I'm a sci-fi nerd.

My favorite book in the whole world is the late Frank Herbert's "Dune."

I'm also a fantasy nerd.

I just finished rereading all of the late Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series and am waiting with baited breath for the next book, which is being written by Utahn Brandon Sanderson. And I'm also looking forward to the new Christopher Paolini book "Brisingr."

But I do have reservations of reading any of the new "Dune" books written by Herbert's son Brian.

I don't know. I just do.

Anyway, with that said, I love music that deals with science fiction and fantasy. I dig music from Rush's "2112" to Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater" and all the "Lord of the Rings" music by New Age and contemporary composers.

The other day a CD found its way to my desk that grabbed my attention: "A Traveler's Guide to Mars," by composer Ian Tecee.

For those who aren't familiar with Tecee (pronounced T-C), he emerged on the scene in 1984 with a recording called "Io," which, of course, is one of Jupiter's moons.

One of the reasons his latest project captured my attention is the title is reminiscent of the late Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," and also brought to mind Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles."

So, the day I got it, I put it in my car stereo and drove to the Red Planet — er, my orange-brick home.

The 14 tracks on "A Traveler's Guide to Mars," Tecee's fourth album, are synthesizer heavy and grand.

Some works such as "The Wooden Prince" (the Bartok piece arranged by Tecee) and "Dust Red Sky" are vast and airy. Others, such as "Passport" and "Space Tourist Mars," lean to the contemporary jazz feel like that of Tangerine Dream's "Mars Polaris." Furthermore, the vocal delivery on "It's Time to Go Back, Part 2," brings to mind another spacey musical group called Pink Floyd.

However, the sequencing and textures of each of the tracks complement each other like the music of a movie. And it so happens that some of the music on this CD is the soundtrack to the planetarium production of the same name, which has been seen at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. The idea for the movie came from the book written by W.K. Hartmann, who first contacted Tecee about doing the music.

Along with the music is the extensive liner notes written by Tecee, explaining his long, strange trip into his musical of portrait of Mars.

Now all I'm waiting for is an update to Robert Berry's 2001 CD "A Soundtrack for the 'Wheel of Time."'


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