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Thomas Pynchon’s Trystero Spreads Around the World

Thomas Pynchon‘s The Crying of Lot 49 revolves around a conspiracy theory about a secret postal system called “The Trystero.” Alongside the release of Pynchon’s complete eBook backlist, Trystero signs have been planted in 200 spots around the world (like this sign in a Portland, Oregon phone booth).

These signs link to an online message system, a 21st Century version of The Trystero.  If you want to find the underground post office in your area, the Google Map embedded below shows all the spots where secret signs have been planted.

Each sign links to a unique URL–if you can’t find one near you, follow this link to see the secret post office link posted in Los Angeles. Click on the w.a.s.t.e. link at the bottom of the page to send your own message via Trystero.


View w.a.s.t.e. in a larger map

SPOILER ALERT: You should read The Crying of Lot 49 for more details, but if you want a spoiler-filled explanation, keep reading…

Here’s more about the The Trystero post office system, from Wikipedia: “According to the historical narrative that Oedipa pieces together during her travels around the San Francisco Bay Area, the Trystero was defeated by Thurn und Taxis – a real postal system – in the 18th century but went underground and continued to exist into Oedipa’s present day, the 1960s. Their mailboxes are disguised as regular waste-bins, often displaying their slogan W.A.S.T.E., an acronym for We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire, and their symbol, a muted post horn. The existence and plans of this shadowy organization are revealed bit by bit; or, then again, it is possible that the Tristero does not exist at all.”

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