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His Books -- Other Stuff > Vollmann's FBI File

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments Thanks to Friend Jonathan for bringing this breaking news to my attention. Vollmann's had an FBI file since 1990 (kiddie porn suspicion) ;; then became a Unabomber suspect ;;; and also a suspect for anthraxing through the post.

It begins with Bill's piece in Harpers :: http://harpers.org/archive/2013/09/li...

An NPR audio interview about the article ;; http://www.npr.org/2013/08/22/2143926...

And the link from the Gawker which Jonathan sent me :: http://gawker.com/how-the-fbi-decided...

Which is all quite apropo, given I've been reading Bill's thoughts about the Unabomber in Rising Up Rising Down.

I'm off to pick up a physy copy of that Harper's issue.


message 2: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments From biblioklept, file extracts ::
'“He reportedly owns many guns and a flame-thrower” and Other Extracts from William Vollmann’s FBI File' ;;;;
http://biblioklept.org/2013/08/22/he-...

And the biblioklept file on The Myth of Vollmann:
http://biblioklept.org/2011/12/20/the...


message 3: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments I should make the snarky comment, too, that folks who think that Bill's books need an editor should read Bill in the periodicals, where editors have free rein to slash and burn as they please. This piece in Harpers is about eight pages ; but it may well turn out to be 58 pages when it finds its way into one of his books.


message 4: by James (new)

James Dyke | 6 comments Been reading about this all day. I wouldn't mind a copy of the Harper's full article, is it available in the UK?

Is mr Vollmann really so 'reclusive' for the FBI to become 'interested' in him? I recall Pynchon being suspected as the Unabomber, amongst many other brilliant rumours.

In other news. This thread as prompted a book search on my part for some Vollmann - I only own Rainbow Stories and am yet to read. I found a copy of Rising on ebay for £3.05, used in very good condition, paperback and I'm presuming it's the 'lite' version, but still weighs in at 700+ pages, and well, for £3! Bought.


message 5: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments James wrote: "Been reading about this all day. I wouldn't mind a copy of the Harper's full article, is it available in the UK?"

I don't know about that; but perhaps you could buy an e-copy? I don't know.

My memory is that the FBI was looking for the Unabomber for a long time and sent out a very wide net. As Bill mentions, once a suspect for crime x, very likely to be treated as a suspect for crime y.

The RURD you've ordered is the abridged. It should serve very well for an intro to many of Bill's questions; the unabridged just doesn't stop once it gets started.


message 6: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments My gods!!! Now they'll think I am/was/mighthavebeen the Unabomer :: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2... [I do have a college degree, so that might qualify me for a file]


message 7: by James (new)

James Dyke | 6 comments Yeh I suppose, how fascinating. Vollmann is I need to really read more of.

Yeh as much as I'd like to read the unabridged, £3 for a good slice of it wasn't being passed up on!


message 8: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 158 comments Oh my god this stuff is priceless. Manymercis!


message 9: by Hadrian (new)

Hadrian (hadrian_gr) Thanks for the stuff, Nathan. I'm off to fetch the Harper's.

The second biblioklept article is verymuch amusing. Even if WTV was a myth, he is still very real.


message 10: by Darwin8u (new)

Darwin8u | 6 comments So funny. I was just posting this and noticed you already saw it Nathan.


message 11: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) Oh WTV. You're not alone in wishing you owned a flamethrower.

Seriously, though. This is several million shades of flat out ridiculous. However, it DOES justify having a healthy dose of paranoia when dealing with, well, anything. Especially writing, apparently. (Without an editor! Shock! Gasp!)


message 12: by Geoff (last edited Aug 22, 2013 12:09PM) (new)

Geoff | 158 comments Hadrian wrote: "The second biblioklept article":

"...I become the omega man or something and I literally have nothing else to do and no one to talk to and no pointless articles to write and nothing to do with my boredom besides consume 1300 pages about border-crossing by a guy who looks like a serial killer."

Welcome to my world.


message 13: by Darwin8u (new)

Darwin8u | 6 comments Speaking of Omega, I do think this is one more small evidence that we are approaching the Omega Point. At some point in the near future WTV will write everything and BE suspected of everything. Game over::: end of the World.

Orwell might not approve, but he'd have a hard time not being amuse - ed.


message 14: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) Darwin8u wrote: "Speaking of Omega, I do think this is one more small evidence that we are approaching the Omega Point. At some point in the near future WTV will write everything and BE suspected of everything. Gam..."

Last time that happened, we ended up with Jesus Christ. I wonder...


message 15: by Darwin8u (new)

Darwin8u | 6 comments Aubrey wrote: "Last time that happened, we ended up with Jesus Christ. I wonder...i>

In the beginning was WTV's Word and the Word is the WORD. Word!



message 16: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Aug 24, 2013 09:06AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments Kinda related to the Unabomber thing? But today another Vollmann piece, thanks to Friend Proustitute ;; this one from BookForum, "Let's Get Lost : A novelist and inveterate traveler seeks life off the grid".

http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/020_...
[and no pay=wall]

Makes me wonder, between this one and the FBI article, what his next non-fic book is going to look like.

