving image of a daughter."(422)

He was transferred, in 1944, to Nordhausen, where he dreamed about a lightbulb (426-27: cf."The Story of Byron the Bulb," 4: [3], below?). He became increasingly awareof theconcentration camp, Dora, next to Nordhausen. Which, he learned, was where"Ilse" wasimprisoned. Then Weissmann, whom Pökler had not seen since leavingPeenemünde (though hehad heard rumors of a break with Enzian), appeared to get Pökler towork on modifications for aspecial rocket, the 00000. His job was to produce an insulated plastic fairing,to containsomething called a "Schwarzgerät." He never saw Weissmann again; buthis reward for thisspecial work (apparently) was a letter from Weissmann, promising that "Ilse"would be freed,that she would meet him at Zwölfkinder (which is why he is there "now,"waiting for her). Withdefeat approaching, and the Mittelwerke being evacuated, he finally got intoDora, next door. Hewas appalled at what he saw: endless stacks of bodies, the others near death,emaciated, starving. Onto the finger of "a woman lying, a random woman," he slipped his gold weddingring.

[12], 433-447. Slothrop and Margherita Erdmann have come to Berlin.Slothrop, awake alone atnight, begins to lose touch with his quest, to flirt with "anti-paranoia,where nothing is connectedto anything [cf. The Waste Land, lines 301-302?], a conditionnot many of us can bear for long. .. . Either They have put him here for a reason, or he's just here. He isn'tsure that he wouldn't,actually, rather have that reason . . . ." (434) Leaving Margheritaasleep, he takes five kilos of thehashish liberated from Potsdam (keeping the depleted sixth kilo for himself)to the Chicago Bar(see 3: [6], above), then to Säure Bummer's cellar. It is abandoned,but he finds a white knight(symbol of Der Springer), made out of plastic (guess which kind?), with amessage from Säure. He finally, at dawn, finds Bummer, and delivers the hash. His task accomplished,Slothrop retiresto a mattress with Trudi, for an episode of polymorphous perversity--he "doesnot feel obliged tohave a hardon"--and, finally, nasal sex! (439) We learn about theongoing debate about therelative merits of Beethoven (supported by Gustav) and Rossini (supportedby Säure (439ff.). They have just learned of the death of Anton Webern, shot (by "accident"?)by an Americansoldier, in Vienna. Säure and Gustav engage ("jointly"?) in a grass-tastingritual (442). Slothrop,as Military Police break down the door, escapes; he returns to Margherita,who, frightened andangered by his absence, proceeds to cry all day. As time passes, she isconsoled, really, only bywhippings, self-abasements, in which Slothrop, despite misgivings, participates: "Whatever it iswith her, he's catching it." He dreams of a woman fucked by a multitudeof animals; in death(witnessed by "Old Squalidozzi, ploughman of the deep") she becomes a figureof abundantfertility. (446-7)

[13], 448-456. Cut to the Toiletship ("a triumph of the German maniafor subdividing")Rücksichstlos (determined? relentless?) in the Kiel Canal. Horst Achtfaden, lately stationed atPeenemünde, has been imprisoned in the Chief's Head by the Schwarzkommando. Recalling hiswork on the rocket, he assures himself his guilt is limited: he was onlya small part of a largeoperation (cf. the self-defense of Adolph Eichmann and others?). TheSchwarzkommando (cf.the location of their interrogation to what Treacle says on page 276?) wantto know about theSchwarzgerät, but he claims total ignorance; though he did workon the 00000 rocket he dealtonly with weight control. Nevertheless he finally tells them the name ofa friend who worked onguidance and might know, thus betraying Klaus Närrisch.

[14], 457-468. Slothrop, still as Rocketman, and Greta are heading forSwinemünde--he to findthe Schwarzgerät, she to find her daughter, Bianca, who's supposed tobe with "a yachtful ofrefugees." They come to Bad Karma (can you find it on a map?). Margheritaflees at the sight ofa woman in black, one whom Slothrop "could have ignored, passed over." (458) Some time afterGreta's reappearance, her flight remaining unexplained, they watch the arrivalof the yacht,Anubis (cf. the jackal-headed Egyptian dead god, worshipped to placatetomb-ravaging jackals?). Greta goes on board but Slothrop, hesitating, falls in the water. To keepfrom sinking he slipsout of his Rocketman outfit (cf. the ending of Melville'sWhite-Jacket?). He finally gets aboard,though, helped through a porthole by Stefania Procalowska, the wife of theyacht's owner,Antonio. She tells Slothrop about the scene in Alpdrücken,cut from the release print, during thefilming of which Bianca was conceived: the gang-rape of Margherita by ahorde of black-hooded"jackal men" (461). She also mentions "Karel," and Margherita's husband,Miklos Thanatz("Thanatz" being the Egyptian god of intelligence or learning--but cf., also,"thanatos"?). Duringthe war, Stefania continues, Margherita and Thanatz had a touring sado-masochistpornographyshow, which entertained SS troops at concentration camps and rocket sites.

Her story over, Stefania gives Slothrop some evening clothes, which "fitperfectly." He proceedsto the bar, where the assembled company sings "Welcome Aboard!" (462-3) In the midst of whatseems to be an ongoing orgy, Slothrop catches sight of Bianca, who is elevenor twelve, "aknockout." A woman tells how Margherita, meeting Wimpe in Berlin (see 3:[5], above),discovered her now favorite drug, Oneirine (developed--remember?--by LaszloJamf; see 3: [8],above--and NB.: "oneiric" means "of or relating to dreams"). Slothrop thenmeets Thanatz, whodescribes witnessing the "Max Weber charisma" of the rocket, which "the Statebureaucracycould never routinize." (464) Thanatz also remembers a boy he saw at "theHeath" (which hevisited with Margherita and the S/M show): "Gottfried. God's peace, whichI trust he's found." (465; see 1: [14], above.) He begins to describe Blicero's breakdown andthe "last day" (465),but he's interrupted by Margherita and Bianca, who go into their own S/Mact. The crowd is sosmitten with this act that they form a circle of sorts, held together bysome pretty complex(covalent?) sexual bonding (467; cf. Kekulé's benzine ring, 410-13,above?). Everybody comes,except for a "jap liaison man" who just watches. As the orgy continues,the Anubis--a goldenjackal under its bowsprit--heads toward Swinemünde.

