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Book Nook: No Good Alternative - Volume Two in the Carbon Ideologies, by William T. Vollmann

Vick Mickunas' second interview with William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann has now published the second half of his massive Carbon Ideologies. Volume Two is called "No Good Alternative" and in this one the author continues his examination of our energy consumption and the growing concerns that our fossil fuel usage is ultimately going to cause drastic changes in the world as we know it.


He spent a lot of time in coal country USA in places like West Virginia and Kentucky. He found a landscape that has been altered and devastated by mining practices that have left a swath of destruction in the form of poisoned water tables and environmental problems that are causing all sorts of health problems for some communities in the region.

Vollmann went to Colorado and scrutinized the "fracking" practices that have been proliferating in the area. He found many more problems being created by this fracturing of the planet. He went to the Middle East and interviewed guest workers who are employed in the petroleum industry there. This second volume is as cautionary and disturbing as the first volume, "No Immediate Danger," was and even though it isn't pleasant reading it is highly informative and I daresay essential.

Over the years that I have been interviewing authors on WYSO I have kept a list of authors who I had hoped to interview. I try to keep my list realistic-if I don't think I have any chance of interviewing a writer then I don't bother putting that person's name on my list. For example; Stephen King is not my list. I have no illusions that I will ever interview him.

Thirteen years ago I read Bill Vollmann's novel "Europe Central" and after that he became the #1 author on my list of people who I hoped to interview. For thirteen years I tried to book an interview with him and always failed. Then a couple of months ago I was able to obtain an interview with Bill for the first volume of Carbon Ideologies. I mentioned to him that he had been at the top of my list for all of these years and I was absolutely amazed that I had gotten to interview him. Then, two months later, I got to interview him again! I have felt slightly shell-shocked and delighted ever since. We were discussing a dreadfully depressing subject but even so I had finally fulfilled my dream.

Now I need to decide on a new #1 author who I wish to interview...

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library. 

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