Space Odyssey
Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, this is the definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, including the inside account of how director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke created this cinematic masterpiece.Regarded as a masterpiece today, 2001: A Space Odyssey received mixed reviews on its 1968 release. Despite the success of Dr. Strangelove, director Stanley Kubrick wasn’t yet recognized as a great filmmaker, and 2001 was radically innovative, with little dialogue and no strong central character. Although some leading critics slammed the film as incomprehensible and self-indulgent, the public lined up to see it. 2001’s resounding commercial success launched the genre of big-budget science fiction spectaculars. Such directors as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron have acknowledged its profound influence.Author Michael Benson explains how 2001 was made, telling the story primarily through the two people most responsible for the film, Kubrick and science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke. Benson interviewed Clarke many times, and has also spoken at length with Kubrick’s widow, Christiane; with visual effects supervisor Doug Trumbull; with Dan Richter, who played 2001’s leading man-ape; and many others.A colorful nonfiction narrative packed with memorable characters and remarkable incidents, Space Odyssey provides a 360-degree view of this extraordinary work, tracking the film from Kubrick and Clarke’s first meeting in New York in 1964 through its UK production from 1965-1968, during which some of the most complex sets ever made were merged with visual effects so innovative that they scarcely seem dated today. A concluding chapter examines the film’s legacy as it grew into it current justifiably exalted status.

Space Odyssey Details

TitleSpace Odyssey
Author
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherSimon Schuster
ISBN-139781501163937
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Culture, Film, Media Tie In, Movies, Science

Space Odyssey Review

  • Neil Coulter
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes when I hear about a new book, I impulsively go to the public library's website and put a hold on it; I worry that otherwise, I might forget all about it in the midst of my endless and ever-growing to-read list (which I probably would; though my impulsiveness really wreaks havoc on any sense of logic in my reading list). As a big fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, then, when I heard about Michael Benson's new book about the making of the film, I was excited to find that it was already in the Sometimes when I hear about a new book, I impulsively go to the public library's website and put a hold on it; I worry that otherwise, I might forget all about it in the midst of my endless and ever-growing to-read list (which I probably would; though my impulsiveness really wreaks havoc on any sense of logic in my reading list). As a big fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, then, when I heard about Michael Benson's new book about the making of the film, I was excited to find that it was already in the library's collection, and a copy was soon on its way to me.The book itself is beautiful. It's a hefty tome for being about just one film, and the dustjacket is a classic shot from the film, stunningly printed on metallic red paper, with embossed title and author text. Very nicely done!What's inside the book is fascinating. Benson limits his scope to only the time of making 2001. There are very few flashbacks to earlier Kubrick projects, and only a bit at the end about the ongoing critical and audience reception of 2001. I actually would have preferred more tangents back and forth through the lives of Kubrick and Clarke, but I respect Benson's control in this narrow focus. The largest sections of the book are about the development of the project, and the production. Other phases of the film pass by a little bit quicker, but everything is well-documented, supported by willing assistance from Kubrick's widow, Christiane, and many of his close collaborators on the film. This won't be the last book about Kubrick or 2001, but it's a very thorough and enjoyable one.As I read, in addition to being fascinated at the behind-the-scenes technical details, I was also, of course, intrigued by Kubrick himself. In some ways--his perfectionism, his self-doubt, his intense desire for something better than simply "average," his constant hunger for mastery of knowledge--I feel a resonance and kinship with him. As a fellow bibliophile, I also felt his pain when he packed up "books precious to the director, including ones he'd had since childhood" for shipment to the UK for 2001's filming--and then, "Within a month or so, it became clear that all of Kubrick's most precious books had been lost in transit" (104-105). In other ways, though, I found Kubrick difficult and frustrating. That's partly because of how Benson regards him throughout the book, too. Benson seems too often willing to overlook Kubrick's faults. Kubrick was, of course, a genius, but he was also occasionally cruel to his closest friends. "As Kubrick had predicted," Benson writes, "everything came out all right in the end" (435). I'm not satisfied with