to chercher le geek
Likely an homage to detective pulp fiction. The phrase from which it derives, "cherchez la femme" ("look for the woman") has been around since at least the Dumas novel The Mohicans of Paris (1854) and has come to embody a cliché of detective pulp fiction: no matter what the problem, a woman is often the root cause. The phrase has come to refer to explanations that automatically find the same root cause, no matter the specifics of the problem. Wikipedia However, "chercher" is the infinitive of "to look" ("cherchez" is the imperative form), so Pynchon's use would be literally be saying "to to look for the geek" ... which seems incorrect. It seems it should be "flown to Montreal chercher le geek...
Manifested into Dorval
One of those weird Pynchonian sentences that give translators headaches, this means that Maxine is listed as a passenger on the flight arriving at Dorval airport, i.e., is listed on the plane's manifest which Dorval has.
le tout Montreal
Cute name. Aside from the being a universal nickname for the Internet, "net" is also common French for "clean". ("Nettoyer" = To clean).
...every Keanu Reeves movie ever made, including, that night, Felix's personal favorite Johnny Mnemonic.
Notable films by Reeves up to this point, if I'm reading the time frame of the novel right, include Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Point Break, My Own Private Idaho, Dracula, Much Ado About Nothing, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Little Buddha, Speed, and, perhaps most significantly, The Matrix. I'm not sure just what it means, but Felix preferring Johnny Mnemonic over Speed and The Matrix is surely saying something important him. Or maybe Pynchon is simply giving a friendly shout-out to William Gibson, writer of Johnny Mnemonic and he wanted to namedrop a film that has some resonance (see below) with his own novel.
Film based on a short story by William Gibson, who also wrote the screenplay. The plot is pretty apropos to Bleeding Edge': "In 2021, Johnny (Keanu Reeves) is a "mnemonic courier" with a data storage device implanted in his brain, allowing him to discreetly carry information too sensitive to transfer across the Net, the virtual-reality equivalent of the Internet. " Wikipedia
Arabic: "Where are the toilets?"
Another Hitchcock reference. Possible thread in the novel? Also, the scene in question is of a knifing, you know, a murder committed with a weapon that has an edge, as in a "bleeding edge." Just saying.
Basil St. John in the life of Brenda Starr
Brenda Starr, Reporter was a comic strip about a glamorous, adventurous female reporter. It was created in 1940 by Dale Messick for the Chicago Tribune Syndicate. In the story, her love interest was Basil St. John. They were married, had a child, then divorced. See WIKI.
chase around the world after black-orchid serum
Another allusion to Basil St. John (see previous page), who was obsessed with black-orchid serum.
Windows on the World
A restaurant on the top floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, which, of course, was destroyed on 9/11.
"Like going to Collegiate"
a private school in NYC which Pynchon's son attended.