[15],468-472. Slothrop dreams about Llandudno, "where Lewis Carroll wrotethat Alice in Wonderland." Bianca appears at his bedside, ready andwilling. Aftersex, she asks him toescape with her: "I'm a child, I know how to hide. I can hide you too."(470) Slothrop agrees;but as he leaves (in "a bureaucracy of departure") "coming back is somethinghe's alreadyforgotten about." (470-71) Her look "has already broken Slothrop's seeingheart," but he does leave.

[16], 473-482. Climbing a ladder, Slothrop meets the "jap liaison man,"Ensign Morituri (whichdoesn't mean much in Japanese, but cf. Longfellow's poem, "Morituri Salutamus"?: "'O Caesar,we who are about to die [Morituri]/Salute you!' was the gladiators' cry/Inthe arena, standing faceto face/With death and with the Roman populace"). He tells "Ensign Morituri'sStory" (474-9),which is, however, narrated in the third person. After failing to make itin Hollywood,Margherita returned to Germany. She was becoming convinced that she waspart Jewish. Sheended up in Bad Karma, with one Sigmund, for the mud cure--this famous mudbeing "hot andgreasy with traces of radium." (475) Morituri, also visiting Bad Karma,learned from Sigmund ofMargherita's strange absences; curious, he took to following her. One nighthe discovered shehad been murdering Jewish children ("Little piece of Jewish shit. Don'ttry to run away fromme."), burying them in the mud. Morituri rescued the last victim, but hedid not reportMargherita to the police. Next day, Margherita and Sigmund left Bad Karma.

His story over, Morituri tells of his longing to return to his home andfamily, when the Pacificwar is over, "never to leave Hiroshima again" (480; cf. 693, below). Slothropdecides he has toget back to Bianca; but he learns she's disappeared, and Margherita has lockedherself in thehead. After finding a piece of Bianca's frock in the engine room (cf. 3:[22], below?), Slothropconfronts Margherita. And then, listening to her story (which isgiven to us, in a different form,in the chapter that follows), he is overcome by nausea (cf. the beginningof the Sodium Amytalfantasy in 1: [10], above?).

[17], 482-488. We begin with episodes from Greta's (here, "Gretel's")film career. For instancein Sandwüste von Neumexiko (cf. Roger?) she rode a colt named"Snake" (see 3: [5], above;small world). We move gradually to her memories of her visit, with Thanatz,to "the Heath." "Something was being planned, it involved the boy Gottfried." She left thefiring battery withBlicero, who called her (natch) "Katje," for a building she agreed to callthe "Castle," where shewatched a meeting at a distance, including something gray, plastic--which,she was told, was forthe "F-Gerät . . . or some letter." Dressed in an outfit of Imipolex,open at the crotch, and tieddown, she submitted to one Drohne, wearing "a gigantic Imipolex penis overhis own." Sheawoke much later, outside, naked and alone. The battery was abandoned, butsomething hadhappened there.

[18], 488-491. As a storm batters the Anubis, Slothrop searchesfor Bianca. He is beginning tosuspect that the "Schwarzgerät" is not a clue, but bait, manipulatedby "Them." And he ischanging: "He is growing less anxious about betraying those who trust him."(490) Thinking hesees Bianca going overboard, he lunges--and goes overboard himself.

[19], 492-505. Slothrop is rescued by Frau Gnahb and her son, Otto, ina fishing smack. Theyare heading for Swinemünde. Arrived there, Slothrop uses his whitechess knight (see 3: [12],above) to make contact with Der Springer, Gerhardt von Göll, thefilm-director-turned-black-marketeer from whom he hopes to obtain (or atleast learn about) the "Schwarzgerät." Von Göll,Slothrop, and Otto are then joined by Klaus Närrisch (see 3: [13], above),who is now workingfor von Göll. Der Springer, after discussing the relationship of "eliteand preterite," sings "BrightDays (Fox-Trot)" (495). They board Frau Gnahb's boat--together with musicians,chorus girls,vodka, and a troupe of performing chimpanzees--for an expedition up the coast. As they depart,Frau Gnahb sings her "Sea Chanty" (497-8). They are heading forPeenemünde. Närrisch andvon Göll, in a pastiche of soap opera dialogue, discuss Tchitcherine(499-500)--who, they think,may be at Peenemünde himself. They are met, at the dock, by Russiansoldiers, led by MajorZhdaev, who take von Göll away with them. Amid a growing chaos of Russians,musicians,chorus girls, and drunken chimpanzees (they got into the vodka), Slothrop,Närrisch, Otto, andOtto's girl (Hilde) go ashore, to rescue von Göll. Otto explains theMother Conspiracy, and theMother of the Year contest. (505)

[20], 505-518. The makeshift rescue party prepares to attack the SovietAssembly Building (a"holy center"). Slothrop, we learn, "has begun to thin, to scatter," inaccordance withMondaugen's Law: "Personal density . . . is directly proportional to temporalbandwidth." "Andlikewise groweth his Preterition sure." (509) He and Närrisch disarma gay Soviet sergeant. Then they rescue von Göll who, being under Sodium Amytal, has to bedragged or carried. Theymeet, and change clothes with, Zhdaev and Tchitcherine. Frau Gnahb beinglate for the plannedrendezvous, Närrisch falls back to hold off the pursuing Russians. When Frau Gnahb arrivesthey leave, but without Närrisch (Slothrop tries to go back for him,but he's forced into the boat).