that ends-justifies-the-means flippancy. Sure, the film ended up being a masterpiece, and many of the people associated with Kubrick (and sometimes treated awfully by him) ended up doing very well because of their association with him. But surely we can still objectively say that Kubrick was sometimes completely wrong, and genius or not, it's inexcusable. (I'm not saying anything is unforgiveable, of course; but we're not led to believe that Kubrick apologized to those he'd hurt. Instead, it's often those people who took the initiative to go back to Kubrick and patch up broken friendships.)It's sad, reading through this book, to see how vital and vibrant Kubrick and Clarke's working friendship was in the early stages of 2001's development, but then to watch Clarke gradually disappear into the background as Kubrick ensures his own sole ownership and claim to the film. Again, at the end it's Clarke who modifies his perspective to graciously accommodate Kubrick. I would have preferred to see Kubrick returning such gestures with genuine concern.Space Odyssey includes a very few photos, but I would have loved to see many more. However, the book is a wonderful read for 2001 fans and film buffs. It's amazing to be granted such a window into the creative process of a masterpiece. Like any book about the film should, this one made me want to watch 2001 again immediately.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic story of the making of 2001. But more than just a behind the scenes story, this book explores the cultural influence if the movie on art, science and philosophy. I saw 2001 in the movie theater and it blew me away. But there was so much I didn’t know about Arthur C. Clarke and Kubrick and how the movie came to be that I was blown away again. Read it!
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  • False
    January 1, 1970
    I had to rate this book "really liked" based solely on the amount of research the author put into this subject. At times, it felt like drudgery reading it, much like Keir Dullea endlessly going around Space Station 5's jogging track (which Kubrick later cut.) Nonetheless, it is amazing that between Arthur Clark and Stanley Kubrick, and some very kind, liberal executives at MGM, this movie got made. I kept waiting for the financial hatchet to come down and cannot imagine such an undertaking today I had to rate this book "really liked" based solely on the amount of research the author put into this subject. At times, it felt like drudgery reading it, much like Keir Dullea endlessly going around Space Station 5's jogging track (which Kubrick later cut.) Nonetheless, it is amazing that between Arthur Clark and Stanley Kubrick, and some very kind, liberal executives at MGM, this movie got made. I kept waiting for the financial hatchet to come down and cannot imagine such an undertaking today when it's all about the bottom dollar, not art. You have to be a creative obsessive to make a work like this. For understanding that drive, most certainly read the book. In the end, I am most fascinated by Arthur Clarke and his own passions, hiding away in then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) with his boyfriends and projects. The final words of the book sum up his character quite nicely:"Arthur C. Clarke died in Columbo on March 19, 2008, of respiratory complications leading to heart failure. He left explicit instructions that no religious rituals of any kind should be performed at his funeral, but a few hours after his death, a gamma ray burst of unprecedented scale reached Earth from a distant galaxy. More than two millions times brighter than the most luminous supernova ever recorded, its energy had taken seven and a half billion years to arrive at the solar system--about half the age of the observable universe. Having traveled through space and time since long before our planet formed, for about thirty seconds this vast cosmic explosion became the most distant object ever seen from Earth with the naked eye. It was the kind of salute even a lifelong atheist might have appreciated." Eat "that," Kubrick.
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  • Joseph F Cowan
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing book.Having met Arthur C Clarke in the late 60's, not long after seeing 2001 for the umpteenth time, I looked forward to reading this book. What happened amazed me. The author presents events, discussing things the way they might have been, and then discussing the final scene or dialog. As each revelation unfolds I found myself recalling each scene vividly, intensely. It was like the film was playing as I read. The parsity of illustration was no bother, I remembered the film and my atten Amazing book.Having met Arthur C Clarke in the late 60's, not long after seeing 2001 for the umpteenth time, I looked forward to reading this book. What happened amazed me. The author presents events, discussing things the way they might have been, and then discussing the final scene or dialog. As each revelation unfolds I found myself recalling each scene vividly, intensely. It was like the film was playing as I read. The parsity of illustration was no bother, I remembered the film and my attendent awe. Great detail not previously annotated in other books. A wonderful history of a pivotal point in cinema.
