Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rush & I

Thanks to RUSH for kind permission to use the lyrics to 2112 in "I".

It was the album "2112" that first introduced me to Ayn Rand in my early teens, via the reference in the album's liner notes to the genius of the great Objectivist philosopher. So it is wholly appropriate that it comes around now to the inclusion of several excerpts and references to that seminal prog-rock record in my sequel to Ayn Rand's Anthem, on which (at least in part) 2112 was based.

While the ending of the musical version of the story was problematic at best, being fraught with nihilistic pessimism and leaving many questions unanswered (one might imagine Rush penning a sequel to 2112 in which the protagonist emerges from death into a Hemispheres-like realm of continued existence) - not to mention its inherent elements of mysticism being entirely opposed to Rand's rational outlook - Anthem itself ends on a note of hopeful optimism, albeit one that is left unsettled, with the world still fully ensnared in the throes of totalitarian collectivism. Therefore, neither version of the tale felt entirely conclusive.

It was my intention in writing "I", therefore, to provide a more suitable ending with a sense of closure. After all, the idea that a single man could overthrow an entire world government begged many questions of its own. How does one free a people who do not even know they are enslaved? What means and methods does he use to break those chains? What is their response, and how does the World Council react? Surely they would not sit idly by while one by one the unhappy citizens depart for greener pastures, ala Atlas Shrugged? Does the world devolve into a fourth war of widespread violence and fire? Or is it something more clandestine and subversive in nature?

These are the questions I sought to answer when setting out to develop the story of Anthem (and 2112 by extrapolation) further. While the specific details of 2112 are distinct from Anthem, the story arc and structure are much the same, and consequently I found myself referring to (and quite often listening to) the album again and again for inspiration, even though the characters and events of I are those of Anthem - that is, discovery of electricity and light rather than music. Yet many of the lyrics suited so well that I found I wanted to include a few to bring the whole full circle, as it were. 

Consequently, I sought - and ultimately received - permission from Rush's music publishers to do so. Thus, you will find three snippets of lyrics and a handful of subtle references to 2112 scattered throughout I, some more and some less obvious than others. I wish to thank the band (and Neil Peart as lyricist specifically) for kind permission to use their work. I can only hope I did them justice.

(Incidentally, the lyrics in the meme above are taken from The Fountain of Lamneth, Part VI, from the Caress of Steel album, not 2112, but are equally apropos.)