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“Bleeding Edge”: Thomas Pynchon goes truther

"Bleeding Edge" started out all fun and games. Before cracking the spine, I grinned at how aptly Thomas Pynchon's title worked for a historical novel set during the fin-de-siecle dotcom crash. A phrase that once served as a self-congratulating signifier of way-ahead-of-the-curve-ness, bandied about by preening venture capitalists, startup CEOs, and phalanxes of blow-dried public relations myrmidons, had become appropriately musty and nostalgic, exquisitely dated. Very deft, Mr. Pynchon! How far we've come, that the very words "bleeding edge" now summon up the past.

Then I recalled that in the late '90s I wrote a column for a magazine called Web Review titled "The Bleeding Edge." My grin went a little lopsided. Huh. I've been reading Pynchon for more than three decades; was there any chance that he had been reading me? Spying on me?! In short order, I spotted two more mildly paranoia-inducing datapoints: One character wears a T-shirt with the initials UTSL -- short for "Use The Source, Luke" -- a reference to the information-wants-to-be-free source code so willingly shared by free software hackers. Well, OK, I still own a (frayed at the edges) T-shirt declaring "May The Source Be With You."

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