A first novel.
Vollmann's first novel was infamously composed while he spent his nights sleeping under his desk at a crushingly dull job in California's Silicon Valley. He claims that he lived off of the candy in the office vending machine while concealing himself from the nightly crews of janitors. The novel that announced the beginning of his prodigious career is a looping satirical fantasy depicting, among other things, a ruthless war between the insects and the inventors of electricity. Just the sort of writing one might expect from the keyboard of a fierce intellect alternately suffering the highs and lows produced by a strict diet of Snickers bars and Coca Cola.