Clockwork Angels – The Novel

 Clockwork Angels

Artwork by Hugh Syme

Sard recently posted an article called Musings About the Trees and I thought it would be a great segue into the following:

I have to admit that I real feel kind of foolish–I really missed the boat on this at first; then again it could have been a marketing thing or the fact that working 3rd shift does strange things to one’s mind. As many of you know, I am a complete devotee of the rock band Rush. They are a three-man group and have been around for over 4 decades. Alex Lifeson is their lead and rhythm guitarist, Geddy Lee is their bass guitarist, lead vocalist and plays keyboards, and Neil Peart is their percussionist. They are all phenomenally talented musicians and their personal lives are pretty fascinating as well.

I have seen them in concert at least six times and I have never been disappointed in the quality of their performance. Their most recent concert tour is devoted to their latest Album/CD entitled “Clockwork Angels.” I attended the show here in Indianapolis this past Sept. and, it too, did not fail to impress me—it had a “steam punk” theme, fantastic special effects, the sound was perfect and an accompaniment of string musicians was a completely new twist to the “Rush” concert experience. Following the show I purchased the Clockwork Angels CD and became almost obsessed with its entirety; the music, the lyrics, the “steam punk” inspired artwork and its mysterious narrative theme. I have literally studied the whole work listening to it for several months now and have not grown tired of any part of it. Yet, there was something more, something I was missing and I instinctively knew there had to be an additional aspect to it that had somehow escaped me.

Searching on YouTube just after Christmas this year (2012) I came across an interview with Neil Peart, who as I mentioned, is the band’s drummer and lyricist.  Peart is also an author having written Ghost Rider, The Masked Rider, Traveling Music, Roadshow, and Far and Away. While listening to the interview I discovered what it was that had somehow slipped past my sensors.

“Clockwork Angels” is also a novel!

Here is the interview:

Neil Peart Interview June 13th 2012

Kevin J. Anderson is a best-selling author with over a hundred books that include spin-off novels for Star Wars, DC Comics, and the X-Files. Together with noted album artist Hugh Syme, Peart and Anderson have combined their efforts to create a most imaginative and fun literary adventure. Clockwork Angels is a sci-fi, steam punk, fantasy tale of a daydreaming young man named Owen Hardy, who is unsure of his simple and preordained future and on a whim sets out to explore other possibilities. It takes place in the land of “Albion” controlled by the “Watchmaker,” who makes sure that every facet of society is scheduled and purposeful in order to maintain the “Stability.” Owen leaves his predictable, preplanned life in a small village to explore things that he has only read about in books. He finds his way to “Crown City,” then joins a carnival, travels to lost cities over stormy seas, hoping to find the Watchmaker. On his journey through this “Dystopian” world he experiences the forces of love, order, and chaos. It has some remarkable parallels to some of our real world circumstances.

In the interview with Neil Peart, he explains this bit of inspiration:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Rush – Headlong Flight

In an interview with Kevin J. Anderson he explains how he and Neil outlined almost the whole storyline when they climbed Mount Evans together in Colorado. This was on a day in between two shows during Rush’s Time Machine tour. The music and lyrics are woven artfully in the story’s plot. Kevin explains his perspective of the music on Clockwork Angels:

“I think there are some really profound things expressed on that record, and I think the message in the song Wish Them Well is a really important one.  It’s got this amazing message that spoke to me, because I would always get so wound up when I would disagree with someone or watch somebody on a self-destructive path.  I found it difficult to watch people screwing things up over and over again. And Wish Them Well basically says there are times when you just have to let go and let people do what they need to do, and you can’t change everything.  And that’s sort of a Zen thing that you have to get through your head, that you can’t save people from themselves if they’re on a self-destructive path.

There is so much we do not know about each other and Neil Peart is an excellent example of a person whose depth and knowledge far exceeds most people’s understanding. Although the following is not from Clockwork Angels I think it a great testimony to Peart’s ability to write purposefully:

Entre Nous

We are secrets to each other
Each one’s life a novel no one else has read
Even joined in bonds of love
We’re linked to one another by such slender threads

We are planets to each other
Drifting in our orbits to a brief eclipse
Each of us a world apart
Alone and yet together like two passing ships

Just between us I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show
Just between us I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between leave room for you and I to grow

We are strangers to each other
Full of sliding panels an illusion show
Acting well rehearsed routines or playing from the heart?
It’s hard for one to know

Just between us I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show
Just between us I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between leave room for you and I to grow

We are islands to each other
Building hopeful bridges on a troubled sea
Some are burned or swept away
Some we would not choose but we’re not always free

Just between us I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show
Just between us I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between leave room for you and I to grow

The final song on the album is The Garden and I think it is one of Peart’s all time best lyrical efforts:

Rush – The Garden

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