This is the second of a four-part series about the release of Terra Incognita: THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (novel. Orbit Books) and Terra Incognita: BEYOND THE HORIZON (rock CD, ProgRock Records) on June 2.
Part 2. Music and Words—Epic Fantasy Novel, Epic Rock CD
In Part 1, I described our efforts to begin building steam for the release of the novel Terra Incognita: THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, months before its release. However, I had actually begun another part of the project almost two years earlier, during the planning and research stages of the novel, which would make this an innovative and unusual project: Not only was “Terra Incognita” an ambitious fantasy novel, it was also a groundbreaking crossover music CD with performances by some of the legends of rock.
Since I began writing my first stories, I have always been influenced by music, especially the genre known as “progressive rock” (Rush, Kansas, Styx, the Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Lana Lane, Asia). Many stories, scenes, even entire books blossomed from the CDs playing constantly on my stereo. My first novel, RESURRECTION, INC., was entirely inspired by the Rush album Grace Under Pressure, which I acknowledged in the dedication.
However, not only were many of my stories inspired by music, but a lot of the music I enjoyed was inspired by science fiction and fantasy. Progressive rock clearly has a genre focus, and the two audiences have a lot in common.
I had become friends with Shawn Gordon, who owns the record label ProgRock Records, and we discussed the possibility of tying together a novel and CD as a sort of synergistic, crossover project. In 2007, as I began work on Terra Incognita, I suggested to Shawn that this might be the perfect subject for such a creative endeavor—an epic novel and an epic CD, written by the same author. Shawn immediately saw the potential and brought aboard accomplished keyboardist/composer Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists) to write the music and produce the recordings (he was also our keyboardist). I had enjoyed Erik’s solo work, and I particularly loved the music and vocals of his wife Lana Lane (“the Queen of Symphonic Rock”). Erik and I began corresponding, exchanging novels and CDs.
For our crossover album, Terra Incognita: BEYOND THE HORIZON, I adapted a storyline from the 600-page novel, a part that I thought could best be enhanced in music format. I worked with my wife and frequent coauthor Rebecca Moesta to write the lyrics to all the songs. Erik wrote the music, Lana sang the demos, and the whole thing started to come together.
It turns out that a lot of the singers and musicians I had admired for years were indeed fans of SF/F and often fans of my novels. We put together a “supergroup” of some of the top names in the business, creating a band called ROSWELL SIX. Vocals by James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Michael Sadler (ex-Saga), John Payne (Asia feat. John Payne) and Lana Lane. David Ragsdale (the violinist from Kansas) came aboard, along with Martin Orford (from IQ, who came out of retirement to perform on our CD), Gary Wehrkamp (guitarist, Shadow Gallery), Kurt Barabas (bassist, Under the Sun), Chris Brown (guitarist, Ghost Circus), Chris Quirarte (drummer, Prymary), and Mike Alvarez (cello).
Altogether, the 13 tracks on the CD tell part of THE EDGE OF THE WORLD. In addition to the lyrics, I wrote connective text in the CD booklet, which contains interior art by multiple-Hugo-winning artist Bob Eggleton. The unique aspect of the combined CD and novel attracted attention from both the music and book business, and Orbit Books and ProgRock Records were able to cross-promote. The novel and the CD were set to release simultaneously, and Orbit arranged to send out packages containing both items to an extensive review list.
In the course of my career I’ve had over a hundred books published in many languages, with many bestsellers, but this project has been a dream come true, a creative synergy unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my career. Listen to the music, read the novel—and enjoy. (Sample tracks are available at www.MySpace.com/Roswellsix.)
–Kevin J. Anderson