We cut--via a brief evocation of the death of John Dillinger (516; cf.368, above)--to Närrisch'spoint of view. He prepares for death, conceived as a kind of Brenschlusspoint: "B, B-sub-N-for-Närrisch, is nearly here." (518)

[21], 519-525. Enzian and two Herero subordinates, Andreas and Christian,burst into anabandoned room. They are too late; Christian's sister, Maria, has alreadybeen abducted byJoseph Ombindi and the Empty Ones (see 3: [3], above), for an enforced abortion. As Enzianand his cohorts head for the (Jamf) refinery on motorcycles, Enzian beginsto see the bombing offactories not as random destruction but as deliberatemodification--"part of a plan both sides--'sides?'--hadalways agreed on." (520) The true War, he now speculates, was "dictated. . . by theneeds of technology." (521; cf. 105, above?) Another song, "Just a daredevilDesox-yephedineDaddy" (522) At the refinery the motorcycle trio finds Pavel, Maria's husband,hallucinating,high from sniffing Leunagasolin. Again, Enzian thinks of his mission: tofind the center(whether rocket, refinery, Volkswagen factory), the "true text." He fantasizesan address to allthe assembled Erdschweinhöhle (see 1: [3], above): "My people,I have had a vision" (525; cf.M.L. King, Jr.?). "Somewhere," he thinks, formulating the ideology of his"new Search," ". . . isthe key that will bring us back, restore us to our Earth and to our freedom."(525) From Pavel,finally, the three Hereros get the address of "Ombindi's medical connection."

[22], 525-532. Back on Frau Gnahb's boat, Slothrop, waking, berates vonGöll for abandoningNärrisch: "Springer, this ain't the fuckin' movies now, comeon." "Not yet," von Göll replies,and the narrative turns, briefly, into basic travelogue. In spite of hisanger at the betrayal ofNärrisch, Slothrop makes another deal with von Göll: he will pickup a package von Göll is afterin return for discharge papers, to be delivered at Cuxhaven. They approach,ram, and board theAnubis (the package is on board). Slothrop is dispatched to thesuddenly darkened engineroom,where he is attacked, and then bumps into "something hanging from the overhead. Icy littlethighs in wet silk swing against his face. . . . and the smell of . . .of . . ." (531; cf. 285, above?). When the lights come on he finds the package; but he does not look up. AtStralsund he leavesthe boat, urging von Göll to get the papers to Cuxhaven soon.

[23], 532-536. We cut to "The White Visitation." Brigadier Pudding diedin June, of a massiveE. Coli infection (contracted, presumably, during his sessions withKatje/Domina Nocturna--see2: [4], above). Left alone, Katje finds the film that was shot of her, secretly,at Pirate's (see 1:[14], above--and cf. Katje, here, to Margherita Erdmann). She then screensa film of the octopus,Grigori, watching and responding to the first film (cf. Grigori,here, to Franz Pökler respondingto Alpdrücken?--see 3: [11], above). Spliced to the end ofthis is a film of Osbie Feel, narratinginto the camera the scenario of his film, "Doper's Greed" (534-5;is this, perhaps, a model of thenarrative technique of the book we're reading?). Katje interprets "Doper'sGreed" as anallegorical prophecy (as we, perhaps, are to interpret Gravity'sRainbow?) of Pointsman's fall. She leaves "The White Visitation" (cf. her departure from Blicero's Hanseland Gretel "game"?). Once again, she goes to Pirate's maisonette. Osbie is there, shooting up;Katje learns that theyare getting organized, to work against Pointsman. "Dialectically, sooneror later, somecounterforce would have had to arise." (536; NB. title of Part 4.)

[24], 537-548. Pirate dreams (cf. 1: [1]? Is this, in some sense, acontinuation of the dream thatopens the book?) of arriving, as a "novice," at a kind of Guilt-Convention. Father Rapierdiscourses on Death and Them, on the hope "that some chance of renewal, somedialectic, is stilloperating in History." (540) It is a Purgatory (or maybe an Inferno) offormer employees of theFirm, employees who have repented or "turned." (NB. to "turn" an agent,technically, means toconvert him or her into a counter-agent, one who will then betray, covertly,his or her former"side." But cf. all the talk here about "turning"--e.g., "turn again" [544]--toT.S. Eliot's "AshWednesday"?) Pirate meets, among others, Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck (see 2:[3], above). Hethen comes to recognize that there can be, for him, no mercy, that he isdoomed "to stay downamong the Preterite, . . .impossible to locate or to redeem." (544) Katjearrives. There is debateabout the guilt of Frans van der Groov (545; see 1: [14], above). "But thePeople will never loveyou," she says to Pirate, who is holding her, "or me. . . . Do you know wherethat puts us?" (548) They begin to dance, as do the others around them, dissolving "into the raceand swarm of thisdancing Preterition." (548)

[25], 549-557. Slothrop, wearing Tchitcherine's uniform (see 3: [20],above), is now walkingalone in the Zone. "The Nationalities are on the move." The potato fieldshave been stripped bythe SS, to make alcohol for the rockets. Slothrop dreams about Tantivy (551-2). He is becomingsensitive to the presence of animals, trees--which his family made moneycutting down, forpaper. "That's really insane," Slothrop says to himself (553). We are givenhis "Partial List ofWishes on Evening Stars for This Period " (cf. 760, below?), and we learnof his meeting with afat kid, Ludwig, who's looking for his lost lemming, Ursula (553; cf. theracial suicide programof the Empty Ones?). Slothrop reassures Ludwig (cf. 3: [10], above?) andjoins him in hissearch. As they look for Ursula, Slothrop thinks about his "first Americanancestor William," adissenter from "the Wintrop machine" (cf. Amy Sprue, 329, above?). Williamfled from Bostonto the Berkshires, where he raised pigs (cf. 3: [28], below?) with his sonJohn. (NB. NathanielHawthorne's first American ancestor was also named William, and also hada son named John. Is it relevant that the family whose history provides the subject of Hawthorne'sHouse of the Seven Gables is named "Pyncheon"?) William also wrotea theologicaltreatise, burned inBoston, entitled On Preterition--which argued for the importanceof "the Preterite, the many Godpasses over when he chooses a few for salvation . . . without whom there'dbe no elect." (555) Because of orthodox hostility to this work, he moved back to England. "Couldhe have been thefork in the road America never took, the singular point she jumped the wrongway from? . . . Itseems to Tyrone Slothrop that there might be a route back" (556; cf. Enzian,525, above?), via the temporary anarchy of the Zone. Slothrop getsseparated from Ludwig ina town near the sea,when they chance upon--of all people--Major Duane Marvy, warming himselfin front of a fire(see 3: [1], [2], and [4], above).

