Sent my thoughts on the Pynchon/Orwell connection to David Kipen of the San Francisco Chronicle, who had written a recent article on Pynchon's piece on 1984. He responds:
good catch, rodney. i hadn't seen atwood's piece, but that's pretty shameless of her. unless the insight isn't original to pynchon, and they're both paraphrasing an old idea. as a dyed-in-the-wool pynchonian, i don't really believe this, but it'd be fun to ask a dedicated orwellian to confirm just how fresh the oceania-lived-happily-ever-after hypothesis really is..