Dick Gibson Puts on Quite a Show

Stanley Elkin's novel The Dick Gibson Show-- published in 1970-- is the story of an itinerant radioman on an infinite apprenticeship with the medium, and the novel-- while wild and absurd and surreal by turns-- is prescient of our own times; the many voices of Dick Gibson, and the oddballs that call into his shows, are a precursor to the internet, where you can find any voice you like, and tune in to exactly what you want to hear . . . and there's also a set-piece monologue near the end where Gibson laments the state of the world . . . politics, the environment, materialism, asymmetrical warfare, artificial sweeteners, nuclear radiation, monosodium glutamate, distracted driving, and overpopulation . ..  aside from the lack of any mention of global warming, the piece is utterly of our times, as is Dick Gibson's mutable voice; be warned, the book is heavy on style and light on plot, but it's fun and exuberant and weird, and if you like Kurt Vonnegut and Woody Allen and Joseph Heller and Thomas Pynchon, then you might like this as well (and by the way, I'm thankful for my Kindle, which allows me to find and read oddball stuff like this with incredible ease).

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