This page-by-page annotation is organized by sections, as delineated by the seven squares (sprockets) which separate each section. The page numbers for this page-by-page annotation are for the original Viking edition (760 pages). Editions by other publishers vary in pagination the newer Penguin editions are 776 pages; the Bantam edition is 886 pages.
Contributors: Please use a 760-page edition (either the original Viking edition with the orange cover or the Penguin USA edition with the blue cover and rocket diagram there are plenty on Ebay for around $10) or search the Google edition for the correct page number. Readers: To calculate the Bantam edition use this formula: Bantam page # x 1.165. Before p.50 it's about a page earlier; as you get later in the book, add a page.
Finally, profound thanks to Prof. Don Larsson for providing the foundation for this page-by-page annotation.
Political Intelligence Division
206 a circle with a dot in the centre
Dodson-Truck is right about the Old Norse and Old High German runes, but the Gothic letter which he describes is the letter called hwair, transliterated as "hw", whose name means "cauldron, kettle". The Gothic alphabet is not runic and its letter "S" is identical in form to that of the Latin alphabet.
Plastic Man’s history is a bit different than that given by Weisenburger. The hero first appeared in Police Comics in August 1941. He had his own title starting in 1943 under the Quality Comics label, which ended in 1956. The character was picked up and revived by National Periodicals ("DC" Comics) in 1966, but the new magazine lasted only for ten issues. Since then, some of the original Plastic Man stories have been reprinted from time to time, and the character has appeared in other DC publications. Plastic Man’s costume was mainly red, but also contained yellow and black. His name should be two words, not one as in GR.
207.8 Telefunken radio control. That 'Hawaii I'
Telefunken is a German radio and television company, founded in 1903, in Berlin, as a joint venture of two large companies, Siemens & Halske (S & H) and the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (General Electricity Company). By 1941, AEG was the sole owner. During the Second World War Telefunken was a supplier of vacuum tubes, transmitters and radio relay systems, and developed radar facilities and directional finders, aiding the war efforts of the Third Reich. 'Hawaii I' was the surface station for a missile guidance system Telefunken developed.
208.21 Palmolive and Camay
Two American brands of soap.
209.21 's Gravenhage
aka The Hague
210.18 Johnson Smith
A mail-order company officially established in 1914 that sells novelty and gag gift items such as x-ray goggles, whoopee cushions, fake vomit, and joy buzzers. They often advertised in comic books.
210.18-19 Mustache Kit, 20 different shapes
Fu Manchu: a full, straight mustache that grows downward past the lips and on either side of the chin and extends down toward the toes; Groucho Marx: a thick greasepaint mustache.
210.35 John Wilkes Booth's
Booth also had a droopy mustache, but not as long as Earp
210.30 Stuart Lake era
Lake wrote Frontier Marshal, a 1931 biography of Wyatt Earp which the author purported upon publication to be based on actual interviews but later admitted to be highly fictionalized. It served as the basis for several movies (including John Ford's My Darling Clementine) as well as the 1955 to 1961 Tube series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.
211.39; ...a drinking game, it's called Prince...
A real drinking game, usually called 'Whales Tales'.
212.27; jeroboam of Veuve Clicquot Brut
A 3 liter bottle of a slightly sweet, premium French champagne
Men's clothing for the legs and lower abdomen, a traditional form of Irish and Scottish apparel; plaid trousers rather than a kilt.
French: process in which sediment is removed from wine
213.21 The Queen of Transylvan-ia
Transylvania is, of course, the mountainous region of Romania that is legendary home to Dracula.
- As well as the real-life birthplace of Hermann Oberth, the pioneer of German rocket science, inventor of liquid-fuel propulsion, consultant on [Die Frau im Mond]; the man who turned von Braun on.
A recipe for a thick cut of steak from the tenderloin, created for Vicomte François-René de Chateaubriand, (1768–1848)
Long, thin cigars
213.36 Épernay grapes
Grapes grown in the Épernay region of France; officially designated as Champagne grapes
Refers to the best grape juice from gentle pressing of the grapes--the first 2,050 liters of grape juice from 4,000 kg of grapes
A French sweet sparkling wine, manufactured outside the Champagne region and so unable to use the controlled name - an indication that the real thing has started to run out.
