By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
For some local bands, making it to weekly rehearsals and playing a show a month is a difficult task. For A Life of Science, full-length albums, comic books, and fanboy convention meet-and-greets are all in a day's work. And now the electronic rock band is embarking on its biggest endeavor yet: promoting its 250-page debut novel, A Life of Science: The Apneist.
"We never really meant for it to get this big when we first started — as far as multimedia — but once we got started, we knew we had something special," singer/keyboardist James Keenan says. "That keeps us motivated."
The guys in A Life of Science aren't professional writers or editors, but they say putting together the novel came naturally. Drummer Josh Isaac already had written a 500-page book, and its dark, twisted tone appealed to Keenan, who came up with the premise for The Apneist three years ago. Keenan's story also laid the groundwork for the band's album of the same name and the three comic books that will eventually accompany it.
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The epic tale of a robotics engineer who inadvertently triggers the end of the world would make for an expensive movie, but the freedom of a pen-and-ink medium revealed itself to Isaac on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, to write in November 2009.
"(Traveling) gave me some regeneration to get away from everything and be completely anonymous and slip through the cracks for four months," Isaac says. He fleshed out Keenan's story of John, a brilliant engineer commissioned to create a robot that will end the war his country is fighting. John ends up going against orders, and instead of creating a machine that will kill others, he creates one that will disarm all the weapons of the world, including his homeland's. The robots end up turning on mankind and eliminating the human race.
"I had never edited a book before, and we were sometimes at each other's throats," Passamonte says of the process. "Josh has a very particular style to his writing, and editing it was very tricky. There was a fine line between making it readable and being true to his style."
Now, after three years of work and hype, the band self-released the book at Phoenix Comicon last week under their local record label Sundawg Records, with both soft-cover and Kindle versions, in addition to an upcoming illustrated hardcover version. The band's multimedia approach lends itself well to other comic book conventions around the country, with the band's next stop landing them as exhibitors at the Albuquerque Comicon in June. And the band's high aspirations don't stop there.
"I want to make this into a really dynamic project," Passamonte says. "And get a movie trilogy made based on it."