THE ESSENTIAL MAN by Al Morgan

THE ESSENTIAL MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The poor man's--nay, the Neanderthal Man's--Full Disclosure, with, instead of a blinded President, one with a brain tumor; popular Tommy Owens collapses mid-oath during his second-term Inauguration (Jan. 20, 1985). Seeing Tommy in a hush-hush terminal coma and corrupt-vile VP Carl Kobin on deck, the Owens inner circle--adviser Allen Palmer, medico Grant Fuller, widow-to-be Sue--conceives a plan to keep the good-guy Owens administration going: create a Tommy replacement, via plastic surgery, lobotomy, and computerized behavior modification. Their guinea pig (half volunteer, half victim) is fruity Broadway star Paul Scott, and all goes well--wiping out Scott's character, feeding in Tommy's--until their presidential Frankenstein lurches into action. He tells Polish jokes to Poland's prime minister, says ""Up yours, Ivan!"" to the Russian ambassador, and, as Scott's real self resurfaces (The Essential Man!), dreams up the TOMMY awards for show-biz greats. And when a computer brain-implant repair job doesn't click, it's assassination time at the special belated Inauguration in June. Idiotic? Totally. But good-naturedly, almost tongue-in-cheekily so--with a certain unpretentious, rock-bottom professionalism that leaves the vast built-in potential for offensiveness here relatively unfulfilled.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Playboy