ELVISSEY by Jack Womack


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Fourth venture into Womack's bleak, violent, sterile future (Heathern, 1990, etc.) in which America is run by the Dryco Corporation, and worship of E (Elvis) is the major religion. As part of Dryco's new policy of ""regooding,"" top executive Leveritt decides to send operative babel Bonney and her security-chief husband John into an ethnically cleansed, McCarthyite parallel world where the year is 1954. Why? Well, what better means to regood whole swaths of the population than to present them with a real, live messiah? Isabel and John successfully locate and grab the parallel Elvis--he's a homicidal deadbeat, yet still has that magic voice. But the launch of Elvis as messiah, in England, goes horribly awry; Isabel discovers how utterly Leveritt has betrayed her; and John, violently unstable through previous regooding experiments and drug overdoses, commits suicide. Writing in a difficult yet distinctive future idiom--imagine Walt Whitman recycled through a Pentagon committee--Womack offers potent commentary on racism, religion, corporatism, and more. But too many of the human relationships here fail to crystallize, and the upshot is flashy but rather hollow. Terraplane (1988) remains his crowning achievement.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0802134955
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's