- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
Page numbers refer to editions with 369 pages, where the story begins on page 1. Not sure if there are other editions with variant pagination. Please let us know otherwise.
. . . the Lakers would lose Game 7 of the finals to the Knicks
Friday, May 8, 1970. The final score was Knicks 113, Lakers 99. This means that the novel ends on Pynchon's 33rd birthday, a nice way to underscore the semi-autobiographical nature of Inherent Vice. Furthermore, this situates the ending of the novel just four days after the Kent State Massacre on May 4, 1970 - yet another way of telling us that the beach is being paved over and that the sixties have come to an end.
Ones and zeros
Binary code, the language of computers. Also mentioned in Vineland (pp. 90 and 115) and in Crying of Lot 49.
A nice pun. "Tubular," in surfer slang, means something like "awesome" or "cool." It refers to the tubes or curls of the waves. But in the context here with Doc and Sparky, the tubes in question are vacuum tubes, which were used on computers (and radios and TVs and speakers) before transistors.
Pizza Man--He Delivers - since 1964
Gordita Beach Exit
On the last two pages of Inherent Vice, Doc Sportello is on the Santa Monica freeway which then merges onto the San Diego, heading south:
Doc figured if he missed the Gordita Beach exit he'd take the first one whose sign he could read and work his way back on surface streets. He knew that at Rosecrans the freeway began to dogleg east, and at some point, Hawthorne Boulevard or Artesia, he'd lose the fog.
This series of street names and off-ramps points to Manhattan Beach where Pynchon wrote much of Gravity's Rainbow while living in a tiny beach apartment in the north end of the city around between 1967-1971. The Manhattan Beach Boulevard exit to Doc house would Rosecrans . The Artesia exit is after Hawthorne. Google Maps; Much more about Pynchon in Manhattan Beach...
Though Doc Sportello shares some qualities with Zoyd Wheeler of Vineland, contrast Doc's reaction to driving in fog with Zoyd's, when Zoyd and other members of the "Corvairs" "surfadelic" band "play motorhead valley roulette," speeding into patches of ground fog hoping that "the white passage held no other vehicles, no curves, no construction, only smooth, level, empty roadway to an indefinite distance--a motorhead variation on a surfer's dream" (37).
For the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead.
The endings of Pynchon's novels are justifiably famous, and these final paragraphs about driving through the fog, capped by this heart-breaking sentence-fragment, are no exception.