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    I loved 2001: A Space Odyssey and enjoyed learning more about the creation of the film and book.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook.
  • Stephen Hughes
    January 1, 1970
    The best book on filmmaking and filmmakers I’ve ever read, and I’ve read quite a few.
  • R.
    January 1, 1970
    Compulsively readable and filled with both technical detail and human interest, the book conveys something of a paradox. So much of the film turns out to have been profoundly collaborative and at times surprisingly random, and yet the portrait of Kubrick at the helm shepherding this impossible thing through to completion is that of an indispensable individual. In Danny Boyle's film about Steve Jobs, Wozniak complains, "Someone else designed the box. So how come 10 times a day, I read 'Steve Jobs Compulsively readable and filled with both technical detail and human interest, the book conveys something of a paradox. So much of the film turns out to have been profoundly collaborative and at times surprisingly random, and yet the portrait of Kubrick at the helm shepherding this impossible thing through to completion is that of an indispensable individual. In Danny Boyle's film about Steve Jobs, Wozniak complains, "Someone else designed the box. So how come 10 times a day, I read 'Steve Jobs is a genius'? What do *you* do?" To which Jobs replies, "I play the orchestra." And that seems exactly right about Kubrick as well.
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  • Doctor Moss
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a big fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this book, published around the time of the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release, was a natural for me. I wanted to get some view inside the thinking that went into the plot and, especially the decisions about how much to explain and how much to leave mysterious.The thing I most love about the movie is that Kubrick and Clarke didn’t explain everything to us — how the monolith works, where it came from, how it got there, what really happened to Dave B I’m a big fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this book, published around the time of the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release, was a natural for me. I wanted to get some view inside the thinking that went into the plot and, especially the decisions about how much to explain and how much to leave mysterious.The thing I most love about the movie is that Kubrick and Clarke didn’t explain everything to us — how the monolith works, where it came from, how it got there, what really happened to Dave Bowman, what exactly a “Star Child” is, and what produced the problem with HAL. As the book’s chapter on the movie’s release shows, it was questions like those that mystified initial reviewers and left them panning the movie as incomprehensible. I think there is a challenge in the movie, one that Kubrick especially worked single-mindedly to pose, to make the movie’s watcher think, even to accept that there are unknowns and to experience awe at what we don’t know.As Benson tells the story, Kubrick had very little by way of a substantive idea for the movie when he and Clarke began to talk about it — he only wanted to make the proverbial “good science fiction movie.” Both he and Clarke agreed that it hadn’t been done yet, that there were some close calls but no winners (e.g., Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still). And Kubrick was very interested in the idea of aliens, and alien intelligence. Clarke of course was a veteran of such ideas, at least in print media. His book, Childhood’s End, was already a classic. And his experience steered Kubrick away from dead-ends and clichés. They started almost from scratch. Kubrick, at Clarke’s and others’ recommendations, read classics of science fiction, and ended up choosing as potential starting points a number of stories by Clarke. Through their discussions, those potentials winnowed themselves down to Clarke’s short story, The Sentinel. When they got started, even as production on the movie geared up, there were lots of blanks in the story. So much of the story was created as they went along — HAL’s “malfunction”, the fate of the crew members, the real role of the monolith (the idea of the monolith extended the original “crystal” of The Sentinel), the Star Child.As the story developed, and especially as Kubrick directed the movie itself, he and Clarke diverged. From Benson’s account, I’m convinced that Kubrick is almost solely responsible for the enigmatic character of the movie. Benson talks about the collaboration in left-brain/right-brain terms, with Clarke the rational, analytic left brain and Kubrick the feeling-centered, intuition-led right brain. The right brain won.The original plan for the movie included a narration, to be written by Clarke, that would have explained to the viewers much of what they were seeing. In fact, Clarke worked to almost the very end of production on this narration before Kubrick finally told him they would not use it at all. Kubrick wanted to appeal to the viewer’s senses and emotions more so than his intellect. Not everything would be explained, and so much more would be experienced than even could be explained. We learn a lot about Kubrick, and Clarke too, from Benson’s account. Kubrick was famously difficult to work with, and his deference to Clarke’s experience and achievements had strong, if not always well defined, limits. It was his movie, and the story it told was his