Read the start of the novel here.
I walked away from the crowd after the funeral service ended on the last ringing notes of a new composition drafted for the occasion by Rory’s long-ago guitarist, Galaxy Jones. I was looking out across a hill on the side of the cemetery where a good slice of Manhattan was visible when Galaxy himself joined me.
“Andrews,” he said. “So how’s the rag gonna play this?”
“Oh, you know, typical legend-dies feature with an emotional close-up photo and the dates of his birth and death on the cover. I’m thinking about giving it to an intern.”
“You gotta be kidding me. Hey, you know what inspired me to write that song I just played? It was actually that time you and me were hanging out with Rory the afternoon before the ’76 show at CBGBs. We were all totally stroked about the Mars mission,” Galaxy said.
The Viking Probe had landed that week and sent back stunning photos of the red planet’s rocky terrain. Rory and Galaxy, being stars in one of the world’s most popular glam bands, figured those images of Mars would give them at least an album’s worth of inspiration to write a sort of space rock opera. It would be where NASA’s technical precision met Bowie’s “Life on Mars.” The idea did in fact come to fruition, but it wasn’t one of the band’s better-selling efforts and was viewed by many critics as a poor-man’s rip-off of Hunky Dory.
Galaxy continued. “I remembered that you were telling us about the way your hometown back out in the hills was the exact opposite of Manhattan and how it was rural but had bustling paper factories and a Universal record-pressing plant. But Rory was saying that when he was growing up there, it had been even more bustling and that he could see the differences already. And that the writing was clearly on the wall for those factories, that they would shut down and the town would one day have nothing.”
“Yup, that’s exactly what has happened. The paper factories moved to Taiwan and, well, record plants aren’t the busiest places around these days,” I confirmed.