Upcoming Clockwork Angels Novel: Order Out of Chaos
Science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and Neil will be releasing a novelization of Clockwork Angels when Rush releases the album later this year, the writer says in an entry to his blog yesterday.
UPDATE: The hardcover edition of the book in mid-September debuted at No. 18 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list.
“I’m writing the chapters now, incorporating the lyrics into the narrative, and having a fantastic time,” says Anderson, who collaborated with Neil on an e-book last year called Drumbeats. “More details to come, but for now—to quote a line from Caravan: “I can’t stop thinking big.”
Anderson says Clockwork Angels is about a young man’s quest to follow his dreams. He’s “caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.”
Neil says the story took root in August, 2010, while he and Anderson were on a hike. “Another long-time goal took root in August, 2010, on a day off between shows at Colorado’s Red Rocks amphitheater. For about twenty years, I have been friends with the previously-mentioned author and pioneer of steampunk, Kevin J. Anderson, and all that time we have discussed doing a project together to combine lyrics and prose. Kevin lived nearby, and led me on a hike up Colorado’s Mount Evans (14,265 feet), during which we started workshopping a prose version of the Clockwork Angels story. A year and a half later, Kevin would do the ‘heavy lifting’ on its novelization.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the Watchmaker imagery plays out, because the “Watchmaker” is often associated with Plato’s idea of the demiurge: the “prime mover” who sets the universe in motion. The universe is free, and we all have freewill in this universe. But it remains the case that all of this motion was set in play by the god-like demiurge, and now it’s our burden—or opportunity—to make what we will of the ride. (More on this.)
As Rush says in its 1987 song “Prime Mover,” the point of the journey is “not to arrive” and the point of departure “is not to ruturn.” Instead, it’s all about the “thrill to be alive”—how you turn all this chaos into order.
Geddy in a Terrorizer interview says having the novel helped prevent the music from getting bogged down in storytelling details. The novel “took a lot of pressure off [that] I had to include in the lyrics! I could say, ‘Well you can just put that in the book then, it’ll be fine.’ So, that helped make it a better musical journey in that I wasn’t so restricted by plot twists and trying to make sense that [the main character] appears here, then appears there. That’s something that can be flushed out in a novel, but not necessarily important for a musical journey because the music itself is what gives you some colour and paints the picture.”
Anderson and Neil became friends about 20 years ago after Anderson sent Neil a copy of his book Resurrection, Inc., a science fiction novel based on the ideas in Grace Under Pressure. Andserson says he channels Rush music in other work he’s done. In all, he’s written about 100 novels, 47 of them on bestseller lists, according to information on his publishing page.
More on the upcoming tale:
“I worked together with Neil to flesh out the epic story told over the course of the music, as well as the artist Hugh Syme whose paintings fill the CD booklet.”
The story has been set in motion, you might say, and now it’s about to play itself out.
—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault
Credit to Rush is a Band for the news of this upcoming novel.