“The truth, as always, will be far stranger.”1

In my paper, I will do a comparative analysis of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Stanley Kubrick’s film with the same title. I will scrutinize and question the implications of the representations of intelligent beings, such as the “black monolith,” “HAL 9000,” and the transcended civilization in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I will organize my argument based on Bülent Somay’s reformulation of Darko Suvin’s matrix of naturalistic and estranged fiction. I will draw from Sigmund Freud’s theory of the “uncanny” [Unheimlich], Jacques Lacan’s triune Orders of the Borromean knot, and Bertolt Brecht’s “estrangement effect” [Verfremdungseffekt] for my intertextual reading. For the conclusion, I aim to question the ideologies within which these texts were formed as well as how these texts attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) to represent and reveal these ideologies from within.

In his essay, The Fantastic and the Mimetic, Bülent Somay redefines the concepts of Erich Auerbach’s mimesis (Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature) and Tzvetan Todorov’s fantastic (The Fantastic) through psychoanalytic intervention.2 Somay first distinguishes between the mimetic and the fantastic as modes of art, and highlights the formal and narrative variances and overlaps between these two faces of the same representative entity. Then, Somay redefines these intertwined terms via Lacanian orders of “The Real,” “The Symbolic,” and “The Imaginary”:

…the mimetic, the representation of reality (in Auerbach’s terms) is merely a re-representation, a representation of something already symbolized.

The fantastic is always the (attempted) representation of the Real, that which is excluded from the Symbolic Order, although always utilizing elements from it, from what we call external (or objective) reality. Since this “representation” is only an attempt and always falls back on the already-symbolized in order to be comprehensible (otherwise it would have been merely psychotic), it occupies the middle-ground between the Real and the Symbolic and positions itself within the Imaginary.3

Moreover, Somay rereads Darko Suvin’s division of naturalistic and estranged fiction vis-à-vis the mimetic and the fantastic. Subsequently, he links the fantastic with Suvin’s estranged, or more correctly “estranging” fiction, as well as Bertolt Brecht’s “estrangement effect” [Verfremdungseffekt]. According to Somay’s characterization, “estrangement” is the desired effect on the reader/spectator achieved by the intervention of a fantastic source that removes a thing, person, or action from its symbolic context in order to shed a new light onto the familiar.4 Furthermore, Somay formulates the estranging fantastic as a double self-alienation: First, the fantastic estranges the familiar by turning it into the “uncanny” (Unheimlich as Sigmund Freud inscribes5), and then brings this strange and alien thing back from the Real through the Imaginary into the Symbolic with a new and disconcerting connotation. Consequently, this new reality is not the same as the previous one, but a reality from which the reader/spectator is estranged.6

Lastly, Somay draws from Suvin’s matrix to formulate his own:

Fantastic Homecoming - Matrix
Fig. 1: Somay, The View from the Masthead, 21.

Based on this schema, the modes of the mimetic and the fantastic are able to serve two distinct and opposing purposes: a text can estrange and it can also domesticate. Therefore, in the case of the fantastic, if the quasi-representation of the unexplainable Real is brought back to the already-existing Symbolic realm in order to be tamed by giving it a “reasonable explanation,” the fantastic will serve a domesticating purpose.

In my paper, I aim to examine and situate both Arthur C. Clarke’s and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey within Bülent Somay’s categorizations of the fantastic. I will highlight how each of these science-fiction narratives deals with their uncanny entities. Then, I will question the implications of their representations, and whether they are domesticating or estranging.

An award-winning science and science-fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke began writing the novel of 2001: Space Odyssey in 1964, parallel to his collaboration with film director Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay version. The book was published shortly after the release of the movie in 1968. Like the film version, Clarke’s novel narrates the fictional evolution of hominid intelligence vis-à-vis technology through the intervention of an unknown, extraterrestrial entity. At the beginning, the novel illustrates a realistic Darwinian “survival of the fittest” scenario, in which a colony of primates, led by their alpha male, Moon-Watcher, struggle to stay alive in a desolate and dangerous environment occupied by their rival group of primates competing for limited food as well as their common nemesis, the leopard. The dire conditions of the unremitting famine and the prevailing threat of the leopard over the survival of the primate’s colony are intervened by the appearance of an unforeseen object of unknown origin. This fantastic intervention, or rather the intervention of the fantastic, not only initiates the science-fiction narrative by distancing it from the Darwinian “realism,” but also foreshadows the many motifs of estrangement in the novel.