[26], 557-563. Marvy--seeing the Russian uniform, and worried about hisblack market activitiesin the Russian zone--does not recognize Slothrop. With Marvy is Clayton("Bloody") Chiclitz (amagnate, later in his career, in V. and The Crying of Lot 49),at this point into the black market,and manufacturer of such curious toys as "Juicy Jap" and "Shufflin' Sam." After declining a tasteof Marvy's "Atomic Chile," Slothrop accompanies them on a visit to a rocketsite, where helearns of their plan (with Tchitcherine) to raid a nearby Schwarzkommandocamp at midnight. He sets out to find and warn the Schwarzkommando; he is also losing his abilityto focus on hisSchwarzgerät quest. At the camp he meets Andreas (Enzian is absent)and delivers his warning. He also tells Andreas what he learned about the Schwarzgerät from Thanatzand Margherita. Andreas explains the Herero mandala, and the relation ofthe Hereros' being "passed over" to theirquest for the Rocket.

[27], 563-566. With Marvy and Chiclitz, Tchitcherine has raided theSchwarzkommando camp,only to find it empty. He recalls what he learned from interrogatingNärrisch (who was not killedafter all). There was a special oxygen hook-up, from which Tchitcherineconcludes that the"Schwarzgerät" was some sort of after-burner. He's also worried aboutthe "Soviet intelligenceofficer" Marvy met (i.e., Slothrop, in Tchitcherine's uniform); do his superiorsknow about hisvendetta against Enzian? Listening to Marvy and Chicklitz talk, Tchitcherine(like Enzian--see3: [21], above) begins to suspect a conspiracy: "A Rocket-carteltranscending nationalboundaries, a "Rocket-state whose borders he cannot cross." (566)

[28], 566-577. Slothrop is on his way to Cuxhaven. Stairstep gableson the houses he passeslead the narrator (apparently) to a meditation on "film and calculus, bothpornographies of flight. Reminders of impotence and abstraction." (567) As he approaches a village,children tellSlothrop the legend of "Plechazunga, the Pig-Hero," who held off a Vikinginvasion in the tenthcentury. They ask him to take the part of the hero in their annual festival. This he does, nextday, dressed in a pig suit. Later, the police brutally break up the village'sblack market (cf. thedeath of Peter Sachsa?--see 1: [18] and [19], 2: [3], above). Slothrop isrescued from the ensuingriot by a girl with whom he hides (cf. Bianca?), and who then helps him escape. Back on theroad, alone, he befriends a fellow pig. Song: "A pig is a jolly companion."(575) Next day, theyenter Zwölfkinder (see 3: [11], above). Slothrop meets the pig's owner,Pökler. Realizingsuddenly that he's heard of Pökler (see 3: [1], above), Slothrop askshim about the Schwarzgerät. But Pökler, first, tells him about Ilse.

[29], 577-580. Pökler tells Slothrop about Jamf's last phase, "NationalSocialist chemistry,"which he confuses with memories of his film-actor idol, Rudolf Klein-Rogge. Central to theappeal of both are fantasies of brutally transcendent power. Klein-Roggeplayed Dr. Mabuse (afilm projection of Hugo Stinnes--see 3 [1], above), "the savage throwback,the charismatic flash."(579) Pökler recalls Jamf's last lecture: "move beyond life towardthe inorganic." (580) ButJamf himself stayed with carbon, and moved to America, "under the sinisterinfluence of LyleBland" (Slothrop's "Uncle Lyle"--see, again, 3:[1], above).

[30], 580-591. (The story of Lyle Bland and the Masons.) We learn aboutBland's "nefarioustricks," including covert encouragement of "genital obsession" among workers. His businessdownfall began when he befriended Alfonso Tracy, Princeton '06, who had beenstuck by theChicago mob with a consignment of wildly messed-up pinball machines. Visitingthe MasonicTemple at Mouthorgan, Mo., to see the machines, Bland then calls in his German"expert," BertFibel--who works for General Electric in Pittsfield, Mass., as Bland's agent(to keep an eye onlocal boy, Tyrone Slothrop). Fibel fixes the machines, which is how Blandjoined the Masons;they gave him membership out of gratitude. We then learn something of thehistory of theMasons, as a conspiratorial force behind much of American History (587-8). They have now losttouch with their former magic, becoming simply a businessman's club, butBland gets in touchwith the old magic. He learns to leave his body. He took to leaving itfor longer and longerperiods. Getting into it he finds "that Gravity, taken so for granted, isreally something eerie,Messianic, extrasensory in Earth's mindbody" (590; his mysticism is comparedto that reportedby the late Walter Rathenau to Carroll Eventyr--see 1: [19], above). Finallyhe announced to hisfamily: "Tonight, I am going out for good." And he did.

