Slow Learner. A Conversation of John Semley and Robert Bramkamp on Gravity’s Rainbow and Teststand VII / Prüfstand 7

BONUS – Interview with Prüfstand VII director Robert Bramkamp

A part of the podcast series Slow Learners by Ian Scuffling

I spoke with John Semley about Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” and my ‘German reception’ of it, my film “Teststand VII”, a character study of the rocket, the limitation of narrative possibilities in current German film and the certain freedom or “license” juxtaposed with this limitation that “Gravity’s Rainbow” took and offered, as Laurence A. Rickels does (and explains it) in his book “Germany: A Science Fiction“.

John writes on apple podcasts:

Hallo Leute!

Interrupting the regular flow with this bonus interview with German writer/director Robert Bramkamp, whose film Prüfstand VII uses Gravity’s Rainbow as a way into analyzing the history of the rocket in Germany, and the Nazi program itself. Some very interesting insights on how the novel resonated with a German reader. Also…some fun links below! We’ll be back next week with another read-a-long episode, which takes us “Into the Zone.” Tschüss!

Rent or Buy Prüfstand VII here.

Read Robert’s accompanying book here. Note that the book is in German, but around page 201 you can find the letters between Robert and Pynchon’s agent/partner Melanie Jackson, discussing his reenactments of scenes from Gravity’s Rainbow and their use in the film. A must-read for all completists and diehard correspondence-heads.

Thank you, John, for your initiative!


The international version of “Teststand VII” offers Englisch speaking voice over narrators and is now availabe for download in HQ at vimeo:

Stream at