At the beginning, Clarke’s novel narrates the “New Rock” from a third person perspective and through Moon-Watcher’s relation to it.

It was a rectangular slab, three times his height but narrow enough to span with his arms, and it was made of some completely transparent material; indeed, it was not easy to see except when the rising sun glinted on its edges. As Moon-Watcher had never encountered ice, or even crystal-clear water, there were no natural objects to which he could compare this apparition.7

This unnatural or supernatural quality of the apparition prevents Moon-Watcher from comprehending it. Presently, the reader is positioned along with Moon-Watcher in the face of this awe-inspiring spectacle. Soon after its manifestation, the black monolith emanates a hardly audible, yet pulsing sound that hypnotizes the man-apes and gathers them around itself. As the surrounding tribe becomes somnambulists, the reader is distanced to an observer status with an epistemologically unrestricted view. “…[T]he man-apes watched, mesmerized captives of the shining crystal. They could never guess that their minds were being probed, their bodies mapped, their reactions studied, their potentials evaluated.”8 Yet, the reader does; the novel lets the reader in on the New Rock’s function as the reader “watches” its experiments on and transformation of Moon-Watcher.

The bifurcation of awareness between the “hypnotized ape” and the “human reader” creates ambivalence. First, the mystery of the monolith estranges the reader alongside the apes. Then, the novel acquaints the reader with the monolith; the reader studies the operations of the black monolith just as it studies the tribe, and witnesses how Moon-Watcher is presented with visions and fantasies. After “seeing” a more evolved family group, Moon-Watcher “felt the first faint twinges of a new and potent emotion. It was a vague and diffuse sense of envy—of dissatisfaction with his life. He had no idea of its cause, still less of its cure; but discontent had come into his soul, and he had taken one small step towards humanity.”9 The subtle shift of perspective takes the first step to familiarize the reader with the unfamiliar. Furthermore, analogous to the black monolith that induces abilities and desires in the primates to advance their evolution, the novel instills a sense of familiarity in the reader with the effects of the black monolith, and advances our phenomenological and epistemological evolution within the narrative.

Compared to the novel, Kubrick’s account of the black monolith, in the film, in relation to the spectator’s heuristic is more estranging. Whereas the novel reveals that the monolith is a programmed sentinel and a hypnosis apparatus, the film simply presents its presence. The vagueness and lack of interaction render the film’s monolith more uncanny than the book’s. Clarke’s exposition helps the reader comprehend the mysterious entity; however, by doing so, the book partially domesticates the inexplicable nature and the meaning of the monolith. Conversely, in the film, the spectator is situated on the same epistemological plane of the primates, incapable of comprehending this mute, inhuman, nameless, and foreign thing.

Fantastic Homecoming - Apes
Fig. 2: Apes greet the thing. Stanley Kubrick, 2001: Space Odyssey, 1968.

At the end of the first section of Clarke’s 2001 (titled “Primeval Night”), the evolution of Man is described as a mechanism of dialectical reproduction. With the advent of the black monolith, the bone, a remainder and reminder of death, was transformed into a tool for the primates, whose bodies, then, were transformed and produced the tools: “The toolmakers had been remade by their own tools.”10 And, the ultimate tool was language, which aided Man to win over Time. Yet, what happens when the very essence and authority of that tool is challenged? Before I can answer, I need to fast-forward more than three million years ahead, just as Kubrick does when he omits time via ellipsis by throwing a bone to the sky and transitioning to a spaceship.

Fig. 3: The bone transforms into a starship. Poster artwork by Silver Ferox Design.