[31], 591-610. Doctors Muffage and Spontoon are in Cuxhaven. They'reworking forPointsman--who, Muffage thinks, is "losing his grip." And they'relooking for Slothrop--who,they learn from a British corporal, is in town, wearing a pig suit. At analcohol dump, the fuelnow fuelling a party, Seaman Bodine (see 3: [6] and [8], above) is promotinga runciple spoonfight. Slothrop's nearby, in a trailer, still wearing his pig suit. Asthe police close in he escapeswith one Albert Krypton. They find Bodine who--the runciple spoon fightover--flees with them,the MP's (and Muffage and Spontoon) in hot pursuit. They hijack a Red Crosscanteen truck,which takes them to a bar-casino-opium den-whorehouse, "Putzi's," where Slothrophopes tomeet up with Der Springer. Bodine introduces Slothrop to a whore named"Solange," who offersto take him to the baths. She explains to a by now very paranoid Slothropthat the Zone is notone Plot but, as he reflects, "a network of all plots," which "may yet carryhim to freedom." (603) As they head for the baths Bodine goes off to make a cocaine delivery--to,as it turns out, MajorMarvy. Marvy then gets set up with a Spanish whore (a victim of Franco),Manuela, who hangshis uniform in a closet and leads him to the baths. An MP raid is suddenlyannounced; Marvy,fleeing, finds only Slothrop's pig costume in the changing room. He putsit on, and is thencaptured. He is taken off in an ambulance, in which Muffage andSpontoon--thinking he'sSlothrop--remove his testicles, for Pointsman. Marvy, too, as "Slothrop,"is to be taken back toPointsman.

Meanwhile, back at Putzi's, Slothrop is asleep in bed with Solange, dreamingof Zwölfkinder andBianca. "Solange," who is in fact Leni Pökler, is also dreaming--ofher Bianca, Ilse. "Leni'searly dream for her is coming true. She will not be used." (610) Upstairs,one Möllner explainsto Bodine that von Göll is very busy; there are, in any case, no papers(the discharge von Göllpromised to Slothrop--see 3: [22], above) for the sailor's friend.

[32], 610-616. Tchitcherine has traced Weissmann's rocket battery tothe Lüneberg Heath; butwhat he has found there is the set of Martin Fierro (see 3: [8],above), which he's never read. But the singing-duel is now being filmed, and he recognizes its similarityto the one he saw inCentral Asia, on the way to the Kirghiz Light. He knows that Weissmann infact fired the 00000rocket nearby. But now he must wait; "there is a counterforce," he believes,"in the Zone." Hehopes he might meet Enzian here. Felipe--one of the Argentine anarchistsinvolved in thefilming of Martin Fierro--meditates (in the cinematic terms thathave become popular in thegroup) on the true nature of history (612-13). This set, we learn, willremain as a permanentvillage. And we learn about new, strange villages springing up in the Zone,including the Hund-Stadt, populated by trained killer-dogs who, since theirmasters have died or disappeared, cannotbe pacified. A study on how to induce factionalism (master-cults) amongthese dogs, in order tofacilitate the re-taking of the village, has been contracted to Pointsman. He is now in officialdisgrace, since the castrating of Marvy. Clive Mossmoon (see 1: [5] and2: [4], above) and SirMarcus Scammony discuss what is to be done about Pointsman--and about "theAmerican" (i.e.,Slothrop). Sir Marcus's "idle and bitchy faggotry" is contrasted with theloving homosexuality ofthe World War I battlefields (cf. Pudding's memories, 2: [4], above?). "Homosexuality in highplaces is just a carnal afterthought now, and the real and only fucking isdone on paper." (616)

4: The Counterforce

[1], 619-626. Bette Davis, Margaret Dumont and Tyrone Slothrop (waking)hear the overheadpassage of a P-47 Thunderbolt ("it sounds . . . like a kazoo"),piloted by Pirate Prentice. Others(Osbie Feel, Webley Silvernail, Katje) are also on Slothrop's trail. SinceV-E day Pirate has lost"his odd talent for living the fantasies of others," but he's still "haunted"by Frans van der Groov(see 1: [14], above). Beneath him, Gustav and Säure Bummer (see 3:[12], above) are stillarguing about Beethoven vs. Rossini (621-2). Slothrop, elsewhere in theZone, finds hisharmonica, soaking in a stream--the same harmonica, in fact, that he lostat the RoselandBallroom in 1938 or 1939 (see 1 [10], above); but he doesn't remember. "Yup,still thinkingthere's a way to get back . . . America. Poor asshole, he can't let hergo." (630) Eventually,wandering, drawing diagrams of the rocket as graffiti, "he becomes a crosshimself, acrossroads." (625) He dreams of a dog, killed by the noise (cf. the rocket?)as he retrieves amandrake-root for a magician (cf. Pointsman?). Then (as it will be put later)he is "dispersed";he "sees a very thick rainbow here, a stout rainbow cock driven down outof pubic clouds intoEarth [cf. 693, below?], green wet valleyed Earth, and his chest fills andhe stands crying, not athing in his head, just feeling natural." (626)

[2], 626-640. Roger Mexico (been a long time, hasn't it?) is drivingon the Autobahn. He recallsJessica's last visit to "The White Visitation," his own need (which, however,wanes at times) todo "what's right" about Slothrop--whom Jessica regards mainly as a monster. The war over,Jessica was leaving--and left, to go to Cuxhaven, with Beaver (see 1: [16],above). MiltonGloaming (see 1: [5], above), back from the Zone, filled Roger in on "thegreat struggle for theIG's intelligence machinery" (630), to which Slothrop seemed quite important. Mexico arrives(still a flashback here, but now in the present tense) at Twelfth House,to confront Pointsman. Geza Rózsavögli (a "White Visitation" veteran) is there, in thereception room; backed intoPointsman's "shadow-corner," he enters a bizarre Hawaii fantasy (634-5; aSlothropian"appearance"?--note the language, and cf. Slothrop's shirt, 2: [1], above?). Mexico findsPointsman in the office of Clive Mossmoon (see 1: [5], 2: [4], above), wherea meeting is inprogress. He leaps on the conference table, and pisses all over the assembledelite--exceptPointsman, whom he curses, elaborately. Then, after escaping, he goes toPirate's, to be toldabout "Creative Paranoia," the need to combat the "They-system" with a"We-system." "Well,"replies Roger, "you're playing Their game, then." (638) Sir Stephen Dodson-Truckis there (see2: [3], 3: [24], above); we learn about the fate of his wife, Nora (see 1:[18], above): she hasidentified with Gravity, and become victim to practical jokes from her friends.(639) ThomasGwenhidwy (see 1: [17] and [20], above) is also there. And in spite of hisdoubts, Roger joinsthem. Which is why (back to this chapter's opening "present") Roger is onthe Autobahn, drivinginto Cuxhaven.

