…the smoothly cross-dawning image of an interior whose detail, for a moment breathtakingly, is far in advance of anything she’s seen on the gaming platforms Ziggy and his friends tend to use, flaring beyond the basic video game brown of the time into the full color spectrum of very early morning, polygons finely smoothed to all but continuous curves, the rendering,modeling, and shadows, blending and blur, handled elegantly, even with . . . could you call it genius? Making Final Fantasy X, anyway, look like an Etch A Sketch. A framed lucid dream, it approaches, and wraps Maxine, and strangely without panic she submits.(Pynchon, 76).
This passage occurs towards the middle of chapter seven with the introduction of Deep Archer. It portrays what seems to be Maxine’s reaction to seeing Deep Archer for the first time. Think of this as Maxine entering a new world for the first time. It is important to note how Pynchon uses Maxine to describe Deep Archer. This is not only Maxine’s first time traversing Deep Archer, but also the reader’s. So our first and maybe only glimpse at Deep Archer is through Maxine’s eyes. One can ask, “Does it matter that it is through Maxine that Deep Archer is defined?” Pynchon’s answer could very well be an affirmation. Compared to other characters in Bleeding Edge, Maxine is among the less intellectual when concerning technology, especially in contrast with Lucas, Avi, and Reg. But, that’s not to say that it is a negative quality. In fact, Pynchon’s protagonist achieves relatabilty through her lesser understanding of her time period’s technology. It might be easier for some to understand the way the Maxine is describing Deep Archer.
Focusing on the passage itself, it is evident that Pynchon regularly relies on comparisons. Much like the rest of the novel so far, analogies and juxtaposition of objects or ideals is heavily employed. These comparisons are not only between characters and objects in the novel itself but also references to real world culture. The first sentence starts off with “…the smoothly cross-dawning image of an interior whose detail, for a moment breathtakingly, is far in advance of anything she’s seen on the gaming platforms Ziggy and his friends tend to use…” Already Pynchon sets a baseline for the reader to comprehend the scale of Deep Archer. He contrasts the program with every gaming console that was available at the time. With some research into the reference, one can see that the latest console available to Ziggy was the PS2, a giant leap in technology for video game consoles. Pynchon then leads into yet another comparison “…flaring beyond the basic video game brown of the time into the full color spectrum of very early morning,” This time, comparing, less subtly, the color gap of the contemporary video game and Deep Archer. Along with the next sentence “polygons finely smoothed to all but continuous curves…”, the reader can already imagine the scale of the technology, the variance of colors, and the advanced textures of Deep Archer. To top it off, Pynchon finishes the portrayal with “Making Final Fantasy X, anyway, look like an Etch A Sketch.”, a final comparison, one that is multifaceted. Pynchon isn’t just comparing Deep Archer with Final Fantasy X, he is resembling it to a two dimensional monochrome image drawn by two rotating knobs. Final Fantasy X was a masterpiece for its time, it took a giant leap in three dimensional rendering as well as cinematic directing and voice acting. And to assimilate that with a two dimensional image is to maybe say that Deep Archer is going beyond three dimensions. Pynchon’s form relies heavily on comparisons so often that in this passage alone he utilizes three separate correlations. What does this provide the reader? Perhaps it is a way by which Pynchon presses the reader to step into the role of Maxine. His connections to culture and beyond supplements the reader’s understanding of Maxine’s thoughts to the point that they almost take the place of Maxine herself. This passage is finished off with “A framed lucid dream, it approaches, and wraps Maxine, and strangely without panic she submits.” Now that Pynchon has led us to take on the place of Maxine, he is allowed to urge us to submit to Deep Archer, much like Maxine does.