THE KING IS DEAD by Paul M. Sammon

THE KING IS DEAD

Tales of Elvis Postmortem
edited by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A tribute to Dead Elvis that ranges from campy and fun to morbid and strange, from inventive and clever to weird and just plain dumb. Sammon (editor of Splatterpunks, 1990, etc.) collects stories and essays with two simple guidelines in mind: Elvis must appear in some way, shape, or form, and Elvis must be dead. This means that serious critiques like Lou Reed's sadly sentimental ``Damaged Goods,'' which questions Elvis's sense of self, and Greil Marcus's somewhat underdeveloped assertion that ``Elvis was less a recognizable symbol [like Madonna or Sinead O'Connor], than a symbol of recognizability'' in ``Someone You Never Forget'' are interspersed with a wide range of fiction. Some stories, like Victor Koman's ``The Eagle Cape,'' in which he saves a young girl from her abusive father, feature Elvis as a powerful centerpiece. Others turn him into a meaningless walk-on. In Del James's ``Backstage,'' a heroin-abusing member of a famous rock band checks out in the middle of a lovemaking session with a groupie and everyone from Morrison and Hendrix to The King step in to finish what he started. Too often we're left imagining Sammon saying, ``Just stick him in there somewhere and I'll put you in the book.'' Among the better entries is Harlan Ellison's ``The Pale Silver Dollar of the Moon Pays Its Way and Makes Change,'' the somber story of Jessie Garon, Elvis's twin brother, who, in this story, didn't die at birth and is responsible for the many Elvis sightings. Among the worst is Joe R. Lansdales's ``(Bubba Ho-Tep),'' which spends too much time on The King's hard-ons. Though old curly lip remains an enticing phenomenon, too much bad writing leaves the reader all shook up and itchin like a man on a fuzzy tree.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-31253-9
Page count: 381pp
Publisher: Delta
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1994