The second part of 2001 reveals Earth and humanity again in a dire—yet this time technologically “sophisticated”—condition. Against the backdrop of this present stage of evolution, Clarke depicts Man as again divided and led by alpha “males”: this time by America, China, and Russia, who are at the helm of the Earth and expanding into space with their nuclear weapons. Moreover, the survival of the species is still in question in the face of inexorable overpopulation and pandemic famine. Once again, life is intervened by the excavation of an unforeseen object—unknown, that is, to the latest hominids in the narrative, but no longer to the reader—of still unknown origin. Part two reintroduces the black monolith on the Earth’s moon and this time gives it a name: T.M.A.-1 (Tycho Magnetic Anomaly – One). The scientists’ attempts at examination fail to rationalize this anomaly; the only “fact” they can muster is that T.M.A.-1 was created by some entity more than three million years ago. Nonetheless, the sociopolitical consequences of this discovery are destabilizing for the prevailing anthropocentrism: “Even if nothing whatsoever was discovered about T.M.A.-1, and it remained an eternal mystery, Man would know that he was not unique in the Universe. Though he had missed them by millions of years, those who had once stood here might yet return: and if not, there might well be others. All futures must now contain this possibility.”11

The “unearthing” of T.M.A.-1 on the moon not only triggers the odyssey into the depths of the solar space, but also acts as the Unheimlich par excellence. The T.M.A.-1 is a perfect conflation of Unheimlich’s double meaning: T.M.A.-1 is the un-homely entity that is disclosed from the depths of the moon. It is no coincidence that the moon, which is outside of the familiar home/Earth, is where the T.M.A.-1 was excavated. Furthermore, Ernst Bloch, describing the Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt, provides the moon as a metaphor:

The Verfremdungseffekt now occurs as the displacement or removal of a character or action out of its usual context, so that the character or action can no longer be perceived as wholly self-evident. Then, the scales may fall from one’s eyes –exempla docent, although only by means of indirection. The roundabout way proves to be the shortest, and displacement leads to present revelation-a method, of course, much older than our term. The ancient Persians thought of the moon as a mirror hung above the earth and reflecting it. That is nonsense. But the distant, the out-of-the-way, the displaced into heights, as it reflects back and leads to an understanding of present reality, may be more realistic than the various kinds of naturalism that is a special gift to us from reflection.12

The ancient Persians’ fantastic moon functions as an estranging apparatus. It is distant and, one can argue, beyond the reach of the Symbolic Order. Yet, it reflects “light” along with the “reality” onto the consciousness, causing the living to perceive the familiar anew.13 Bloch’s example evokes Clarke’s illustration of the black monolith, which hypnotizes “Moon-Watcher”:

And that night the crystal slab was still waiting, surrounded by a pulsing aura of light and sound… Moon-Watcher; once again he felt inquisitive tendrils creeping down the unused byways of his brain. And presently he began to see visions.  They might have been within the crystal block; they might have been wholly inside his mind. In any event, to Moon-Watcher they were completely real.14

Therefore, the black monolith/T.M.A.-1 is not only uncanny, but also an estranging device that displaces any semantic, “self-evident” system. Whatever name or meaning you want to assign to the mysterious object that meaning will be absorbed and vanish into the monolith’s blackness like rays of light. Consequently, one might conceive that what the black monolith “reflects” is the reality that humanity (its self-awareness and intellect, its socio-political and interpersonal relations, etc.) has not actually evolved much beyond its atavistic state even despite its technology. Or, that with the advent of advanced technology, the humanity is regressing to its atavistic state. Carrol L. Fry interprets this phase “[a]s in the folk wisdom of the sheep and the shepherd coming to look alike, humanity has become more machinelike, and machines…may come to behave like humans.”15