[3], 640-655. In Thuringia, at night, Pfc. Eddie Pensiero, "amphetimineenthusiast" and expertreader of shivers, is giving a haircut to his colonel. An overhead bulbis kept lighted by a handgenerator, cranked by Paddy ("Electro") McGonigle, an expert reader of strobingfrequencies. They hear somebody "playing blues on a mouth harp" in the dark (624; anotherSlothropian"appearance"?). The colonel is from Kenosha, Wisconsin (cf. 1: [10], above?). We shift (in thecolonel's fantasy) to a dialogue between "Skippy" and "Mister Information"--about"Happyville,"the "pointsman," the persistence of the War in which, still, "the right peopleare dying." (644-46) Then "Skippy" (turning back, more or less, into the colonel) meets Dr. Jamf. Then we learn thatthe bulb run by Paddy's generator is the same bulb that FranzPökler slept under at Nordhausen(see 426-7, above): "This bulb is immortal"! Which brings us to"The Story of Byron the Bulb"(647-55), told to "Skippy" by "Mister Information." Byron's early dreamsof power set himagainst "Phoebus"--the agency of the international light-bulb cartel which"fixes the prices anddetermines the operational lives of all the bulbs in the world." After 1000hours, with a Phoebushit-woman on her way to get him, Byron is bulb-snatched, and dispatched ona series of travelstoo bizarre to detail here. We learn, meanwhile, about the working arrangementsbetweenPhoebus and "The Grid." (654) Byron survives, but his early ambition hasbeen thwarted; he "iscondemned to go on forever, knowing the truth and powerless to change anything."(655; cf.Pirate's hopes for "Creative Paranoia," 4: [2], above?) The story over,Lazslo Jamf ("Mr.Information"?) walks away; "the colonel is left alone in Happyville." Then,his throat is whollyexposed to Eddie's razor, to the strobing of the bulb.

[4], 656-663. Katje, in a white tennis dress, on a stolen bicycle, meetsthe Hereros, in whitesailor suits, singing "Pa-ra-noooiia" (657; "ooooi"?). She was not readyfor the "blackness." Shemeets, for the first time, Enzian, who talks to her about the "Raketen-Stadt"(660; cf. 4: [6],below?), and about Weissmann: "Whatever happened at the end, he hastranscended." (660-61) He recalls what Weissmann, in a letter, said about Katje (662). He tellsher the Hereros havesomeone "who was with Blicero in May" (this being, we learn in the next chapter,Thanatz--see3: [14], above). Katje is invited to attend the interrogation.

[5], 663-673. "You will want cause and effect. All right." (663) Thanatzfell off the Anubis inthe same storm that sent Slothrop overboard (see 3: [18], above). He wasrescued by a Polishundertaker, trying (in order to make him better in his particular line ofwork) to get struck bylightning--seeking to "experience a singular point." After setting Thanatzashore, he gets hiswish (664-65). Thanatz then encounters a village of male homosexuals, liberated(or, as they seeit, "banished") from Dora (see 3: [11], above). They have reproduced, intheir "freedom," a"phantom SS command," modelled on their fantasy of the Rocket-structure atthe Mittelwerke. They are waiting for Blicero, of whom they've only heard, to be their leader. Thanatz has cometo be haunted by his memories of Blicero (see 3: [14], above). He seekshim out, however, at anearby gasworks--recalling, meanwhile, Peter Sachsa's prewar séances(668; see 1: [5], [18] and[19], above). Thanatz is nabbed by the Russians, then freed (by mistake)by Polish guerillas. Sobegin his "lessons in being preterite" (668). He travels the Zone as a DP. His memory of the lastrocket-firing grows clearer--which he is now (i.e., in the "present" of theclose of the previouschapter) relating to the Schwarzkommando. He's coming to see that "the twochildren, Gottfriedand Bianca, are the same." (672) Telling all he remembers to theassembled Erdschweinhöhlers,"he is the angel they've hoped for." They have already assembled their ownrocket fromscavenged fragments (cf. Mexico to Pointsman, 88, above?). And by the timehe's done "theywill all know what the Schwarzgerät was, how it was used, where the00000 was fired from, andwhich way it was pointed." (673) All this brings the various Herero factionstogether, reconcilesthem. Maria has even appeared in a dream to Christian (see 3: [21], above),saying she seeks norevenge on Ombindi.

