Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boeing, Boeing

On this day in 1916, William Boeing and George Westervelt formed a company which they called Pacific Aero Products. A year later it became the Boeing Airplane Company.

In 1960, 22 year-old Thomas Pynchon moved to Seattle and got a job writing technical documents about the Bomarc guided missile system that Boeing was manufacturing at the time. When not writing about surface to air missiles in the breezy, upbeat style of the corporate news service, Pynchon was also working on a novel (V) that featured a defense an aerospace behemoth called Yoyodyne, founded by a World War II veteran named Clayton "Bloody" Chiclitz. Early jobs provide rich material for novelists: obtuse superiors, bizarre systems, nonsensical rules, insane co-workers, and objectives that make the young hero complicit in crimes against humanity.

Thomas Pynchon appears five times in A Book of Ages.

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