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Elvissey (1997)

Elvissey (1997)

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3.81 of 5 Votes: 3
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0802134955 (ISBN13: 9780802134950)
grove press

About book Elvissey (1997)

Boy, this was quite a find. Elvissey is the kind of intense high-concept sci-fi that I should read more of, but don't. It takes effort to understand the language. First line: "Ascension, I craved; my husband dreamed of descent. At our meet that set our seal." That's pretty coherent compared to some of the sentences the people of our future come up with. Womack has such an incredible way with language. After a few hours in this world, I was speaking it right along with them. The pace of my reading increased with immersion. The future is a world where people have latched onto Elvis as their savior. Yes, that Elvis. Like any religion, there are a fair share of non-believers. Like any religion, there are more than a fair share of denominations, sects, cults, and fanatics. Elvis is a savior like any other: He is not everything you hope for. He is not what you need. Like any religion, there are a fair share of people shrewd enough to manipulate it toward their own best interests. That's where Dryco gets on the Elvis crazy train. This company has basically taken over the world (maybe this story is told in some of Womack's other books?) and one of its employees creates a project to take Elvis Presley from a parallel world and bring him into ours. The savior reborn.Elvis, here, is Elvis sans fame. He is stupid, horny, and has an amazing singing voice. Stripped of fame and fortune, Elvis is terrifying and sad. Elvissey is darkly humorous, with funny references to Southern institutions like the Piggly Wiggly and Memphis's Peabody Hotel. The novel also touches upon issues of gender dynamics in marriage, and race issues. It got me wondering, what if Jesus came back? How would people react to him and his dark skin? Would they find him a fraud? How would he feel to be called an imposter?"Does a beloved's actuality matter, while the image carries comfort enough? In such circumstance is actuality ever admitted, or even recognized? Who suffers profoundest regret, then, when truth rears ugly head: the worshiper, or the worshiped?"

Elvissey is the 4th novel in Jack Womack's Ambient setting. It was a co-winner of the 1994 Phillip K Dick award. The story in Elvissey draws from elements set up in the first 3 novels. Our main character - Isabel - and her husband have been selected by Dryco to cross over to the alternate world (introduced in Terraplane) in order to bring that world's Elvis Presley back. The story is intriguing, and Womack's writing is excellent. After being absent in Heathern, the future dialect that Womack has created is back in this book, and that is a plus. In the minus column, Elvis turns out to be a whiny loser in the other world, and its hard to sympathize with him despite the ordeal he undergoes. Overall I enjoyed Terraplane more, but Elvissey is a very good read.

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