[6], 674-700. (This long, bizarre chapter may give us [see, for instance,682, below] what's leftof Slothrop's "point of view," since his "dispersal.") We are in theRaketen-Stadt, "where theFather ["Broderick"--see 3: [1], above] plots constantly to killhis son." Tyrone sets out torescue the "Radiant Hour," stolen from the day's 24 by "colleagues of theFather, for sinisterreasons of their own." (674) The "Floundering Four"--Tyrone, Myrtle Miraculous(she canperform miracles), Maximillian ("a Negro in a pearl-gray zoot suit and Invernesscape"), andMarcel ("a mechanical chess-player") set out to combat the "Paternal Peril." Each has a flaw (cf.Dorothy's three companions in The Wizard of Oz?). Song, "How-dyneighbor, how-dy pard!"(677; cf. various details to 760, below?) They gradually infiltrate theirown audience (orsomeone else's). Maximillian is reading "the Closet Intellectual Book, TheWisdom of the Great Kamikaze Pilots, with illustrations by Walt Disney." Then, as partsof the "nonstop revue,"watched by the now-infiltrated-audience, various sketches. "The Low FrequencyListener" (681-2): Slothrop, for reasons he can't remember, is trying toget through to the Argentine anarchists. He's at Magdeburg, site of a low-frequency antenna. He's having troubleremembering hisparents, "as Broderick progresses into Perilous Pop and Nalline into ssshhhghh. . ." (682) Next(in the "revue"), "Mom Slothrop's Letter to Ambassador Kennedy" (682): sheasks, familiarlyand drunkenly, for news of Tyrone. Then, "On the Phrase 'Ass Backwards'"(683-87): SäureBummer, talking to Slothrop, attacks the illogic of this phrase. We learnabout the umlaut-deficient robbery victim (female) who, meaning to shout"Hübsch Räuber ("cute-lookingrobber"), instead came out with "Hubschrauber" ("helicopter," which had notyet been invented)(683-4). Seaman Bodine, after defending "Ass Backwards," sings "My Doper'sCadenza" (685-6). Then (still the "revue"), "Shit 'n' Shinola" (687-8): their color is contrasted with the white oftoilets--"Odorless and Official Death." Next, "An Incident in the Transvestites'Toilet" (688-90): Slothrop's dressed in drag, as Fay Wray. An ape hands him a sodium bomb,which explodeswhen flushed down the toilet by an Asian--also in drag, as Margaret O'Brien. Next, "A Momentof Fun with Takeshi and Ichizo, the Komical Kamikazes" (690-92): they keeplearning from "oldKenosha (cf. 1: [10] and 4: [3], above?) the loony radarman" that no Americantargets are withinrange. Then, "Streets" (692-94): Slothrop finds (he doesn't know where)a newspaper fragment--"a wirephoto of a giant white cock, dangling in thesky downward out of a white pubic bush" (cf.626, above?) under a partial headline: "MB DRO / ROSHI (cf. 480, above? But NB., also,"Roshi" is the title of the highest Zen master.) Then, "Listening to theToilet" (694-97): onwaiting to hear the sound of the toilet shut off (by Them), waiting for briefcessations of "theroaring of the sun," in towns which turn out to be "on the borders of TimeZones"--was it"Kenosha, Wisconsin?" (696)--where the Kenosha Kid is caught in a "sound-shadow"(cf. 4: [2],above?). Then, "Witty Repartee" (697-98): more of Ichizo and Takeshi, thensome informationon the Hotchkiss machine gun. Then, "Heart-to-Heart, Man-to-Man" (698-99): "Pop" and"Tyrone" discuss the latter's growing "electrofreak" addiction to "screwingin," "waves." Next(and last), "Some Characteristics of Imipolex G" (699-700): "the first plasticthat is actuallyerectile." (Hmmmmm?) Various theories about the necessary stimulus: "a thin matrix ofwires," "a beam-scanning system . . . analogous to the well-known video electronstream," orprojection of an "electronic 'image,' analogous to a motion picture."

[7], 700-706. Tchitcherine is alone now; Soviet intelligence officer,Nicolai (yes) Ripov, isclosing in. Tchitcherine remembers what Wimpe (see, for instance, 3: [5],above) once said tohim: "Marxist dialectic s? That's not an opiate, eh?" (701) Thepeculiarity of Oneirine: "Pökler's singularity" (702)--a "haunting," dull and difficult todistinguish from reality, butleading to "the discovery that everything is connected" (703). Then comes "Tchitcherine'sHaunting," an interrogation by Ripov. "Why were you hunting your black brother?" "I thought,"Tchitcherine replies, "I was being punished. Passed over. I blamed him."(705) He then learnshis future from Ripov: a 30-days' leave, then back to Russia, then to CentralAsia with capturedGerman rocket personnel.

[8], 706-717. The Gross Suckling Conference (named after the inn whereit was held): EnsignMorituri (see 3: [16], above), Carroll Eventyr (see 1: [5] and [18] above),Thomas Gwenhidwy(see 1: [20], above), and Roger Mexico. They deduce the firingdirection of the 00000 rocket--true north; but where was it firedfrom? Roger recalls (another flashback shifting into presenttense) Jessica telling him, in Cuxhaven, of her decision to marry Jeremy. Jeremy, at lunch,invites him to dinner, at the home of a former Krupp manager, StefanUtgarthaloki. Roger bringsalong Seaman Bodine, who's wearing an extraordinary zoot suit (cf. 2: [6]),above?). Arriving,they notice four musicians--including Gustav and Anton (see 3: [12],above)--scheduled to playHaydn's suppressed "Kazoo" quartet (711-12). Slothrop, we learn, "has becomeone pluckedalbatross. Plucked, hell--stripped. Scattered, all over the Zone. It's doubtful if he can ever be'found' again, in the conventional sense of 'positively identified anddetained.'" (712) We learnabout the Counterforce's abiding awe of "the man"--who "has a branch officein each of ourbrains." (712) At table, seeing a huge barbecue pit at the end of the diningroom, and realizingthat they themselves are to be the "Überrashungbraten" ("surprise roast"),Roger and Bodineproceed to gross out the other guests by inventing disgusting, alliterativemenu entries (e.g.,"menstrual marmalade," "clot casserole"). "Commando Connie"Flamp, war correspondent,joins the game ("discharge dumplings"), as do the musicians ("wartwaffles," "puke pancakes,with sweat syrup"). The others begin to vomit uncontrollably. Jessica leaveswith Jeremy. "Does Roger have a second of pain right here? Yes. Sure. You would too."(716) Then Bodineand Roger, followed by the musicians, escape--as Connie continues the gamealone.

