ORION: THE LIVING SUPERSTAR OF SONG
Inscribed limited first edition of the novel that launched the "Elvis is alive" conspiracy, with a dramatic publishing history that reflects the struggles of feminine authority in authorship, and an author inscription directly referencing Brewer-Giorgio's experience with Arthur's plagiarism.
Near fine in very good plus jacket.
ORION: THE LIVING SUPERSTAR OF SONG
"A scream formed within ORION until he cried aloud, 'Oh my God!' In a sterile coffin lay the body of ORION Eckley Darnell."
Infidelity, surreptitious alteration of documents, and multi-million-dollar lawsuits play a part in the publication story of ORION. Gail Brewer-Giorgio was not a particular fan of Elvis when she started the novel for which she is best known; "I owned no Elvis Presley records, had never seen his movies [...] and possessed only general media information on him," she recalled at the time she wrote ORION (Plasketes). Nevertheless, she said, "ORION began to write itself on the third day after the death of Elvis Presley" (Plasketes). At the same time, motivational speaker and Elvis fan Gene Arthur was developing a biography of the King in which the last chapter would assert that his death was a ruse, based on "some library research" (Plasketes). The two were brought together by a rather unlikely series of mutual connections, and the rest is history.
Or is it? The first limited edition of ORION bears Gene Arthur as a co-author (credited ahead of Brewer-Giorgio), while the first trade edition does not. After finding no mainstream publisher interest in the work, Arthur, Brewer-Giorgio, and three others formed a company to issue it. The problems started immediately. Despite not reading over the company's contracts, Arthur expected to hold a controlling interest, which, according to documentation, was actually held by Brewer-Giorgio; Arthur claimed he was swindled out of the position by an employee who was having an affair with Brewer-Giorgio. Meanwhile, Brewer-Giorgio registered her copyright of the ORION manuscript in June 1978, but was incensed to find that Arthur had gone back on his promise to send her promotional copies of the work. Arthur's (perhaps vengeful) gambit was revealed when the book hit the shelves: "[o]n the eve of the first printing run," he instructed the printer to list him as a co-author above Brewer-Giorgio, although he admitted his only contribution was the funding and (he claimed) the idea of Orion's faked death (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, 1C). "I didn't see it was necessary to inform her," he said in response to Brewer-Giorgio's outrage. She filed a $9 million lawsuit against Arthur, which ensured that all subsequent ORION publications bore her name as the sole author, and subsequently built a vibrant career around the conspiracy theories her novel stirred up.
This copy of the limited first edition is inscribed by Brewer Giorgio in part: "(I wrote it all - Gene Arthur has committed plagiarism)." A terrific copy that captures the author's efforts to guard her rights over her own work.
Read more: "Harper Valley PTA, Part 1: Shelby S. Singleton," Cocaine and Rhinestones episode 7; George Plasketes, True Disbelievers: Elvis Contagion.
Atlanta / (Atlanta): Golden Eagle Publishing Co. / (Capricorn Corporation), (1978). 9.25'' x 5.75''. Original gold paper binding with gilt stamping. Original unclipped (no price) color pictorial dust jacket, designed by Jennifer Miller Broadus. x, 330 pages. Inscribed by Brewer-Giorgio on front free endpaper: "To C___ C___, / Hope you enjoy / "Orion" / (I wrote it all - / Gene Arthur has / committed <u>plagiarism</u>) / Gail Brewer-Giorgio." Jacket with light rubbing and wear to edges, a few tiny closed tears. Book with some bumping to spine ends, else firm and clean.
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