Yeah, Brion Gysin let the mice in over here, too.
I think when they first got into the cut ups, they went crazy experimenting, maybe overdid it a bit. As is normal with a new toy. By the time of Cities, the technique has matured. Cut up happens for a reason in the later books, only in contexts where it makes sense in relation to the characters and story. He's in full command of all his literary powers at this point. Using chance, not relying on it.
A lot of ideas from his older books reappear in their mature form in there, too. Cites, Place of Dead Roads and Western Lands were written over a ten year period from the early-to-mid seventies, I think. Long process. There's a book of his called the 'Book of Breeething,' that kind of serves as a companion piece. Fun little book with pictures. He mentions it in Cities, it's a fictional book, in the book. Worth checking out if you can find it. Actually, you can probably just find it on line, I imagine. I don't know, I'm not looking.
Another good one is Burroughs' Last Words. Can't remember if that's the exact title. Journal entries from the year before he died. Puts a lot of things in perspective, in his work and beyond. I get the feeling that they really thought they were on the front line of the intergalactic war in Paris, running around doing their electronic revolution voodoo. And maybe they were. But they lost the war. Or did they? Burroughs seems to think so.
I started reading at Place of Dead Roads this time. At the end, I got it in my head that the Kim we're reading is an impostor. Kim takes on the identity of Jerry, to the point where he's referred to as Jerry in the book for a bit. Undercover time travel ops, Johnson Intelligence. Time travel done really well in these books I think, better than most sci fi treatments of the concept. Before getting back to the shootout at the beginning he makes a few comments, about a guy that jumped out of the hindenburg and disappeared, things like that. After that Kim is back, not Jerry anymore. But this Kim says he has to go 'settle the score' with Mike Chase. Kim would never say that. He would say "settle the account."
So I had to read Western Lands again. Turns out... well, it isn't as simple as that, and it ends up not really mattering. But it was fun playing Sherlock Holmes for a while, I thought I was onto something big.
Went back and read Cities after, looking for clues, dusting for fingerprints. Nothing. Great book though, his best, I think. Although I read the last seventy-five pages by flipping through, reading about four words per page. Interesting, the words that jump into your eyes, almost like someone is trying to send you messages.
Haven't checked out the Jodorowsky comic books, I've been meaning to for years, same thing. I read that you were not impressed with Frank Herbert. I have a funny relationship with him. I actually see him and Burroughs as very similar, although polar opposites. Herbert is just so straight, Burroughs is sooo gay. They're both very much against things that the other stands for, right down to literary fundamentals of structure and function. I like letting them fight it out in my head.
I was reading some interview with Burroughs, when he was asked about sci fi, I found it interesting he mentioned that he likes Dune. I know he read a lot of sci fi, could've dropped a lot of other names, he didn't have to bring it up. I think that's probably Gysin's influence, though.
Burroughs clone theory is a lot like Herbert's. Techniques can be used so that the memories of the first life are recalled by the clone. I'm sure they're not the only two that came up with that of course, but there are a few other ideas of Burroughs' that I found Herbert-like. Although they're not coming to me off the top of my head. Little things.
edited to add: Ah Pook Was Here is another short story that provides metacontext for the Cities trilogy.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.