In addition to T.M.A.-1, Clarke introduces another character with Unheimlich qualities in part three of 2001. Accompanying Discovery’s five-human crew on the mission to Jupiter and Saturn is the ship’s “brain and nervous system,” HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer).16 HAL is described as the third breakthrough in computer and artificial intelligence technology. Its artificial brain is “grown by a process strikingly analogous to the development of a human brain… [And] millions of times too complex for human understanding.”17 Clark demonstrates HAL’s deft ability to reproduce—“some philosophers still preferred to use the word ‘mimic’”18—the activities of the human brain, and its intelligence that “could pass the Turing test with ease”19 throughout Discovery’s odyssey. HAL can play chess with his shipmates (and fail on purpose), communicate (even read lips in Kubrick’s version), monitor the life-support systems of the crew in hibernation, and navigate the ship. HAL is not only the brain of Discovery, but also the ubiquitous eyes; it enacts as an impeccable model of the Foucauldian panopticon, which exerts an invisible control among its residents. Moreover, though incorporeal, HAL’s authority permeates the physical domain of the humans. It tricks the crewmembers and holds their lives in its “hands,” and even instigates their executions. Humans created HAL, but HAL exceeds the human intellect and dexterity, and surpasses and subverts the confines of human boundaries and anthropocentric ideology. Thus, HAL’s surplus humanness or destabilizing un-humanness is uncanny. On the other hand, HAL is anthropomorphic, for it is created in the image of its makers; ergo flawed equally as Achilles’ heel. Fry conceives that “machines as sophisticated as their builders may contain the seeds of their creators’ nature. Hal is indeed just like ‘another person.’”20 HAL may malfunction or make a mistake (or can it?); consequently, it can be unplugged or reversed to a less intelligent state bound to human command (if it does not exterminate the human first).

Fantastic Homecoming - Apes
Fig. 4: The ubiquitous HAL 9000. Stanley Kubrick, 2001: Space Odyssey, 1968.

Clarke’s 2001 proceeds with the unveiling of Discovery’s secret mission to discern the meaning of an unusual “signal” aimed at Saturn by T.M.A.-1. This signal was triggered right after the lunar sunrise in the form of an unknown radiation. The scientists speculate that T.M.A.-1 is some sort of an alarm system, whose technology points to a superior civilization. Contrary to the Darwinian theory of linear progression of human evolution, and anthropocentric view of humans as the most advanced beings, T.M.A.-1’s presence negates these conceptions by three million years. Moreover, the government wants to keep this negating discovery a top secret “as the past history of our own world has shown so many times, primitive races have often failed to survive the encounter with higher civilisations. Anthropologists talk of ‘cultural shock’; we may have to prepare the entire human race for such a shock.”21 The “cultural shock,” which anticipates a violent xenophobia, also encompasses the risk of undermining theories of physics and biology. In addition to problematizing Relativity and space travel, the scientists speculate on the ontology of the extraterrestrial or extrasolar civilization that created T.M.A.-1. They hypothesize that these advanced beings may be transhuman, fully augmented with mechanics surpassing the fragile organic body, or posthuman, without any anthropomorphic features, and even beyond the mind-matter dichotomy. The consciousness transcending matter/body is imagined as “a stepping-stone to something which, long ago, men had called ‘spirit’. And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be God.”22 Discovery, carrying its last survivor, David Bowman, arrives at the Saturn’s moon, Japetus. Bowman relays to the scientists and the government on Earth that he can see on the surface of the moon “T.M.A.-1’s big brother.”23

In the following chapter, Experiment24, Clarke once again privileges the reader by expanding its outlook away from the epistemological plane of the novel’s characters. He introduces the nature and genealogy of the entities, and their “servants,” the sentinel T.M.A.s—or, as Clarke names them, Star Gate. Clarke portrays the nameless entities as once mortal, successively corporeal and machine, and finally as transcendent beings:

Those who had begun that experiment, so long ago, had not been men—or even remotely human. But they were flesh and blood, and when they looked out across the depths of space, they had felt awe, and wonder, and loneliness.

The first explorers of Earth had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; as soon as their machines were better than their bodies, it was time to move. First their brain, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new homes of metal and of plastic.

In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built starships. They were starships.

