The Dick Gibson Show is a talk show with a very loud speaker, an obsessed, obliterating performance as the turntable turns and turns and attempts to fill the void. Specifically, if that is at all possible, Gibson is a great communicator and when first met, a slicker in the sticks, he's the Voice of the Voice of Wheat during the early days of radio. The novel, actually a succession of insets of greater and lesser accessibility, takes him from here to there (World War II; a psychodrama over the airwaves in Hartford, Conn.; an affair with a nurse whose voice -- viz. soul -- he tries to unlock) until when he's last seen all the wretched of the earth seem to be listening to him and phoning in as supplicants. Elkin, you might say, has used the radio as an amplifier of the contemporary collective while Gibson's voice, uniquely his and insistently protected whenever threatened, seems to represent the inviolable self as its "sum of private frequencies and personal resonances." . . . Elkin is as always a superb wordsman and can preempt your attention with his frenetic energy ("Drive drives the world") even if you may be altogether exhausted by Sign-Off time. Like Boswell, like The Bad Man, it's a showcase presentation and something of an apocalyptic hype, more to be admired than actively enjoyed.