story. In fact, Clarke’s contract did not include any share in the movie’s earnings, and Kubrick had seen to it that he would have final say not only on the movie’s content, but even on the book that would be published at the same time, written primarily (or even exclusively) by Clarke.Clarke turns out to be a different person than I thought he was. I always pictured him as a self-assured master of his realm, not as the somewhat hapless man Benson presents. Despite his success as one of the “big three” of science fiction, along with Asimov and Heinlein, he was not financially set. His personal relationships sapped his finances and skewed his judgment. Both he and his agent, Scott Meredith, were poorly equipped to negotiate with someone of Kubrick’s drive and ego. Clarke spent a substantial time during the movie’s generation and production in debt, partly as a result of the arrangements he made with Kubrick.Kubrick himself was a polite dictator, with an ego to match the ambitions of 2001. Benson describes the work of the special effects creators and crew, the actors, . . . all of whom had creative input to the story and its realization onscreen. Kubrick drove them all past their artistic and physical limits (with little public credit in the end). He was never satisfied when a shot met his expectations — the very experience of the shot would always inspire him to go farther, with a new idea or a new technical requirement. Benson’s account of the Dawn of Man sequence from the beginning of the movie (actually shot last) is a great story of escalating expectations and an almost crazed drive toward a goal that only became clear at the end of the process, if even then. At the same time, Kubrick was privately less supremely secure and confident than he appeared. His private remarks, recounted by his wife Christiane in Benson’s book, echo some of the same dramatic self-doubt you hear in Eleanor Coppola’s documentary about her husband’s making of Apocalypse Now. Kubrick would confesss, “I don’t know what I’m doing, I have no idea!” “Does that sound right? No. It sounds really pompous! Stupid!”Maybe like all of us, Kubrick was driven as much by self-doubt as self-confidence.There’s much more to Benson’s book — accounts of how special effects were technically created, the ingenious contributions of people like Doug Trumbull and Dan Richter (the lead man-ape, Moonwatcher), and many others. After reading the book, I’m now anxious to watch the movie and see all the things I didn’t appreciate before, even some plot elements I hadn’t picked up.Maybe that’s the best thing I can say about the book, that it deepens my appreciation of what I already liked about the movie, and I think it’s going to make me see even more than I saw before. If I have any criticism, it’s that the book isn’t a smooth story. It bumps and rattles around — maybe that’s as much a reflection of Kubrick’s way of making a movie as it is of Benson’s talent as a storyteller.
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  • Emilio III
    January 1, 1970
    When I was in my early twenties, I had never read a book solely for enjoyment. That changed after I met my wife. Shortly after we were married, she gave me the novel The Shining by Steven King to read. The next book she gave me was The Firm by John Grisham. I enjoyed reading both books. So, I decided to go to the bookstore to see if I could find something on my own. I picked Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Oddyesy. I have been an avid reader ever since. It is one of only a handful of books that When I was in my early twenties, I had never read a book solely for enjoyment. That changed after I met my wife. Shortly after we were married, she gave me the novel The Shining by Steven King to read. The next book she gave me was The Firm by John Grisham. I enjoyed reading both books. So, I decided to go to the bookstore to see if I could find something on my own. I picked Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Oddyesy. I have been an avid reader ever since. It is one of only a handful of books that I have read more than once. I read it again this month in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the film. It's still a great book. The film is another matter.I had always thought that the book was a novelization of the screenplay. In the excellent book Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece, I learned that the book came before the screenplay, which was written by Stanley Kubrick. I found the behind the scenes material an interesting read. The book looks at the genesis of the story, with Stanley Kubrick seeking out Arthur C. Clarke for his help in making an original science fiction movie. The book then delves into the collaboration of the two men as well as a thorough examination of how the many special effects in the film were achieved.One observation I came away with after reading author Michael Benson's book was how Stanley Kubrick could waste thousands of dollars on a set piece or a special effect that didn't pan out but would balk anytime someone working for him asked for a raise. I came away thinking that Stanley bought into the whole "genius director" moniker that some believed him to be.After reading the details on the making of the film, I had to view it again with my new perspective. Did I come away thinking that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece? Sorry, this film is not even close to being a masterpiece. Here are just a few reasons why. The film is two hours and twenty-eight minutes long. Of that running time, there are only forty