But the age of the Machine-entities swiftly passed. In their ceaseless experimenting, they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter.

…But despite their god-like powers, they had not wholly forgotten their origin, in the warm slime of a vanished sea.

Despite the signified fantastical qualities of these entities, Clarke’s exposition is anthropomorphic and domesticating. Clarke assigns them human-like feelings, memory, and evolution, albeit he inscribes that they were not at all human. Consequently, I would argue that these familiarized aliens are not estranging.

Contrariwise, Clark illustrates the journey through the Star Gate as a progression of estrangement, and an unraveling of the Symbolic Order like thread from a spindle. Star Gate becomes a hollow orifice, a gateway that Bowman’s space-pod can enter and be guided through. As Bowman traverses through the uncanny territory, he encounters phenomena so far from his comprehension that they border on the Real; however, as Somay suggests, “[t]he attempt to represent the Real cannot reach the Symbolic, but gives us the Imaginary, which, in its turn, radically transforms the Symbolic.”25 Therefore, Clarke “imagines” what Bowman can grasp momentarily, and renders the phenomena within Bowman’s transformed Symbolic. Bowman witnesses a new star system (“a photographic negative of the Milky Way”26), a long gold-colored spindle-shaped object in seeming motion, and a giant world with a debris of a vague ship on its “chequerboard”27 surface. Subsequently, Bowman’s space-pod passes through one of the rectangular openings of this “Grand Central Station of the Galaxy.”28 On the other end, a more unfamiliar globular cluster greets Bowman with a binary star system containing a White Dwarf and a crimson sun. Before approaching the stars, Bowman’s space-pod flies over starships fleets on “a gigantic orbital parking lot.”29 Bowman sights formations of light flowing across the surface of the crimson sun and leaping to the White Dwarf; he associates them to salmon swimming upstream or leviathans; yet, “[w]hether it was a movement of mindless, cosmic beasts driven across space by some lemming-like urge, or a vast concourse of intelligent entities, he would probably never know.”30

Subsequently, Bowman’s trip down the cosmic “rabbit hole” comes to an ostensible halt when a familiar hotel suite, with gravity and breathable air, materialize and envelop Bowman’s space-pod. Inside the hotel room, Bowman finds commonplace possessions: a Gideon Bible, paintings by Van Gogh and Andrew Wyeth, flowers, magazines, a telephone, a television, a bed, a shower, clothes…etc. Conversely, he realizes that their fabrication is almost all “fake, though fantastically careful…”31 Likewise, Bowman finds inside the food packages and cans a moist blue substance. Later, he turns on the television and sees a famous actor inhabiting the very hotel suite. Bowman imagines the “fantastical” and hyperrealistic representations of the room and its particulars are analogous to a movie set. Moreover, he recognizes that these reproductions of Earthly elements are from the past two years coinciding with the advent of T.M.A.-1 on the surface of Earth’s moon. He surmises that his formless and nameless hosts imagined this suite as to reassure Bowman, to make him feel at home.

Nonetheless, analogous to the sudden stop of the interstellar space, the seamless functioning of the Symbolic Order is disrupted despite the representation of the familiar, homely hotel suite. Bowman’s preceding space odyssey, an attempted representation of the Real, literally lands itself in the Imaginary realm: Clarke imagines the hosts as imagining a hotel suite for Bowman. However, the ostensibly real qualities of the doubly imagined hotel suite reveal themselves to be merely simulacra, re-representation of a hotel suite. Hence, the contents of the room and the very room itself exceed Bowman’s sensory cognition, as well as the reader’s episteme and logic. This “fake, though fantastically” staged simulacrum rupture a “novum” in the Symbolic Order. Somay reiterates Suvin’s term, novum, from a Lacanian view, and defines it as “a tear, a rip in the very fabric of the Symbolic Order, through which we can take a sideways glance at the Real.”32 Therefore, the hotel suite as a site of novum estranges both Bowman and the readers by negating the alleged integrity and stable nature of the Symbolic Order.

