2001: A Space Odyssey

By Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clark

Introductory Note on the Film and the Novel

This study guide focuses upon not only the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, but the equally prominent - and many would argue more significant - film of that name in which Clarke worked with director Stanley Kubrick to create a technically astounding and still extremely effective and influential space epic. The film and novel grew during the same period in the mid-1960s from the same conceptual seed (see A Question of Authorship) and neither can truly be said to be the original. Clarke and Kubrick's visions were by no means identical, and the divergences between their 2001s are extremely enlightening, in terms of plot variation and the conclusions they come to (or resist in Kubrick's case). Therefore, this guide refers not only to the novel but to the screenplay 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, and to the film directed by Stanley Kubrick. Details specific to the latter are to be found in square brackets in the plot synopsis.