minutes of dialogue. And much of that dialogue is wasted. There are another five minutes of nothing but a black screen and a soundtrack. Every scene moves at a glacial pace. One of the worst scenes in the film is when Dr. Heywood Floyd is speaking in a conference room. Stanley is so impressed with his set that he spends way too long with the entire conference room in frame. You can barely see poor old Floyd in the back of the room. Then, instead of using that scene to talk about the strange discovery found on the moon, he rambles on about a cover-up story. What cover-up story, Stanley? You haven't explained anything. One thing I learned in screenwriting classes is that every scene needs to serve one of two purposes: the scene needs to either advance the story or provide character insight. Many of the scenes in 2001 do not accomplish either goal.Much of 2001 is pretentious and self-indulgent. Stanley Kubrick ruined Steven King's The Shining. He is responsible for one of the worst movies ever made – Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick had one skill – he knew how to operate a camera. He was not a writer. He couldn't tell a coherent story if his life depended on it. Want another example of a supposed genius director given free reign on writing and directing a film, look no further than Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.I will say that the story that Stanley and Arthur C. Clarke came up with was imaginative. The book remains one of my all-time favorites. And some of the special effects in the film were revolutionary. But here again, Stanley took all of the credit. Making any movie is a collaboration. Stanley Kubrick was no genius director. If he didn't have a great screenplay to work with, he couldn't come up with an original idea. That's just my opinion. Plenty of people still think that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece. So too Dunkirk.
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  • Kacey
    January 1, 1970
    I honestly think I was too young the first time I saw this movie. The author says he was six when he saw it which... if he got anything out of it at six, good on him. I think I was a teenager and the parts with the two astronauts were the only parts I understood and liked at the time. I know if I went back and saw it now I would have a much deeper appreciation for it. And reading about it in this book really makes me want to revisit the film. So if nothing else, this book accomplished that.There I honestly think I was too young the first time I saw this movie. The author says he was six when he saw it which... if he got anything out of it at six, good on him. I think I was a teenager and the parts with the two astronauts were the only parts I understood and liked at the time. I know if I went back and saw it now I would have a much deeper appreciation for it. And reading about it in this book really makes me want to revisit the film. So if nothing else, this book accomplished that.There is definite love and respect put into this book. The guy did some meticulous research and it shows in the text. But... it kind of doesn't at the same time, because he blows past details that I would've found interesting and actually gets some details wrong. Literally all it takes is a Google search to show you that the movie was not nominated for Best Picture. And honestly when you show so much devotion into describing the details of making this film, making an easily-checked fact like that wrong just looks odd.For me, the little details of the story were what I enjoyed most. My favorite chapter was the one detailing the production, and talking about how Kubrick would tote around a heavy camera himself and take still shots. I loved learning about the two actors and the evolution of HAL, and how they decided to do the monolith and other iconic moments in the movie. Loved the detail about the centrifuge set piece and the moment of Kubrick working with his daughter. It's very cool how Kubrick and Clarke were determined to be accurate, enough that NASA got involved, and to make a "good" sci-fi movie. And I loved how organic the whole process seemed, how so much of it was proposed as they were still working on it and it was a creative collaboration of director, crew and actors.Which isn't to say that the rest isn't interesting. How the two got connected and started working together was fascinating, too. But I guess since I am a theater person, all the stuff about the production just fascinated me more because it was my realm of interest and experience. So yes, while I still enjoyed learning about all the other details, I wasn't glued to the pages like I was when reading the chapter about the production.But I honestly think if you have any interest in this at all, you will find something to enjoy in the book. You may be like me and only find pieces, but I feel like that was my impression of the movie the first time. And since I still loved those pieces, I came away pretty satisfied as a whole.