Rocket Science: Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow at 50

Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington, moderates a conversation between professors Sean Carswell (California State University, Channel Islands) and M.G. Lord (USC) about rocket science and ballistics in World War II.

Thomas Pynchon’s groundbreaking novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with Germany’s deployment of V-2 rockets in 1944 and, over its rambunctious course, charts the development and construction of the rockets and the dispersion of technologies following the war.

Moderated by Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington.

Sean Carswell is the author of eight books, including Occupy Pynchon: Politics after Gravity’s Rainbow (University of Georgia Press, 2017). Carswell is a professor of writing and literature at California State University, Channel Islands.

M.G. Lord is the author of multiple books, including Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll and Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science. She has hosted two podcasts for LAist Studios, L.A. Made: “The Barbie Tapes” and “Blood, Sweat & Rockets.” Lord is associate professor of English at USC.