Stuff written by writers like Pynchon and Diaz. Lots of references in them, and most of them obscure. I love those things. When you recognise some really obscure reference, and are AHHHH.
What do you think?
References in literature are like references in comedy: utter shit by themselves. Novice (and not so new) writers usually drop pointless references here and there, thinking the reader will be either amazed by their knowledge or confused because he didn't "get it".
In the proper context can be made to work, just like Ulysses is build on upon the greek myth and establishing a parallelism in order to show what should be obvious to everyone but we're not aware (like a sort of episteme, in which we can easily criticize modernity premises but not being aware of the premises of our own historical epoch, yet the alienation can be shown using history as a tool and showing the parallelism or decadence on the overall scheme of a certain element, like Foucault does often too).
This said, a reference is hardly justified, and it needs to be both not-necessary (like first Ulysses commentaries that suggested not editing the book with the chapter titles because ( trying paraphrasing something I read years ago in my mother tongue) "the scaffolding and any structural tool needs to be dismantled to show the final product as a whole, like a finished building") and to be linked with the second-reading of the book (a political or philosophical commentary for example) in a way that makes the point more clear to the reader.
The alternative is name-dropping, something that many authors do today. Open a Dan Brown book and you'll find many details (often wrong) about the construction of cathedrals that serve no purpose whatsoever for the story.
And Pynchon. Like if the references to Metal Gear Solid in Bleeding Edge were fucking necessary.
I think you need to keep the difference between reference and intertextuality in mind. Reference is often times incredibly lame when its meant to be taken seriously (like Bolano mentioning people talking about Borges all the time, that's a real conversation that happens) but when it comes to just name-dropping things with no real sense of development then that's just pointless show-offy nonesense (mainly that Ready Player One section that's always posted on here). Intertextuality on the other hand is almost always a great thing, poets referencing each other with meter (take Shakespeare's Pericles referencing Gower's Confessio Amantis by using iambic tetrameter near the end) or line quotations (Yeats' referencing Donne in 'The Song of Wandering Aengus'). One of the main functions of post-modern art is intertextuality by way of pastiche, whereas Ulysses was directly parodying The Odyssey, post-modernism is filled with subtle cues that pastiche works before them, it's impossible to not have intertextual relationships anymore, which isn't a problem and tends to show much richer reads when you can view the inspirations behind a work to support your conceptions of it, the issue is just mindlessly referencing anything you can without any depth there. Take the Gozilla 3 and Roman Holiday references in Inherent Vice, at first they seem to be juvenile and lame references just for the sake of being zany, but if you've watched both of them you realize that Godzilla 3 is a pastiche of the plot and themes from Roman Holiday, giving the reference in the work a greater level into showing the nature of intertextuality and the need for deeper reads as it also signals the "Lost Day" in Inherent Vice (a device that goes unnoticed almost every first read of Inherent Vice, but go check the wiki to read up on it if you haven't heard it, which also becomes a greater intertextual relaitonship to some of Pynchon's other novels such as the lost days in Mason & Dixon that Mason has to live through or the Radiant Hour that's lost in Gravity's Rainbow towards the end, which also becomes a really subtle Proust reference as the character in GR searching for the Radiant Hour is named Marcel and is trying to rescue an hour from being lost, in other words, is In Search of Lost Time.
When it came to my research, I never took any shortcuts. Over the past
five years, I’d worked my way down the entire recommended gunter reading
list. Douglas Adams. Kurt Vonnegut. Neal Stephenson. Richard K. Morgan.
Stephen King. Orson Scott Card. Terry Pratchett. Terry Brooks. Bester,
Bradbury, Haldeman, Heinlein, Tolkien, Vance, Gibson, Gaiman, Sterling,
Moorcock, Scalzi, Zelazny. I read every novel by every single one of Halliday’s
And I didn’t stop there.
I also watched every single fi lm he referenced in the Almanac. If it was
one of Halliday’s favorites, like WarGames, Ghostbusters, Real Genius, Better
Off Dead, or Revenge of the Nerds, I rewatched it until I knew every
scene by heart.
I devoured each of what Halliday referred to as “The Holy Trilogies”:
Star Wars (original and prequel trilogies, in that order), Lord of the Rings,
The Matrix, Mad Max, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones. (Halliday
once said that he preferred to pretend the other Indiana Jones films, from
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull onward, didn’t exist. I tended to agree.)
I also absorbed the complete filmographies of each of his favorite directors.
Cameron, Gilliam, Jackson, Fincher, Kubrick, Lucas, Spielberg, Del
Toro, Tarantino. And, of course, Kevin Smith.
I spent three months studying every John Hughes teen movie and
memorizing all the key lines of dialogue.
Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.
You could say I covered all the bases.
I studied Monty Python. And not just Holy Grail, either. Every single one
of their fi lms, albums, and books, and every episode of the original BBC series.