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I have found that well executed "making of [move title]" books like this enjoyable. This one is a bit long at over 400 pages, but drew me in and kept my attention. I am old enough that I went to see 2001 as a young teenager. In fact, I saw it at the Uptown Theater in Washington DC, where it was first shown. As a teenager, Clarke was one of several science fiction authors whose novels I purchased with money I earned and read over and over. 2001 was significant as the only realization in film of t I have found that well executed "making of [move title]" books like this enjoyable. This one is a bit long at over 400 pages, but drew me in and kept my attention. I am old enough that I went to see 2001 as a young teenager. In fact, I saw it at the Uptown Theater in Washington DC, where it was first shown. As a teenager, Clarke was one of several science fiction authors whose novels I purchased with money I earned and read over and over. 2001 was significant as the only realization in film of those novels by any of those authors. However for me, as a naive teen, it was really three movies and I was only entranced by the moon visit and the subsequent journey of the Discovery to Jupiter. The moonwatcher sequence at the start was simply something interesting to get past and the stargate and hotel room sequences at the end something I suspected had a message or messages that I could live without. Even so, I consider myself a fan of the 2001 movie, and I very much like Kubrick's earlier Dr. Strangelove, so those connections attracted possible interest in reading this.The book is extremely detailed about the production of the movie, and I don't know how much interest much of that would have for someone who wasn't fairly familiar with the film - but then that is probably true of all these sorts of books.The book is also to a large degree about Kubrick's leadership style and how he chose to relate to others in order to achieve his vision for the move, which took far longer and far more money than expected. One aspect that I didn't expect was that the book serves as an interesting example of how a collective result (notwithstanding Kubrick's lead role) can develop almost serendipitously as it is being produced when the work takes place over a long time. I suppose that is true for many movies, but here the story line and key aspects of the initial moonwatcher segment, for example, were not well developed until after the rest of the movie had been filmed. The techniques for supporting the convincing portrayal of proto-humans were developed only quite late.I'm fairly sure this book isn't for everyone, but as an example of this kind of book, this is a really good one.
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  • Sam Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    As soon as I finished this, I asked my wife, "When's the last time you finished a book and said, This is one of the best books I've ever read? This is one of them: one of the best books about artistic creation ever written and I'm including A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in that list. In 450 pages, there's not a single extraneous sentence and I've never read anything that suggests Kubrick's method and character in as balanced and believable a fashion. He's always portrayed as the Obsess As soon as I finished this, I asked my wife, "When's the last time you finished a book and said, This is one of the best books I've ever read? This is one of them: one of the best books about artistic creation ever written and I'm including A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in that list. In 450 pages, there's not a single extraneous sentence and I've never read anything that suggests Kubrick's method and character in as balanced and believable a fashion. He's always portrayed as the Obsessed Maniac or the Reclusive Genius or the Big Jerk--but here, he's an incredibly intelligent person struggling to articulate an idea. Benson is great on everything: Kubrick and Clarke's relationship, special effects, the story, the release, the impact--there's not a single aspect that Benson has overlooked. I learned so much from this--and I'm a 2001 know-it-all. If you love 2001, buy this book and begin reading it immediately. I wish Congress could compel Benson to write another one on any other of Kubrick's films. I know I'm being hyperbolic, but the book is that good.
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  • jaydro
    January 1, 1970
    I was hoping for the definitive book on the making of "2001," and while this was good and interesting, it was not that book. It reads more like a collection of memoir highlights from others involved, and while the research seems to have been exhaustive, various bits of information I had read in other books (which are listed as sources here) are left out, which makes one wonder if they were incorrect or just victims of editing. It is highly readable, though there were times when I felt disoriente I was hoping for the definitive book on the making of "2001," and while this was good and interesting, it was not that book. It reads more like a collection of memoir highlights from others involved, and while the research seems to have been exhaustive, various bits of information I had read in other books (which are listed as sources here) are left out, which makes one wonder if they were incorrect or just victims of editing. It is highly readable, though there were times when I felt disoriented by jumping months forward and backwards in an otherwise straight chronological telling of the story. There were also small things which were glossed over so much that you wonder if the author understood them or if it was done to make things easier for the reader (I'm thinking in particular of the background information on Cinerama, but there were a few other instances). I'm always troubled by this sort of thing because I then wonder where this may crop up in areas where I am not very knowledgeable.So to summarize: I had really high expectations for this book, and they were not met; however, it is one of the best books on the subject I have ever read.