Too I know that Bill has scaled back his writing over the years, and that his non-fic tends in a different direction than does his fic, and I've not ever read one of his edited magazine pieces before, but that one from Harpers was just about awful ; it can't help but be better with the editor's slash-and-burn suppressed.


message 17: by Geoff (last edited Aug 24, 2013 09:28AM) (new)

Geoff | 158 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Harpers was just about awful"

Yeah, I read it in about 15 minutes, shrugged, said a quick "meh" to myself and then got on with my day.


message 18: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments Geoff wrote: "Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Harpers was just about awful"
Yeah, I read it in about 15 minutes, shrugged, said a quick "meh" to myself and then got on with my day."


Yep. If you don't have access to the article, good Vollmaniacs, just do a Google=News search and you'll get most of the "content" of the piece; the "content" being about the only thing the Harpers editors were interested in. It's pretty much all here :: https://www.google.com/#fp=1802ab89cf...


message 19: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments Two articles in two days serves as my introduction to Vollmann-under-the-Editor's-blade and I've gotta say that that is quite enough. Indeed, I was beginning to think that RURD is a bit long winded, but let me, The Reader, do my picking and choosing which paragraphs I wanna read and which I wanna skip (myself, I can't even skip the pub-info page).

At any rate, in these two articles I detect a new Vollmann project in the works--a contemporaneous thing about what it's like being an american ;;; something which in combination with the Seven Dreams might look like a kind of diptych. And we need something like this because Vollmann has seen americans through the eyes of lots of not-americans (are they therefore Unamericans?); what americans lack in our insulationism is a view of ourselves as seen by an=other.


message 20: by Darwin8u (last edited Aug 24, 2013 12:16PM) (new)

Darwin8u | 6 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "something which in combination with the Seven Dreams might look like a kind of diptych"

I like the double diptych idea: Seven Dreams (natives >< settlers) >><< New Project (Americans >< Americans viewed by UnAmericans(?))


message 21: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) Nathan "N.R." wrote: "TAt any rate, in these two articles I detect a new Vollmann project in the works--a contemporaneous thing about what it's like being an american ;;; something which in combination with the Seven Dreams might look like a kind of diptych. And we need something like this because Vollmann has seen americans through the eyes of lots of not-americans (are they therefore Unamericans?); what americans lack in our insulationism is a view of ourselves as seen by an=other."

This kind of thing is like a huge batch of comfort food for my overly-conscious-of-living-in-'MURICA mentality. Oh WTV, you spoil us so.


message 22: by Hadrian (last edited Aug 27, 2013 02:00PM) (new)

Hadrian (hadrian_gr) I finally read the Harper's article and I have to say I agree with you all. Vollmann with his teeth pulled out is no Vollmann at all. If anything at all, story sounds depressingly familiar.

It wasn't all bad, though. I loved the flamethrower line and the bit about Unamericans. Maybe it's time to make that word a slogan against surveillance, instead of those in Mittel-Amerika trying to tar and feather liberals, lefties and anybody who isn't white.


message 23: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments Harper's has posted a few images from Vollmann's FBI file ::

http://harpers.org/blog/2013/08/pages...

"By all accounts, VOLLMANN is exceedingly intelligent and possessed with an enormous ego." --FBI-person


message 24: by Darwin8u (last edited Sep 12, 2013 01:15PM) (new)

Darwin8u | 6 comments Just experienced an interesting ellipsis to this FBI file on a writer (WTV). My brother co-wrote an article with Michael Hastings in June's 'Rolling Stone' and I just found out that not only was the FBI investigating Hastings ... but much (brother), much (father) more:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles...


message 25: by James (new)

James | 77 comments I liked the line, How many challenges remain for WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN?


message 26: by Larry (new)

Larry (larst) | 2 comments Darwin8u wrote: "Just experienced an interesting ellipsis to this FBI file on a writer (WTV). My brother co-wrote an article with Michael Hastings in June's 'Rolling Stone' and I just found out that not only was th..."

Very disconcerting.


message 27: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 733 comments A new article from Bill about surveillance which continues what he started in the Harpers article ::

"Machines of Loving Grace: I'd rather risk becoming a terrorist's victim than live under a surveillance state" from foreignpolicy.com, 09 December 2013.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles...


message 28: by Brian (new)

Brian | 32 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "A new article from Bill about surveillance which continues what he started in the Harpers article ::

"Machines of Loving Grace: I'd rather risk becoming a terrorist's victim than live under a surv..."


That was a fantastic article. Thanks for posting.


message 29: by Darwin8u (new)

Darwin8u | 6 comments Great read. Thanks N>R<


message 30: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) What good timing, this article concerning surveillance and authors just came out as well: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013...


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