David Bowie, science, and Gothic absurdity

A few more Bowie-related links, here. Science Fiction is, one might say, a rationalising mode of the fantastic; SF motifs feature frequently in Bowie’s work from ‘Space Oddity’ to his penultimate single ‘Blackstar’ (the video of which combines elements of SF, fantasy, and Gothic). The SF author Ken McCleod has written an essay, ‘Space Oddities: Aliens, Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music’, summarised here, discussing the use of SF imagery in Bowie’s and other popular music.

In a bizarre outburst of absurdly demonic Gothic and religiosity, the TV evangelist Pat Roberston informs us that Bowie has not died; he has been kidnapped by demons. The fantastic and transgressive forces often found in rock music have always stirred up powerful reactions among conservatives; here, Robertson’s response is itself a hilariously Gothic fantasy of irrational excess. (I’m still not absolutely sure that this piece is not satirical fiction.)

Finally, in tribute to Bowie and to those recurring motifs of Mars, stars, and alienness, astronomers have registered a constellation in his honour, based on the famous zig-zag make-up of his Ziggy Stardust persona. I think this is just wonderful.

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1 Response to David Bowie, science, and Gothic absurdity

  1. William the Bloody says:

    It’s been pointed out to me on Twitter (by Nick Miller of Washington University in St. Louis) that the Pat Robertson piece is, in fact, satire. But Gothic irrationality of this type erupts so often into political discourse these days that it’s hard to tell!

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