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He and Riddel exchange their affections, but Riddel recoils when Gilbert asks about their marriage vows made some time ago in the garden of the Manor. As she softens up to him once more, her servant Noelle comes in, and reveals that Riddel was assigned a suitor. Gilbert is wounded by this, and struggles to convince Riddel to go with him.

The maid is alarmed by Kid's insistence on finding the Frozen Flame, and alerts the guards; Riddel notes that someday, Gilbert may return and be friends. Gilbert will have none of this, and throws Riddel over his shoulder as he defeats the guards. As the Radical Dreamers and Riddel reach the courtyard, the occupants of the Manor emerge and bid them farewell; Lynx, the foster father of the bride, tears up. Gilbert points to the morning sun, and notes that it is "our Frozen Flame. There, a wall of light encircles them. Magil asks Kid for a trinket she picked off the ruined machine from earlier, and notes that it is a 'Martian Forest League Concealed Lesser Armament Bunny', and is much more than a simple toy.

They use it to deactive the force field, and then descend the stairs to find Lynx. Magil disappears and soon makes a flashy entrance wielding rock star attire, a guitar, and a portable amp.

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Lynx can't take his guitar playing, and his body cracks to reveal green tentacles. Soon, the remains of Lynx's body are scattered and a green octopus named a Martian Conjurer by Magil stands before the party. Magil boasts of finding the enemy, whom he's tried to detain for years, and reveals that he is Universal Detective Mick Van Jovi!

Radical Dreamers Condensed Plot Summary

Lynx laments that he crashed his ship on this planet, and that it took years to repair its fusion reactor -- the Frozen Flame. The explosion destroys his ship, but Lynx escapes using a pedal powered escape pod. Mick notes that they won't get very far, and the three vow to continue the search tomorrow. To activate this scenario, fall asleep and then see about that light in the entrance of Viper Manor. As the Radical Dreamers enter the mansion, Serge notices a strange light.

It turns out to be a phantom of a woman in tattered clothes; the apparition notes that they have "finally come. Magil observes that the candles are arranged to cast shadows on the floor in accordance with occult teachings; the cathedral is meant for defying order and other unholy practices. Serge soon finds a secret passageway by pressing down on the organ keys; its layout mirrors the cathedral above, though it is empty.

The Radical Dreamers explore other areas of the Manor; Kid finds a blue robe in unused quarters, and mentions the name Shea. They continue to explore the Manor, eventually arriving at an ornate room that houses the Frozen Flame. However, it is held within the grasp of a lifeless mannequin with platinum plating. Additionally, the mannequin is separated at the far end of the room from the party by what seems to be a frozen sea. Kid and Serge erect bamboo scaffolding to reach the siren, and Kid pilfers the Flame. However, on the way back, the siren comes to life and the ocean begins violently tossing.

Kid falls into the sea; a needle projectile is driven between the eyes of the siren by Magil, but has no effect. Serge dives into the water to save her; meanwhile, waterlogged corpses float up and begin moving towards him. With all his might, he makes it to shore with Kid, who has the Flame in hand. The Radical Dreamers finally reach the cathedral, and enter the secret room.

There, the magic seal on the floor radiates, and Lynx appears in a display of light.

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Lynx pleads with Kid for the return of the Flame, and insists that he was murdered by an assassin and was barely able to secure his spirit inside the Frozen Flame. Shea then appears, claiming that the magic seal on the ground was intended to jail Lynx's spirit, and that with each person's soul he devours, he comes closer to breaking the seal.

She reveals that in order to stay connected to this realm, Lynx had to first invoke the evil magic with the sacrifice of a blood relative. Shea, the illegitimate daughter of Lynx, fulfilled this when she came to the Manor years ago. She instructs Magil to end it by destroying the Frozen Flame with magic and killing Lynx in the process. Magil smiles and begins his chanting; Serge blacks out as the magic takes effect. He wakes up nearly 24 hours later, finding Kid's body held close to him and Magil passed out on the far wall. They were drained by the process of destroying the Flame, but the deed is done -- Lynx is dead, and Viper Manor is at peace.

To activate this scenario, fall asleep, follow Kid, enter the store room, try to enter the vault, inquire about the key in Lynx's quarters, and, as soon as you receive the key, immediately return to Lynx's quarters and push through the wall. The Radical Dreamers spot a hole in the wall in the Mirror of Whispers; they try to reproduce the hole in the real world to no avail until Kid tickles it with a quill pen. The wall crumbles to dust, and the adventurers step through. They observe a stone slab with a crystal embedded in the center; before they can judge what is inscribed upon it, Serge and Kid are thrown into an illusory world created by a mage named Gange.

They are thrust into a coliseum and transformed; Kid becomes a cyclops, and Serge becomes a gladiator. After fighting for awhile, Magil interrupts the fight, and Serge and Kid revert to their real forms. The Radical Dreamers continue exploring, and eventually reach Lynx in the lower area of the Manor. There, he calls for Mecha-Lynx, a huge steel-plated robot ride. Gange appears to the party and offers assistance in the form of the Gigaweapon 'Paradise X'; the Radical Dreamers accept, and Paradise X appears to do battle with Mecha-Lynx.

As Serge, Kid, and Magil look on from the ground, Paradise X struggles against Lynx but cannot crack his armor plating. With no other option, Magil calls for Paradise X's ultimate attack, the Infernoblast.

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  6. It scorches Lynx and explodes his robot; afterwards, the dreamers find the Frozen Flame. Gange transfers his life force over to the new host crystal, and the party set out to find more interesting jewels. To play this scenario, fall asleep, follow Kid, and then examine the bookshelf in the study. Here, the Radical Dreamers find the Book of the Dead; Magil opens it, and a gust of wind rushes out of the tome and exits the study. The party find that the book is blank, and Kid jokingly writes a note telling Lynx to buy better books. The Radical Dreamers exit to the ballroom; there, the doors shut behind them after they find a blood red rose on the floor.