[9], 717-724. Geli Tripping (see 3: [1] and [2], above) is looking forTchitcherine; she's "theonly one in the Zone who loves him completely." She is alive to Titans,to "the green uprising,"to the primal energy which we deny, instead promoting death (720). Cut (721)to Gottfried andBlicero (see, for instance, 1: [14], above). Blicero tells Gottfried abouthis search for "the edgeof the World," and about earlier "edges," such as America, Africa--gifts,ways of "returning,"which Europe refused, establishing instead "its order of Analysis and Death." "In time," heexplains, "the death-colonies grew strong enough to break away [cf.Brenschluss?]. But theimpulse to empire, the mission to propagate death, the structure of it, kepton." (722) "I want,"he says, "to break out--to leave this cycle of infection and death." (723)

[10], 724-733. Enzian is transporting the Hereros' rocket (see 4: [5],above), the 00001,constructed from scavenged parts. We move into "scholasticism . . . , Rocketstate-cosmology."(726) Enzian talks to Christian--to whom, he reflects, he must tell "everythinghe knows." Katjeis with them. And nearby is fat Ludwig; he has found his lemming, Ursula,who peers out of hispocket (729; see 3: [25], above). Tensions between Enzian and the EmptyOnes have reemerged,but Enzian maintains control. Ludwig follows on the periphery of the Hereromarch. "They have," he senses, "somewhere to go."

[11], 733-735. Geli finds Tchitcherine at last. She has put a spellon him: "May he be blindnow to all but me." Later, the Herero convoy passes by. Tchitcherine, waking,stops them--andhustles some American cigarettes and three potatoes from Enzian, whom hedoes not recognize. "This is magic. Sure--but not necessarily fantasy. Certainly not the firsttime a man has passedhis brother by, at the edge of the evening, often forever, without knowingit." (735)

[12], 735-760. We move from a fantasy elevator of the future (strangenoises as it passesabandoned floors), through "The Lederhoseners" singing about "the beatingsMutti gave to me,"to Ludwig and Thanatz--the latter explaining "Sado-anarchism" to the former(737). They havereached the Lüneberg Heath, where the Hereros are assembling the 00001rocket. We learn thestory of "the kid who hates kreplach" (737). Slothrop was to be "presentat . . . his time's assembly"; but "he is being broken down instead,and scattered." (738. Is this a defeat, a fall? Orhas Slothrop's plastic ego turned out to be, as it were, in a positive sensebio-degradable?)

Seaman Bodine looks up and sees Slothrop; he's one of the few still ableto see him at all, "tohold him together, even as a concept": "Rocketman, Rocketman. You poor fucker." (740-41) Hegives Slothrop a piece of a shirt soaked in the blood of John Dillinger,outside the BiographTheater (see 368, 516, above; and cf. the cloth with which St. Veronica [see,for instance, 1: [7],above] wiped Christ's face?). Later, Bodine began, "helpless, in shame,to let Slothrop go." Welearn of Slothrop's last appearance--on the cover of the only album releasedby an early-'60's rockgroup, the Fool (742). Dzabajev (earlier, a sidekick of Tchitcherine, see3: [9], above) and hisfriends are at a convention of village idiots. They are shootingwine--defying gravity with a"wine rush" (743). Which, apparently, sets off the series of titled sub-chaptersthat conclude thebook: "The Occupation of Mingeborough" (744): back in Massachusetts, amemory which isalso a look into the future; "it may be too late to get home." "Back inDer Platz" (745-6): atSäure's, Gustav and Anton have converted kazoos into hashish pipes;Gustav screws a light bulbinto his--turns out to be our friend, Byron. We're told about "the movieunder the rug," in whichvarious irreversible processes are reversed. "Weissmann's Tarot" (746-49): "He is the father youwill never quite manage to kill. The Oedipal situation in the Zone thesedays is terrible" (747). Weissmann's present condition is set forth by the Tower, over whose significancethere is considerable debate. Others of his cards are analyzed. "The LastGreen and Magenta" (749): on theHeath. "The Horse" (749): the last horse in waiting to be sacrificed (cf.337, above?). "Isaac"(749-50): at the moment he was about to be sacrificed by his father, Abraham,Isaac saw theantechambers of the Throne.

"Pre-Launch" (750-51): Weissmann has bound and dressed the boy prettily,before placing himin the Rocket; "the 00000 is the womb into which Gottfried returns." (750;i.e., we are nowlearning directly what happened on "the Heath"). The Rocket is the Oven(see 1: [14], above). And Gottfried himself is the "Schwarzgerät." "Hardware" (751): Gottfriedis encased inImipolex. There is an earphone for communications from Weissmann, but thereis no returnchannel. "Chase Music" (751-53): various aging super-heroes (e.g., Superman,The LoneRanger, Philip Marlowe) begin arriving "too late." "He [i.e., Pointsman]actually misses thedogs." He has missed his chance. "He'll be left only with Cause and Effect,and the rest of hissterile armamentarium . . . his mineral corridors do not shine." "Countdown"(753-54): therocket countdown was actually first invented for a movie, Die Frau inMond (1929; cf. Ilse'sdreams, 3: [11], above?) by Fritz Lang. It is interpreted by "Kabbalistspokesman SteveEdelman:" it "appears to be serial, [but] it actually conceals the Tree ofLife, which must beapprehended all at once, together, in parallel" (cf. Leni Pökler toFranz, 159, above?).

"Strung Into the Apollonian Dream" (754): Gottfried waits in the Rocket,gazing at his Imipolexshroud, lulled by the familiar smell. "Come, wake," it says. "All is well." "Orpheus puts DownHarp" (754-57): Richard M. Zhlubb (cf. the source of the epigraph to Part4?), manager of theOrpheus Theater, Los Angeles, complains to "our" reporter about harmonica-playingin movielines. Steve Edelman is one of the principal trouble-makers. Zhlubb takesour reporter for adrive in his black Volkswagen, with its special laugh-track cassette system. They pass a funeral(JFK? RFK?). Zhlubb has a fantasy of being smothered, while driving, bya dry-cleaning bag: "aplastic shroud." They hear a siren, but "the sound is greater than police." (cf. the opening ofGravity's Rainbow?) "The Clearing" (757-58): the Rocket is launched. "Ascent" (758-60): Gottfried, in the rocket, moves past Brenschluss, rushes into growing whiteness. "Descent"(760): in the Orpheus Theater the screen has just gone blank. The rocketis poised, in its lastdelta-t above the roof of the theater. For our last moment's diversion weare offered a hymn,written by William Slothrop. "Now everybody--."