Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekly Update #57

Editor's Note

Good we are back on track.  We broke our monthly page view record in May, so now the new record to beat is 6463.  Thanks again everybody and this is on top of surpassing 100 Twitter followers.  Speaking of social networking, those of you who use Digg can also find me posting updates on Weekly Update there.

Please also check out the Historical Novel Society and read my guide to alternate history.  It is the first of what I hope to be many guest posts I make on other websites in the near future as I continue to promote Weekly Update.

And now the news...

Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson...and Rush?

I'm not joking, here is the press release from Kevin J Anderson's blog:

In an innovative combination of music and literature, the new album Clockwork Angels by legendary rock band Rush has been converted into a full-length “steampunk” science fiction novel by international bestselling SF author Kevin J. Anderson and Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.

The music throughout the Clockwork Angels album—the band’s 20th studio album—forms the backbone of a colorful adventure story, which is now fully realized in Clockwork Angels: The Novel (ECW Press, hardcover, September 2012). The story tells of a young man caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. On a quest to follow his dreams, he travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, airships and steam engines, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.

Anderson (who has over 50 national and international bestsellers to his credit and has recently been named 2012’s Grandmaster by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers for lifetime achievement in the field) has often been influenced by music, particularly Rush.  His first novel, Resurrection, Inc., was directly inspired by the Rush album Grace Under Pressure, which sparked a long-term friendship with Peart. “You can find Rush references sprinkled through many of my Dune novels, the Saga of Seven Suns, my Terra Incognita trilogy,” Anderson says. “Probably more than even I can identify, because the music is so intertwined in my imagination.”

Peart, an accomplished author in his own right (Ghost Rider, Roadshow, Far and Away) and Anderson already co-wrote a short story, “Drumbeats” (WordFire Press), but the pair have always been looking for something more ambitious to combine their creative interests and talents.

Peart is also an avid reader of Anderson’s fiction. “For something like 20 years, Kevin and I discussed working on a project together that would marry music, lyrics, and prose fiction,” he says. “The right idea and timing eluded us for a long time, but at last, both converged perfectly.” Clockwork Angels: The Novel seemed a natural.

Peart approached Anderson with the idea several years ago, when Rush was in the early stages of creating the album. As the lyrics and music were completed, the two brainstormed the story, characters, setting, adventures, and ideas, sometimes with a flurry of a dozen e-mails per day.  The artist Hugh Syme—who created eight illustrations for the CD booklet and original works for the novel—also provided inspiration.

“This is a dream project for me,” Anderson says.  “I have always envisioned epic stories when listening to Rush music, and now working with Neil, it’s possible to translate those stories to the printed page. Clockwork Angels: The Novel turned out even better than we had hoped. I think it’s one of my very best books.”

“As my 38 years with Rush will attest, I very much enjoy collaboration with like-minded artists,” Peart says. “Working up this story with Kevin was one of the easiest, yet most satisfying projects I have ever shared—easiest, because we almost always simply agreed with each other’s ideas, and most satisfying because I am so proud of the result.”

The recording of Clockwork Angels began in April 2010 with Grammy Award–winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, DEFTONES) — who also collaborated with the band on their previous studio album, 2007’s Snakes & Arrows. RUSH co-produced both records.

In 2010, Rush released the first two tracks from Clockwork Angels, “Caravan” and “BU2B,” which formed the cornerstone of new material around their highly successful “Time Machine” world tour. The next single from Clockwork Angels, “Headlong Flight,” was recently released and immediately became #1 at Classic Rock radio.  The lyrics of those songs somewhat frame the story for what is Clockwork Angels: The Novel.

The album will be released on June 12.  Clockwork Angels: The Novel will be in stores in September to coincide with the launch of Rush’s North America tour.  ECW Press will publish the book in hardcover with full-color illustrations by Syme; the audiobook will be available from Brilliance Audio, narrated by Neil Peart; WordFire Press will release the eBook version.

Victorian-Steampunk Days

Those living near Fawnskin, CA can attend Victorian-Steampunk Days on June 9th and 10th.  Tickets are $15 for adults (discounts for seniors, students and kids).  Those attending will see 19th century Victorians, pioneers, old miners, literary characters, shoot-outs in the streets, strange devices, arrests and judgments.  Learn more here.

Links to the Multiverse


In an alternate history, Barcelona just won the Champions League by scaryice at Climbing the Ladder.

What’s a thriller? by Alison Morton at Write a novel? I must be mad!


2012 Snapshot Interview: John Birmingham by kathrynlinge.

Sword Fighting with Neal Stephenson and His Mongoliad Co-Authors by Douglas Wolk at io9.


1636 The Kremlin Games – Snippet 43 by Eric Flint.

CLASH of EAGLES Campaign Update 2 by Sebastian P. Breit.

Clockwork Reviews: Phoenix Rising—A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine done by Marie Andrews at Nevermet Press.

Guest Author: Joseph Nassise at Literary Escapism.

In High Places, by Harry Turtledove (fiction) - alternative history, time travel, danger done by Katy Manck at BooksYALove.

Online Alternate History

May 31, 1902 – Treaty of Vereeniging Assures Boer Independence by This Day in Alternate History.


Superman, Spider-Man, and friends photobomb history by CNET at Yahoo Games.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a volunteer editor for the Alt Hist magazine and a contributor to Just Below the Law. One of his short stories will be published in the upcoming Echelon Press anthology, Once Upon a Clockwork Tale (2013). When not writing he works as an attorney in the state of Illinois and enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana.

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