“Unlike the animals, who knew only the present, Man had acquired a past; and he was beginning to grope toward a future.” —Arthur C. Clarke in 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey was science fiction’s Big Bang. Written as a collaboration between two giants of their fields, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, it has taken its rightful place among the best movies of all time since its release in 1968. Its visuals are iconic—the featureless black monolith, HAL’s cyclopean eye, Frank Poole’s chilling exit ad astra, and Dave Bowman’s evolution into the star child—and its timing is prescient, preceding the moon landing by fifteen months, released at a time when many of science fiction’s dreams were becoming reality. Clarke was, above all, an optimist, confident in mankind’s ability to escape the demoralizing gravity well of the atomic bomb by journeying into the stars.