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  • Paul Franco
    January 1, 1970
    Yep, yet another written documentary on the movie.For someone who’s a big fan of Homer, it never came close to occurring to me that this movie might be right out of The Odyssey as much as Ulysses is; the author really enjoyed making comparisons to that one. Yes, I know it’s in the title, but that wasn’t enough to make it obvious.Quite a bit of writer Arthur C. Clarke’s personal life is in the section of how he and Kubrick eventually met. Not that I ever cared about the man’s personal life, but t Yep, yet another written documentary on the movie.For someone who’s a big fan of Homer, it never came close to occurring to me that this movie might be right out of The Odyssey as much as Ulysses is; the author really enjoyed making comparisons to that one. Yes, I know it’s in the title, but that wasn’t enough to make it obvious.Quite a bit of writer Arthur C. Clarke’s personal life is in the section of how he and Kubrick eventually met. Not that I ever cared about the man’s personal life, but to find out he was gay as well as having financial problems paying off his beard adds a lot of dimension to him.Truthfully, this is a bit of a slog. Took me forever to get though, yet I’m finding it hard to think of something to say about it. It’s definitely meticulously researched, with a lot of interesting stories, but also a lot that weren’t. And the last fifth is just notes.Like the movie, it could be cut down quite a bit.
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  • John Kestner
    January 1, 1970
    Stanley Kubrick was my favorite filmmaker, and 2001: A Space Odyssey is still my favorite sci-fi film of all-time, so I'm the perfect audience for a book chronicling the creation and production of that film that came out fifty years ago last month. The complicated relationship between Kubrick and Clarke, the challenges of researching space flight and then creating believable special effects, and the development of the plot--rewriting and changing scenes after sets were built!--reveal that 2001 w Stanley Kubrick was my favorite filmmaker, and 2001: A Space Odyssey is still my favorite sci-fi film of all-time, so I'm the perfect audience for a book chronicling the creation and production of that film that came out fifty years ago last month. The complicated relationship between Kubrick and Clarke, the challenges of researching space flight and then creating believable special effects, and the development of the plot--rewriting and changing scenes after sets were built!--reveal that 2001 was the world's biggest art film. Millions and millions of dollars poured into a studio picture produced on the whim and control of a single director. It not only paid off, but changed the way science fiction films were made, leading to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars, etc.
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  • Taffy
    January 1, 1970
    Opening line:"The twentieth century produced two great latter-day iterations of Homer's Odyssey."This book if full of WOW. If you want to know the ins-and-outs of Stanley Kubrick's movie Space Odyssey, this book is the one you want to read. Holy detail, Batman! This book is full of all the background you might, and might not, want to know. How Clarke and Kubrick met, what they were doing when they met, how they collaborated, which was first, the ape or the monolith, ALL technical details you eve Opening line:"The twentieth century produced two great latter-day iterations of Homer's Odyssey."This book if full of WOW. If you want to know the ins-and-outs of Stanley Kubrick's movie Space Odyssey, this book is the one you want to read. Holy detail, Batman! This book is full of all the background you might, and might not, want to know. How Clarke and Kubrick met, what they were doing when they met, how they collaborated, which was first, the ape or the monolith, ALL technical details you ever wanted to know, plus pictures! This book is for those who want to know more about Kubrick and the movie. Everything you want to know. Every. Thing. (over 66 swear words)Thanks to netgalley for the early read.
