2001: A Space Odyssey

“A science-fiction novel (1968, from his own screenplay) by Arthur C. Clarke (b. 1917). While the novel demonstrates Clarke’s ability to extrapolate from known data, it also represents a philosophical quest for the meaning of life and an investigation into the evolutionary process. 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) is a sequel; it was followed by 3001: the Final Odyssey (1997). The film version (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick, was a masterly blend of technical wizardry and obscure symbolism, criticized by some for its tedium but praised by others for its moments of striking imagery. The music was by various composers, but most memorable of all was the ‘Sunrise’ opening of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra (1896). The film acquired a cult status as a vision of the technological future, even if space exploration had not advanced nearly as far in reality by 2001. It inspired a sequel (1984) directed by Peter Hyams under the title 2010, but fans of the original movie were not impressed and gave it the alternative title Ten Past Eight.

David Bowie’s song ‘A Space Oddity‘ plays none too subtly on Clarke’s title.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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