Author: Byron Edwards
ISBN: 0-595-67387-2 (Hardback, 188 pp.)
"Lips" is the latest venture into Presley fiction. Not for the first time, the story involves time travel (remember "Elvissey"?) and the blurb on the back cover informs us that the action takes place during the "lost week in the life of Elvis." Well, the journey starts on 10 October 1970, and that is certainly not the beginning of a lost week, for Elvis received an official deputy sheriff's badge from Shelby County on the 10th, and attended the Gospel Quartet Convention at the Ellis Auditorium on the 15th and 17th. A week earlier might have been a better choice.
Time travel has long been a favourite, though rather dangerous topic, for science-fiction writers. The very best of these, such as Isaac Asimov, confront the paradoxes and dilemmas of time travel in their stories. (If you'd like to read a really good time travel book, buy Asimov's "The End of Eternity.") Sadly, Byron Edwards glosses over these intriguing aspects with just some cursory remarks. Instead, he seems to want to fill his tale with excessive references to historical aspects, frequently dropping names that add nothing to the story, other than to show that the author knows what he is writing about. Mind you, there is no doubt that Edwards knows his Elvisology, which certainly helps to make his story pleasant enough to read.
At the start of the book, the narrator tells the reader that he will tell his tale in the first person. That's a difficult task for such a tale, as it limits the sphere of experience of the narrator. Indeed, throughout the book, the first-person narrative is interrupted by simple third-person narrative -- plain storytelling -- which takes the edge off the story and disrupts its flow. This is a pity, for Edwards has an unusual and interesting tale to tell. Maybe it could benefit from some professional editing in order to tidy up these rough edges and to make it into a really good story.
A piece of Elvis fiction must, of course, have something specifically Elvis to make it appeal to the fans. "Lips" certainly has this. Our time-travelling storyteller confronts Elvis at an important time in his life and makes him think about various aspects of his personal life and career while taking him on a journey to avoid the police, crossing the USA and finally arriving at a group of mysterious pyramids in Mexico. Avoiding the police? Yes, indeed, a clever piece of plot-making, well worked out.
A very good aspect of "Lips" is that the author has not resorted to the use of foul language as a means of embellishing his writing. This is good to see, for so many writers resort to such usage when they are incapable of anything else. Byron Edwards has steered away from this quite unnecessary evil and his story is all the better for it.
All in all, "Lips" is a good story, with an interesting theme that offers plenty of "what if" considerations that Elvis fans should enjoy. Perhaps that is enough for a book aimed at such an audience, but on a more literary level, I would like to see the book undergo some good editing and I am sure that it would then offer an even better read.
"Lips" is available in paperback format (US$ 14.95), as well as hardback (US$ 24.95). In addition, an extremely reasonably-priced ebook version is available at just US$ 6. For further information, visit
or other online book stores, such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
copyright September 2005contact me.
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