On January 10th, 2016 David Bowie passed away after a long fight with cancer. Although well known for his contributions to pop, progressive, and other types of music, you may not know of Mr. Bowie's contributions to the science fiction genre.
Bowie's first major hit was the story of Major Tom, an astronaut lost in space. Full of the angst of the start of the space age with the launch of Apollo 11, Space Oddity, was one of the first rock songs that smoothly blended a sci fi story with melodic rock and lyrics. Other songs such as Starman, Moonage Daydream, and Life On Mars ? continued to bring short stories in the form of record singles to his audience. Moonage Daydream recently came back into the sci fi spotlight in Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy, as part of it's soundtrack.
Concept Artist From Beyond
With the concept album and persona of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie created an incredible tapestry of rock music, sci fi themes, and stage shows that awed his audience. With equal parts psychedelia and the fantastic, Bowie found a way to merge his loves of music and the fantastic into his work. His later concept album Diamond Dogs speaks of a dystopian future for the world. Originally to be entirely based off of 1984 by George Orwell, the late author's estate balked at the idea, and removed it's support. In true rock and roll fashion Bowie still used names and ideas for the album, a show of fighting the system he continued to flaunt and bend throughout his career.
Actor And Pop Icon
Starting with his first starring role in The Man Who Fell To Earth, Bowie brought the character of alien Thomas Jerome Newton to life. Through this break out role, Bowie would appear in other sci fi and fantasy films. Among his roles were: John Blaylock in The Hunger, Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth, Phillip Jeffries in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,and Nikola Tesla in the Christopher Nolan helmed film, The Prestige.
Bowie's characters often reflected the pop culture or fascination of the times. and these performances on screen as well as his Ziggy Stardust persona on stage has cemented in to fandom a man who was not only inducted into both the Rock And Roll and Science Fiction Halls of Fame, but who brought a whole generation of fans along for the ride.