Kubrick's 2001: A Triple Allegory

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Wheat, Leonard F. Kubrick's '2001': A Triple Allegory. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow P, 2000.

Emphatically on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (film), with only minimal reference to Clarke's novel. The three allegories are "The Odysseus Allegory," "The Man-Machine Symbiosis Allegory," and "The Zarathustra Allegory." In the "Man-Machine" allegory, "The next species (after man) to evolve is humanoid machines, symbolized by Hal-Discovery. Hal […] is the spaceship's brain and central nervous system, a remarkably humanoid computer; Discovery is the suspiciously skeletal spaceship in whose skull-like head Hal is ensconced" (66 [although HAL's CPU is not in the section with artificial gravity—RDE]). In the Friedrich Nietzschean allegory, Hal-Discovery is God, made, as Nietzsche insists in Also Sprach Zarathustra, by man in the image of man. CAUTION: Triple Allegory is a provocative and often useful study but also an ingenious—which is not a compliment—and eccentric book. LFW uses little of Clarke's canon and misses the relevance for 2001 of Clarke's Childhood's End (1953) and other works showing Clarke's combinations of hard science and mysticism. LFW also had the opportunity to read but may miss the significance of Clarke's log for the making of 2001 in his Lost Worlds of 2001, and the Harvard Crimson's rev. of 2001 in J. Agel's The Making of Kubrick's 2001.

CAUTION: LFW missed or ignored Erlich's essay on 2001: "Strange Odyssey: From Dart to Ardrey to Kubrick and Clarke," Extrapolation 17 (1976): 118-24, and Erlich wrote this citation.


(RDE, 28/05/01)