214.04-05 Lady of Spain
The song, composed in 1931 by Tolchard Evans, Stanley Demerell and Bob Hargreaves, has become a cliché of accordion music.
215.29 News of the World
A British tabloid known as a purveyor of titillation, shock and criminal news, first published in 1843 and at one time the best-selling newspaper in the UK; closely associated with Conservative political views, it was (pace Weisenberger) a weekly Sunday paper, not a daily. It folded in 2011, after a scandal involving mobile phone hacking of celebrities and a murder victim.
216.38 The Penis He Thought Was His Own
While we don't know what tune TRP had in mind when he wrote this, the rhyme scheme and phrasing make an excellent match to the chorus of the popular wartime tune 'Bless 'Em All':
Bless 'em all / Bless 'em all/ The long and the short and the tall/ Bless all those Sergeants and WO1's/ Bless all those Corporals and their bleedin' sons/ Cos' we're saying goodbye to 'em all/ As back to their Billets they crawl/ You'll get no promotion this side of the ocean/ So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all
Anglicized pronunciation of 'Sachsa'
219 debris of their time sweeping in behind
Reminiscent of Walter Benjamin's Angelus Novus from 1940: "a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward."
The following paragraph also contains a reference to one Walter (maybe Walter Asch or Walter Rathenau, the only two Walters in GR, but possibly yet another one): "Will Walter be bringing wine tonight?"
220.31 Schutzmann Joche
The constable’s last name, with an umlaut, would approximate another expression of disgust ("yuck-ey").
222.02 Cagney of the French Riviera
James Cagney, American actor who played tough guys. Called "the professional gangster". In one famous movie scene, he shoves a grapefruit into a woman's face over the breakfast table.
222.37 the bridge music
A cinematic reference; the kind of musical accompaniment in which familiar tunes echoed the theme of particular scenes (especially during montage sequences spanning periods of time) was a common feature of classic Hollywood films (for example, the scores of Max Steiner). In this context, the music is background to a montage of scenes of Slothrop and Katje working together.
223.11 IG and radio methods
IG = INERTIAL guidance, i.e. guidance derived from inertia (Newton's first law)... measuring the forces on a gyroscope, which attempts to maintain the spin and orientation it had before the rocket's flight started. Put those forces (and the time during which they are sensed) through some arithmetic, and you get the current position and velocity of the rocket... leading to the right moment to shut down the engine (Brennschluss).
Alternately, the guidance system can receive signals from two or more radio sources (a la GPS, today's Global Positioning System) and use trigonometry to calculate its position. This was planned for the V2 and tested, but never became operational AFAIK. Used extensively by bombers.
Either way, the transition from *powered* and *controlled* flight to *ballistic* trajectory -- governed only by gravity, all its future implicit in this moment, fated and irreversible -- is a central metaphor, arguably *the* central metaphor, of the book.
223.19 Der Pfau
German: the peacock; interestingly, this word sounds very similar to the pronunciation of the letter 'V', just with a soft plosive 'P' in front, so that Pfau Zwei could easily be mistaken for 'V-2'
A gauze used as a screen or backdrop, that can be made to theatrically 'vanish' when only lit from behind.
225.32 a single clarinet
The instrument, with its evocation of "clowns and circuses," suggests Kurt Weill's score for Brecht's Three-Penny Opera but also Nino Rota’s scores for several Fellini films, notably 8½ (1963 No wonder Slothrop "lacks the European reflexes" to it!)
Beyond the Zero
Un Perm' au Casino Herman Goering
In the Zone
279-295, 295-314, 314-329, 329-336, 336-359, 359-371, 371-383, 383-390, 390-392, 392-397, 397-433, 433-447, 448-456, 457-468, 468-472, 473-482, 482-488, 488-491, 492-505, 505-518, 518-525, 525-532, 532-536, 537-548, 549-557, 557-563, 563-566, 567-577, 577-580, 580-591, 591-610, 610-616