I came across a great article in a well regarded online literary magazine that nicely ties together at least two of Anyworld’s most persistent obsessions (and throws in William S. Burroughs for good measure). Here’s the part that caught my attention:
Cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson (coined the term “cyberspace,” sadly remembered for the screenplay to Johnny Mnemonic) cites Steely Dan as one of his primary literary inspirations. Ironically, Steely Dan cite beat novelist William Burroughs (coined the term “heavy metal,” sadly remembered as the old guy in the Nike ads) as one of their primary inspirations. Becker and Fagen read Gibson. I wonder if Gibson reads Burroughs. Regardless, there is a lot of literature orbiting the Steely Dan nexus. And you thought it was just some guy not wanting Ricky to lose that number.
And I’d be remiss to omit the following observation:
“Any World” best expresses Steely Dan’s philosophy of place: Since the immediate world is too harsh, and the imagined world is too distant, any other world will do.
If I had my way
I would move to another lifetime
I’d quit my job
Ride the train through the misty nighttime
I’ll be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
And if the folks will have me
Then they’ll have me
Any world that I’m welcome to
Is better than the one I come from.