David Bowie and the Internet Apocalypse
I have loved David Bowie since I was ten years old. Most childhood infatuations are based on a child’s aesthetic and heroes diminish with age. But as I got older, and learned more about art and life, my respect for David Bowie only grew. For me, without question, he set the standard for how an artist should live.
More than any artist I can think of, he pushed and pushed to grow by taking chances. It’s become a cliche, but as I’ve written many times before, his bravery was a constant inspiration.
But here’s the thing about being a Bowie fan. Loving him gave me a great sense of inadequacy about my art. I never pretended Bowie would care for my music, my writing, or me. And I was fine with that. There seemed nothing Bowie-esque about me. I was a suburban, broad-shouldered, hairy, heterosexual American. I had more in common with Billy Joel and it was my cross to bear, no matter how much I studied Bowie’s work.
Then I began writing novels. I realized that was what I was supposed to do. More than being a songwriter, a joke writer, a columnist, or any of the other hats I’ve worn I was supposed to be a novelist. I set about writing my Trilogy over three or four years and when it was done I realized something. I’d written three books totally different from each other: A broad filthy satire, a conventional spy thriller, and a fractured noir that experimented with changing narratives. That had been the intent all along, but I also never really thought about it. I said to myself, rhetorically, and almost angrily, “who would write a trilogy with three different styles in the same universe?” And then I answered, “Bowie would.”
I thought of his trilogy of Berlin albums, Low, Heroes, and Lodger and how each are all distinctly different, but all Bowie. So now my Internet Apocalypse Trilogy is done, and I feel like I accidentally achieved something I stopped trying to do as a teen: I committed an act of Bowie. Good or bad, I feel this Trilogy, in its diversity, is the closest I’ll ever come to him.
So it makes sense to dedicate the book to Bowie and everyone else still aspiring to live even a fraction of his artistic life.
I hope you’ll give these books a chance.