David Bowie Songs Reimagined as Pulp Fiction Book Covers: Space Oddity, Heroes, Life on Mars & More

In the last year, screen­writer Todd Alcott’s hob­by has blown up into a legit side career.

This Etsy sell­er isn’t ped­dling kom­bucha SCOBYs, let­ter press­ing new baby announce­ments, or repur­pos­ing old barns for use as cut­ting boards.

No, Alcott’s crafty for­tunes fall square­ly at the inter­sec­tion of pulp fic­tion and rock and roll, with clas­sic song titles, lyrics, and oth­er cun­ning ref­er­ences replac­ing the cov­er text of pre-exist­ing vin­tage paper­backs.

David Bowie’s life­long fas­ci­na­tion with space trav­el, tor­tured anti heroes, and out­ra­geous fash­ion make him a nat­ur­al fit with Alcott’s ongo­ing project, which has lav­ished sim­i­lar atten­tion on such lumi­nar­ies as Bob Dylan, Radio­headTalk­ing Heads, and Elvis Costel­lo.

As Alcott, who con­ceives of his mash ups as trib­utes to his long time musi­cal favorites, told Open Cul­ture:

Bowie dressed as an androg­y­nous alien, went out onstage and told his audi­ence “You’re not alone, give me your hands,” I can’t think of a more encom­pass­ing ges­ture to a mis­fit. No mat­ter how weird you were in your com­mu­ni­ty, you would always find some­one like you at a Bowie con­cert. Dur­ing a time of my life when I felt incred­i­bly iso­lat­ed and alone, (Bowie was one of) the key artists who made me feel like I was part of a big­ger world, an artis­tic con­tin­u­um.

Mean­while, Alcott is tend­ing to anoth­er con­tin­u­um by posthu­mous­ly pair­ing such late greats as Bowie and Queen’s Fred­die Mer­cury (“co-author” of the deep sea-themed Under Pres­sure cov­er, above) with the sort of adven­tur­ous, occa­sion­al­ly steamy read­ing mate­r­i­al that were among the hall­marks of their 1950s’ boy­hoods.

Many of these items have found their way to used book and thrift stores, where, tat­tered and worn, they pro­vide a vast trove for some­one like Alcott, who brows­es with his favorite acts’ cat­a­logues deeply imprint­ed on his men­tal hard dri­ve.

It must’ve been a grand day when he hap­pened across the above 1970s sci fi cov­er. A few deft tweaks, and Life on Mars, a nonex­is­tent “new adven­ture from the author of Space Odd­i­ty,” was born.

(Hard­core fans, take note of the doc­tored pub­lish­er in the upper left cor­ner)

Heroes, which takes its inspi­ra­tion from the 1981 X‑Men com­ic Days of Future Past, is crammed full of such East­er eggs. Can you spot them all?

What a fit­ting trib­ute to the Starman’s endur­ing hold on the public’s imag­i­na­tion.

Browse Todd Alcott’s Bowie-themed pulp fic­tion col­lec­tion in his Etsy shop.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Clas­sic Radio­head Songs Re-Imag­ined as a Sci-Fi Book, Pulp Fic­tion Mag­a­zine & Oth­er Nos­tal­gic Arti­facts

Songs by David Bowie, Elvis Costel­lo, Talk­ing Heads & More Re-Imag­ined as Pulp Fic­tion Book Cov­ers

Clas­sic Songs by Bob Dylan Re-Imag­ined as Pulp Fic­tion Book Cov­ers: “Like a Rolling Stone,” “A Hard Rain’s A‑Gonna Fall” & More

157 Ani­mat­ed Min­i­mal­ist Mid-Cen­tu­ry Book Cov­ers

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in New York City April 15 for the next install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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