Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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An “origin story” for David Bowie

Via tor.com, I see that that one of the stories in Neil Gaiman’s collection Trigger Warning is in a sense an “origin story” inspired by David Bowie. As a memorial, Gaiman has made the story — “The Return of the Thin White Duke” — available at his website. Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

He was the monarch of all he surveyed, even when he stood out on the palace balcony at night listening to reports and he glanced up into the sky at the bitter twinkling clusters and whorls of stars. He ruled the worlds. He had tried for so long to rule wisely, and well, and to be a good monarch, but it is hard to rule, and wisdom can be painful. And it is impossible, he had found, if you rule, to do only good, for you cannot build anything without tearing something down, and even he could not care about every life, every dream, every population of every world.

Bit by bit, moment by moment, death by little death, he ceased to care.

Wow, that’s kind of a depressing beginning. Since this is Gaiman, I trust that the story will be essentially uplifting rather than, or in addition to, being tragic. I haven’t read it yet, but I definitely want to.

Not all the paintings associated with the story seem to be illustrating the version linked above. Here are other paintings that accompany the Thin White Duke.

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