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Space Odyssey by Michael Benson 

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2001: A Space Odyssey Book

Michael Benson’s book on 2001: A Space Odyssey provides an exhilarating, and finely detailed chronology of the lengthy production process of the film that stretched from director Stanley Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke’s initial meetings in 1964 New York through the film’s complicated production in the UK from 1965-1968.

Using first-person interview transcripts with Clarke, Kubrick’s widow, Christiane; visual effects supervisor Doug Trumbull, Dan Richter, who played 2001’s leading man-ape; and many others, Benson paints a portrait of Kubrick and Clarke’s original vision to creating some of the most complex sets ever made and visual effects that have aged gracefully.

As the passages surrounding the film’s production is interesting, what instantly captured my attention was when the film was finally released in April 1968 following a more than two-year production, 2001 was widely panned, which destroyed Kubrick. And despite 2001 retroactively being hailed as an innovative, thought-provoking film, it was criticized for its little dialogue and no strong central character. In addition, critics slammed the film as incomprehensible and lambasted Kubrick for being self-indulgent.

If you call yourself a movie fan, you need to read this book.

Available at Simon & Schuster | $30

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