(Including those two “lost” episodes they did for German television.)
I wasn’t going to cut any corners.
I wasn’t going to miss something obvious.
Somewhere along the way, I started to go overboard.
I may, in fact, have started to go a little insane.
I watched every episode of The Greatest American Hero, Airwolf, The
A-Team, Knight Rider, Misfi ts of Science, and The Muppet Show.
What about The Simpsons, you ask?
I knew more about Springfi eld than I knew about my own city.
Star Trek? Oh, I did my homework. TOS, TNG, DS9. Even Voyager and
Enterprise. I watched them all in chronological order. The movies, too.
Phasers locked on target.
I gave myself a crash course in ’80s Saturday-morning cartoons.
I learned the name of every last goddamn Gobot and Transformer.
Land of the Lost, Thundarr the Barbarian, He-Man, Schoolhouse Rock!,
G.I. Joe—I knew them all. Because knowing is half the battle.
Who was my friend, when things got rough? H.R. Pufnstuf.
Japan? Did I cover Japan?
Yes. Yes indeed. Anime and live-action. Godzilla, Gamera, Star Blazers,
The Space Giants, and G-Force. Go, Speed Racer, Go.
I wasn’t some dilettante.
I wasn’t screwing around.
I memorized every last Bill Hicks stand-up routine.
Music? Well, covering all the music wasn’t easy.
It took some time.
The ’80s was a long decade (ten whole years), and Halliday didn’t seem
to have had very discerning taste. He listened to everything. So I did too.
Pop, rock, new wave, punk, heavy metal. From the Police to Journey to
R.E.M. to the Clash. I tackled it all.
I burned through the entire They Might Be Giants discography in
under two weeks. Devo took a little longer.
I watched a lot of YouTube videos of cute geeky girls playing ’80s cover
tunes on ukuleles. Technically, this wasn’t part of my research, but I had a
serious cute-geeky-girls-playing-ukuleles fetish that I can neither explain
I memorized lyrics. Silly lyrics, by bands with names like Van Halen,
Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Pink Floyd.
I kept at it.
I burned the midnight oil.
Did you know that Midnight Oil was an Australian band, with a 1987
hit titled “Beds Are Burning”?
I was obsessed. I wouldn’t quit. My grades suffered. I didn’t care.
I read every issue of every comic book title Halliday had ever collected.
I wasn’t going to have anyone questioning my commitment.
Especially when it came to the videogames.
Videogames were my area of expertise.
My double-weapon specialization.
My dream Jeopardy! category.
I downloaded every game mentioned or referenced in the Almanac,
from Akalabeth to Zaxxon. I played each title until I had mastered it, then
moved on to the next one.
You’d be amazed how much research you can get done when you have
no life whatsoever. Twelve hours a day, seven days a week, is a lot of study
I worked my way through every videogame genre and platform. Classic
arcade coin-ops, home computer, console, and handheld. Text-based
adventures, fi rst-person shooters, third-person RPGs. Ancient 8-, 16-, and
32-bit classics written in the previous century. The harder a game was to
beat, the more I enjoyed it. And as I played these ancient digital relics,
night after night, year after year, I discovered I had a talent for them. I
could master most action titles in a few hours, and there wasn’t an adventure
or role-playing game I couldn’t solve. I never needed any walkthroughs
or cheat codes. Everything just clicked. And I was even better at
the old arcade games. When I was in the zone on a high-speed classic like
Defender, I felt like a hawk in fl ight, or the way I thought a shark must feel
as it cruises the ocean fl oor. For the fi rst time, I knew what it was to be a
natural at something. To have a gift.
But it wasn’t my research into old movies, comics, or videogames that
had yielded my fi rst real clue. That had come while I was studying the history
of old pen-and-paper role-playing games.
Ready Player One was complete garbage.
I got at least 3/4s of the references, but the entire world the book built made no sense, and the author picked and choosed what he like, not just "80's culture" in general.
>He once said he preferred to pretend the other Indiana Jones films, from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull onward didn't exist.
There are no other ones after Crystal Skull. Nice bait, RPO author for making me reply to your ahitty """ writing.""""
Basically this, a well placed reference should be a reward for someone who recognizes it, not something to confuse those who don't. What you're writing should make perfect sense without knowledge of what you're referencing.
>mfy after I read it because my brother said it was good
my girlfriend got it from a relative for Christmas (I at one point wanted to read it like a year ago until realizing this was in it) so naturally I read this out loud and the first thing we did was trade it at the nearest used bookstore
My unpopular lit opinion is that it's not a very bad book. Certainly not good, but it's somewhat entertaining even if that's all there is to see.
I wouldn't recommend it unless you have absolutely nothing to do, but in the worst-case scenario you'll only lose a few hours.