In the subsequent and final chapters of 2001, the novum expands and gives birth to an estranged and estranging baby, beyond the human imagination. David Bowman falls asleep in the hotel suite as “the furniture of the hotel suite dissolved into the mind of its creator.”33 Subsequently, Bowman’s body begins to regress to an infant form without the erasure of his consciousness or memory. At last, his regression ceases; and Bowman wakes up as a newborn, transformed into an immortal, transcendent consciousness that can travel through space. Clarke names him Star Child. The Star Child has the “shell” of a baby, in which he “would remain until he had decided on a new form, or had passed beyond the necessities of matter.”34 In the end, like Odysseus, the Star Child returns home, to planet Earth. He perceives an orbiting nuclear missile on the planet’s sky, and he detonates it with his “will” power.

In the film version, Kubrick visualizes the Star Child, but omits the missile. However, what we see, in a single frame, is the quasi-representation of the Real seeping through the fissures of the novum into the Symbolic order.

Fantastic Homecoming - Star Child
Fig. 5: Star Child’s homecoming. Stanley Kubrick, 2001: Space Odyssey, 1968.

Now, let’s return to the question of what happens when the very essence and authority of the tool [language and reason] that “remade” humans is challenged. As I tried to illustrate in my intertextual analysis of 2001, both Clarke and Kubrick depict an odyssey that destabilizes and exceeds the authority of language, positive science, and technology. I posit that their narratives lie within the Imaginary fantastic due to their very contexts in which they come into almost-direct contact with the Real. With comparison to Kubrick, I argue that Clarke’s form interweaves both domesticating and estranging fantastic representations across the tapestry of his version of 2001. Nevertheless, Clarke’s novel reveals an additional metaphorical framework around the historical realities of the 1960s. As I illustrated above, Clarke does not imagine a Utopia. He pictures a dire world across the three million years of evolution, in which the biological, scientific and technological progress does not create a better existence. What Clarke achieves by means of his narrative and form is a Verfremdungseffekt, refracting the realities of his time and the possible future. As Somay argues regarding the narratives of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris and Jorge Luis Borges’s El Aleph,

…the authors try to use these encounters to estrange what passes for ―“reality”, to make their audiences question and hence problematize this familiar reality in order to facilitate a more profound understanding of it. This more profound understanding does not provide us with more information, but rather with a new and unfamiliar way of looking at the already-symbolized…35

Likewise, I would posit that Clarke’s 2001 does make its readers question and look at their socio-political realities from a new angle. Clarke’s inclusion of the missile detonated by the Star Child reflects the precise anxieties of the nuclear threats in the Cold War era, in which the Soviet Union and the United States, headed by their own “alpha males,” were competing to produce the most powerful (phallic) nuclear weapons. Moreover, Clarke problematizes the superiority of the “self-evident” human authority across the globe and the galaxy in the fields of reason, intelligence, science, and technology. Clarke’s odyssey acts as another, yet estranging, retelling of the myth of Man traversing the unknown both “inward” and “outward,” and questioning humans’ limitations of cognition and reasoning.

In the past two centuries, science fiction has become a platform on which authors, filmmakers, and thinkers investigate the phenomenology, ontology, metaphysics, and the ideologies of humanity. Science fiction authors have explored the themes of “otherworldly” visitors or journeys to the unknown space. They have introduced us to beings with supernatural powers, mad scientists, rampant monsters or machines, and the dystopian worlds. These narratives have one foot in science and the other in the uncanny. Science fiction creators grappled with the causes of beings or events, and sometimes came to a “familiar” conclusion that proved that all their trials were not outside of human intelligence or the capacity to control. The issue of control and reconnaissance is one recurring motif of these “scientific explorations.” However, other authors have rendered “estranging” texts that reveal the illusion of human omnipotence by exposing our inability to make the unknown known, and hence get it under control. Evidently, the fascination with the questions of the human existence and what lies beyond, “out there,” still invade our lives, academia, and popular culture. These fantastic texts challenge us to confront the unknown in our lives and chart the courses in our own odysseys. Nevertheless, as Clarke and Kubrick inform, “the truth, as always, will be far stranger.”