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  • William
    January 1, 1970
    OK--disclaimer: I'm a huge "2001" fan so I thought I knew a lot about the making of the movie. Thus book provided much background and insight into the creative, business and technical journey it took to make "2001". Long and a bit slow at times, but well worth it. The relationship between Kubrick and Clarke stands out as an area that I had no idea how one-sided it became and how little money Clarke received directly for his role in the film (he made it up in book rights though). Especially inter OK--disclaimer: I'm a huge "2001" fan so I thought I knew a lot about the making of the movie. Thus book provided much background and insight into the creative, business and technical journey it took to make "2001". Long and a bit slow at times, but well worth it. The relationship between Kubrick and Clarke stands out as an area that I had no idea how one-sided it became and how little money Clarke received directly for his role in the film (he made it up in book rights though). Especially interesting is the development of the "Dawn of Man" sequence--I won't spoil it but I'm not sure a director today could pull it off--much less the entirety of film experience that is 2001: A Space Oddeysey.
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  • Robert Monk
    January 1, 1970
    A very entertaining story about the making of 2001, mostly focusing on the interaction of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. Which addresses one of the big questions that many have: how much did Clarke actually have to do with the whole thing? The answer appears to be: quite a bit. Kubrick apparently got a lot from one of the big names in science fiction. Indeed, it makes Kubrick out to be a pretty benign dictator (if one who was pretty loathe to share on-screen credit), happy to take good id A very entertaining story about the making of 2001, mostly focusing on the interaction of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. Which addresses one of the big questions that many have: how much did Clarke actually have to do with the whole thing? The answer appears to be: quite a bit. Kubrick apparently got a lot from one of the big names in science fiction. Indeed, it makes Kubrick out to be a pretty benign dictator (if one who was pretty loathe to share on-screen credit), happy to take good ideas from anyone, as long as they advanced what he wanted to do. A word of warning: there's a lot in here about how they made those cool effects in the third act of the movie. Once you've read 'em, it's hard to un-see the technique.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    You wanna know about 2001 Space Odyssey? All the background that went into the movie? All the thoughts & ideas? Then read this book. I was amazed at all the info that you got from this book. The movie was amazing but after reading this book it makes you appreciate the movie so much more.This is a non-fiction book, so I am quite honestly not a reader of non-fiction so my review is not as in depth as it would be for a fiction book. I rarely read non-fiction so I apologize for the lack of depth You wanna know about 2001 Space Odyssey? All the background that went into the movie? All the thoughts & ideas? Then read this book. I was amazed at all the info that you got from this book. The movie was amazing but after reading this book it makes you appreciate the movie so much more.This is a non-fiction book, so I am quite honestly not a reader of non-fiction so my review is not as in depth as it would be for a fiction book. I rarely read non-fiction so I apologize for the lack of depth to my review.
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  • Hugh F B Howell
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn't put it down As an ardent 2001 A Space Odyssey fan, I have always wondered how it was done. Now I know and will watch the film with renewed awe. Michael Benson tells the story of how the project came about, and the people who lived it, with great empathy. Celebrating 50 years since the film's release, Benson has done an excellent job.
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  • Brady Caverly
    January 1, 1970
    While it certainly betrays the author's promise, in the forward, that it is "no hagiography," after the first chapters, I could literally not put it down. Found myself anxious for an opportunity to get back to it whenever I was away and finished it in a matter of days.If you are a fan of the film this book is absolutely FASCINATING!
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  • Christopher Hellstrom
    January 1, 1970
    Michael Benson did a good job chronicling the making of this film and the subsequent reactions over the years. I like the way he compares 2001 to James Joyce's Ulysses at the start as they both allude to Homer's epic and ambitiously explore what it meant to be alive in the 20th century.
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  • William
    January 1, 1970
    I must admit to having a preternatural love of this film and would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during each step of its creation. Mike Benson has done an amazing job at giving me that experience and I am grateful.
  • Timothy Langhorst
    January 1, 1970
    So I was one of the teenagers who loved 2001 when it first came out. The vision for the future was incredible. The visual impact was stunning. So the details in this book about how the movie was made, and the various personalities that brought it all together, were fascinating to me.
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  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    Wouldn't you know it, now I really want to rewatch 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • John Day
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant book. Excellent story of all aspects of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Eric Bottorff
    January 1, 1970
    If you love *2001: A Space Odyssey*, you need to read this book--you'll come away even more impressed with its technical and artistic accomplishments.
  • Rob
    January 1, 1970
    Essential for any fan of the film.
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