Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
Arthur C. Clarke died today, and I was reminded of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke wrote the novel, which was based on an earlier story of his, The Sentinel; both Clarke and Stanley Kubrick are credited for the screenplay of Kubrick's movie. Clarke, perhaps feeling like most of us, has said that he wasn't quite sure what Kubrick was up to in the movie's ending. I have a very clear memory of sitting in a movie theater and watching 2001 when I was 11 or 12 years old. I had thought that I was going to see a "science fiction" movie (you know, space ships, adventure, and stuff). I understand now that the movie I watched then was, indeed, a science fiction movie. At the time, though, it was all I could do simply to sit and be bombarded by the stunning images on the screen which, by the movie's end, left me feeling a bit shell-shocked. I don't mean this in a negative way at all. No. I had no idea what this movie was about and I couldn't give a coherent account of it's plot. I knew, though, that it was good. I'm still not sure I understand the movie, and I'm certainly not going to try to explain it here and now (although if you've got some time to kill, there's no shortage of attempts at explaining 2001; some are interesting, some are a bit silly). I'd recommend reading Clarke's novel to anyone who likes the movie but doesn't quite get what Kubrick is trying to express. Both the novel and the movie are concerned with themes of human evolution (with humanity being one step in a process), the dangers of technology, and the details of traveling in space. Clarke explains what Kubrick shows.