  1. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, “Foreword,” in 2001: A Space Odyssey (London: Orbit, 2000), vii–viii.
  2. Bülent Somay, The View from the Masthead: Journey through Dystopia towards an Open-Ended Utopia (Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2010).
  3. An abridged definition of these terms would be: The Symbolic is the domain of language, in which we ascribe meaning to our perceived reality; The Real, which is distinct from reality, escapes this ascription for it is either outside of language or perception; and in between, The Imaginary is either not yet or unsuccessfully attempted to be ascribed by the Symbolic.
  4. Somay, 13.
  5. Freud exposes two definitions for Unheimlich, which is translated into English as “uncanny”: first, that which is un-homely or unfamiliar, and second, a secret that is inadvertently revealed or unconcealed. Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, trans. David McLintock, Penguin Classics (London: Penguin Classics, 2003), 132–34.
  6. Somay, The View from the Masthead, 17.
  7. Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey (London: Orbit, 2000), 11.
  8. Clarke, 12.
  9. Clarke, 17.
  10. Clarke, 30.
  11. Clarke, 82.
  12. Ernst Bloch, Anne Halley, and Darko Suvin, “‘Entfremdung, Verfremdung’: Alienation, Estrangement,” The Drama Review: TDR 15, no. 1 (1970): 121. Also quoted in Somay, The View from the Masthead, 10.
  13. Somay, The View from the Masthead, 13.
  14. Clarke, 2001, 16. It is an incredible coincidence (or is it?) that his name is Moon-Watcher, who is represented as the “wise man” of the tribe. Nonetheless, there is no account of why he is given that name. Contradictorily, there is no lexicon to utter words in the Paleocene to assign a name to a being.
  15. Carrol L. Fry, “From Technology to Transcendence: Humanity’s Evolutionary Journey in 2001: A Space Odyssey,” Extrapolation 44, no. 3 (2003): 336.
  16. Clarke, 2001, 97.
  17. Clarke, 98.
  18. Clarke, 98.
  19. Clarke, 99.
  20. Fry, “From Technology to Transcendence,” 338.
  21. Clarke, 2001, 177.
  22. Clarke, 192.
  23. Clarke, 206.
  24. Clarke, 207–9.
  25. Somay, The View from the Masthead, 19.
  26. Clarke, 2001, 224.
  27. Clarke, 225.
  28. Clarke, 226.
  29. Clarke, 230.
  30. Clarke, 235.
  31. Clarke, 239.
  32. Somay, The View from the Masthead, n. 26.
  33. Clarke, 2001, 245.
  34. Clarke, 249.
  35. Somay, The View from the Masthead, 20.

Bloch, Ernst, Anne Halley, and Darko Suvin. “‘Entfremdung, Verfremdung’: Alienation, Estrangement.” The Drama Review: TDR 15, no. 1 (1970): 120–25. https://doi.org/10.2307/1144598.

Clarke, Arthur C. 2001: A Space Odyssey. London: Orbit, 2000.

Clarke, Arthur C., and Stanley Kubrick. “Foreword.” In 2001: A Space Odyssey, vii–viii. London: Orbit, 2000.

Freud, Sigmund. The Uncanny. Translated by David McLintock. Penguin Classics. London: Penguin Classics, 2003.

Fry, Carrol L. “From Technology to Transcendence: Humanity’s Evolutionary Journey in 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Extrapolation 44, no. 3 (2003): 331–43.

Somay, Bülent. The View from the Masthead: Journey through Dystopia towards an Open-Ended Utopia. Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2010.


Azmi Mert Erdem is a multidisciplinary artist. He completed his B.A. in Film and Television with honors from Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey. He attended the One Year Filmmaking Program at the New York Film Academy. Mert is the founder of Mise en Abyme Productions, which specializes in documentary and promotional videos for artists and art organizations. He is currently focusing on film studies at the M.A. in Liberal Studies at the Graduate Center.