    They view a scene of ghosts in tuxedos and gowns dancing across the room; after Kid exclaims that they are ghosts, the phantoms shriek and disappear. A woman descends in front of Serge, introducing herself as Lilith, the Goddess of Death, and a servant of the Shadow Realm. She notes that she took on the appearance of Riddel in her latest hunt, and that Lynx has been killed -- his spirit solidifying into the Frozen Flame.

    A Japanese science-fiction novel? And one spring in London a magazine announced the publication of a page Pynchon megabook about the American Civil War, published in true Pynchonian style by a small press nobody ever heard of, and I was halfway to the door before I remembered what date it was, April 1, ho ho ho. What happened to those spectral books? Did they never exist? Are we about to get a great rush of Pynchon novels?

    The answer is blowin' in the wind. Because one thing that has not changed about Mr. The secrecy surrounding the publication of this book - his first novel since ''Gravity's Rainbow'' in - has been, let's face it, ridiculous. I mean, rilly. So he wants a private life and no photographs and nobody to know his home address.

    I can dig it, I can relate to that but, like, he should try it when it's compulsory instead of a free-choice option. But for his publisher to withhold reviewers' copies and give critics maybe a week to deal with what took him almost two decades, now that's truly weird, bad craziness, give it up. Other things, too, have remained constant in the Pynchonian universe, where these are days of miracle and wonder, like ''Doonesbury'' written by Duke instead of Garry Trudeau, and the paranoia runs high because behind the heavy scenes and bad trips and Karmic Adjustments move the shadowy invisible forces, the true Masters of the Universe, ''the unrelenting forces that leaned ever after.

    That's what we're up against, folks, and what Mr. Pynchon used to set against it in the old days was entropy, seen as a slow, debauched, never-ending party, a perpetual coming-down, shapeless and meaningless and therefore unshaped and uncontrolled: freedom is chaos, he told us, but so is destruction, and that's the high wire, walk it if you can. And now here we are in ''Vineland,'' and the entropy's still flowing, but there's something new to report, some faint possibility of redemption, some fleeting hints of happiness and grace.

    It's in Vineland County, in northern California.

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    Dates really matter in this book. Even the movies come with dates attached: ''Return of the Jedi ,'' ''Friday the 13th '' ''Everybody was Jason that year'' , ''Gidget Goes Hawaiian ,'' ''Godzilla, King of the Monsters And, in this that Orwell could never have imagined, the skies contain marauders who can remove people from commercial airliners in midair, and a research lab belonging to a ''shadowy world conglomerate'' named Chipco can be stomped into Totality, flattened beneath a gigantic and inexplicable animal footprint, size 20, or thereabouts.

    This is also Ronald Reagan's re-election year, and that, for all the leftover hippies and 60's activists and survivors and casualties, could mean it's time for the ''last roundup. Listen closely now: Zoyd Wheeler, father of beautiful teen-age Prairie, whose mother, Frenesi Gates, went off with the arch-baddie Brock Vond, Federal prosecutor and psychopath, collects mental disability checks from the state by jumping through plate-glass windows once a year.

    The novel begins with such a jump, and thereafter fragments into myriad different narrative shards but, at the end, the pieces all leap off the floor and fit miraculously together, as if a film were being run backward. Prairie is obsessed with her vanished mother, and so is everyone else in the novel: so is Zoyd, so is Brock Vond, who was her lover and who turned her from a radical film maker, the child of a blacklisted and Wobbly family, into an F.

    Frenesi, meanwhile, is out of sight, having been axed by Reaganomics from the slashed F. Now then: Vond appears to be after Prairie, maybe to use her against Frenesi, so Zoyd, as he dives for cover, sends her into hiding as well. Prairie's odyssey takes her closer and closer to Frenesi, by way of a band called Billy Barf and the Vomitones, whom she follows to a mob wedding where she meets her mother's old friend, the Ninjette Darryl Louise DL Chastain, who was once obliged, by the mob boss Ralph Wayvone, to try to assassinate Brock Vond by using, during the sexual act, the Ninja Death Touch, also known as the Vibrating Palm, which the victim never feels and which kills him a year later, while you're having lunch with the police chief - except that Vond, skilled in eluding death ''He's the Roadrunner,'' says Wayvone, admiringly , manages to send along in his place the Japanese private eye Takeshi Fumimota, who gets the Vibrating Palm by mistake; and, as if that weren't enough trouble for Takeshi, he's also being chased by the same malign forces that arranged for the Chipco stomping, which he investigated.

    And anyhow, through DL and Takeshi, Prairie gets to find the doors to her mother's past, on computer records and in film archives and in the memory of Frenesi's old friends, and we reach the story's dark heart, namely the events that took place in the 's at Trasero County's College of the Surf, which renamed itself, after the fashion of those loon-panted days, the People's Republic of Rock and Roll.


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    And we hear, as Prairie hears it, how her mother betrayed the leader of this little revolution, who rejoiced in the name of Weed Atman, and who now, after death, still roams the forests of northern California as a Thanatoid, a member of the undead, unable to find peace. And eventually Prairie's search for Frenesi, and Brock's search for Prairie and Frenesi which takes him, along with a huge strike force, to Vineland come to a climax, complete with helicopters and Thanatoids and family reunions and an old woman and an old man who can remove your bones and leave the rest of you alive.

    You get the picture. It either grabs you or it doesn't, I guess.

    It grabbed me. I laughed, many times, out loud, often at Mr. There is enough in ''Vineland'' to obsess the true, mainlining Pynchomane for a goodly time.