Rediscover: 2001

Fifty years ago, the world of science-fiction cinema reached dazzling new heights with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since the moment the monolith uplifted early man to an orchestral swell, then blasted off to the far-future via a bone toss, the genre has never been the same--with HAL's glowing menace and the trippy Star Child finale forever permeating pop culture. Though Kubrick directed and produced 2001, the screenplay was co-written with sci-fi superstar Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke and Kubrick also simultaneously wrote a novelized version of their story (though only Clarke's name appears as the author).

For those seeking more definitive answers to the film 2001's beautiful, intriguing, but sometimes opaque plot points, the novel version provides, and then some--2001 continues with a whole series of books: 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey. Clarke's original behind-the-scenes look at this dual-media franchise, The Lost Worlds of 2001, is currently out of print. However, on April 3, 2018, Simon & Schuster published Michael Benson's Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece. In 2016, Penguin Classics republished 2001: A Space Odyssey as part of its Penguin Galaxy series of sci-fi masterworks, which includes a new introduction by Neil Gaiman ($25, 9780143111573). --Tobias Mutter

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