The story is said to have been inspired by a painting by Roger Dean, the iconic, surrealist artist of the prog rock world.
Jon Anderson was the frontman for the band Yes, best known for ... well, you probably wouldn't recognize the titles unless you were a Yes geek. But take my word for it, "Sibereian Khatru" is a great song, and no, I don't know what the title means either.
"Olias of Sunhillow" was released on July 3, 1976. Of course that was before CDs, and an album was a real album! "Olias" included a lavishly illustrated lyric sheet and storybook. But the music ... oh, the music! This was the music that kept me going all through my difficult teen years. It was my favorite music to get stoned to! But even without the benefit of psychedelics it was (and is) a mind-altering experience. It helped me to keep faith in spirit, transcendence, beauty, love.
And what's this? A SEQUEL?
Jon Anderson has been recently working on a sequel of the album, to be titled “Songs of Zamran: The Son of Olias”. Anderson said in a December 2005 interview with Anil Prasad of Innerviews: “I’ve written the story, the concept, I’m working on the music and it’s just a slow process and it’ll take as long as it takes, but technically, the ammunition is coming through the MIDI guitar plus some of the modern electronic stuff.”
The sequel is apparently divided in six different episodes, for which Jon Anderson has also been working with several animators to take the project to a visual scale. The new work, which will feature Anderson playing all the instruments again, is supposed to be released by 2008.