Rush's forthcoming Clockwork Angels project will be accompanied by a sci-fi novelization

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Rush’s first album in five years is turning into a multi-media extravaganza: Kevin J. Anderson plans to turn Clockwork Angels into a book, according to a new post on the sci-fi writer’s Facebook page.

That follows a first novel by Anderson, a longtime friend of Rush drummer Neil Peart, called Resurrection Inc. that was inspired by the Rush album Grace Under Pressure.

[MARCH 7, 2012 UPDATE!: U.S. release dates have been confirmed; preorder your copy of Rush’s ‘Clockwork Angels,’ the band’s first studio project since 2007, HERE.]

“Imagine if someone had written the novel of The Wall, Tommy, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when those classic albums were released. For Rush fans, Clockwork Angels is that project,” Anderson writes. “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.”

Two tracks from Clockwork Angels have already been released — “Caravan” and “BU2B.” From there, Anderson says, listeners can get a sense of the story’s genesis: “In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos,” Anderson writes. “He travels across a lavish and colourful 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.”

No word yet on when Anderson’s new book will be released.

“I’m writing the chapters now, incorporating the lyrics into the narrative, and having a fantastic time,” Anderson writes. “More details to come, but for now-to quote a line from ‘Caravan’: ‘I can’t stop thinking big.'”

Here’s a look back at our previous thoughts on Rush. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

RUSH – TIME MACHINE 2011: LIVE IN CLEVELAND (2011): Rush used this opportunity to, as they really have been doing each tour lately, rifle through catalog and pull out some dusty old gems (“Time Stand Still,” reggae “Working Man,” “Marathon,” “Subdivisions,” “Stick It Out” and “Leave That Thing Alone”) and even one bonafide “never been played before” fan favorite (“Presto”) but, most importantly, a run-through of their entire classic Moving Pictures album for its 30th anniversary. Some of those tunes have been played a lot (“Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” I’m looking at you) but others have disappeared for far, far too long. Welcome back to the stage “The Camera Eye” and “Witch Hunt.” Maybe you’ll stick around for a couple tours?

When most think of Rush, it’s their instrumental virtuosity (especially drummer Neil Peart) that comes to mind first. Or the love or hatred of Geddy Lee’s vocals. Other times it’s Peart’s second role as lyricist for the band that garners attention, and it’s another love or hate area of focus: Ayn Rand, sci-fi, songs about balding, fights between dogs and, well, whatever a Bytor is, these are all common targets for those who want to throw stones. We’re here to present an argument for the defense.

RUSH – ROLL THE BONES (1991; 2011 reissue): Listeners will hear immediately that the sound is indeed lighter and quieter, and the soundstage is thinner than either previous version. But it’s all to better show off the album’s immaculate recording, which does get a bit muffled in the Atlantic pressings. This is where you can revel in the tone of Geddy’s maturing voice, or the textures of Alex Lifeson’s guitar, or the layers of keyboard washes that are now magically so much more discernible from one another. With regard to those keyboard washes, what’s funny is that once you hear them here, you can’t help but notice them in the other versions, too. It just took this delicate audiophile edition to separate them out.

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