Testerman Sci-Fi Site
Testerman Sci-Fi Site

Part 5 of Arthur C. Clarke Quotes:

On Extra-Terrestrials:

"If you understand 2001 on the first viewing, we will have failed." (circa 1969, printed in Report On Planet Three, 1972)

"2001 is often said to be based on (my 1948 short story) 'The Sentinel,' but the two bear much the same relationship as an acorn and an oak tree. It needed a lot more material and some of it came from 'Encounter in the Dawn'....and four other short stories. But most of it was wholly new, and the result of months of brainstorming with Stanley (Kubrick)." (from 1993 ROC edition of 2001)
Left: Space helmet from 2001, here on display at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama (helmet courtesy 2001 Spacesuit Restoration Project)
"2001: A Space Odyssey is about man's past and future life in space. It's about concern with man's hierarchy in the universe, which is probably pretty low. It's about the reactions of humanity to the discovery of higher intelligence in the universe. We set out with the deliberate intention of creating a myth. The Odyssean parallel was in our minds from the beginning, long before the film's title was chosen." (from The Making of Kubrick's 2001, edited by Jerome Agel)
"2001: A Space Odyssey would still be on its first run while men were actually walking on the Moon....The year 2001 seemed like a good date to choose - and a suitable symbolic one. Somehow, Stanley (Kubrick) and I had to create a story that would not be made obsolete, or even worse, ridiculous, by the events of the next few years. Watching our little movie today, I think that we did pretty well. True, there are no immediate prospects of building a giant ship like Discovery to explore the outer planets. We have yet to conquer Mars, or even to retrace our footsteps on the Moon. But the date in the title of our movie - 2001 - was never intended as a literal prediction of when such adventures might take place....The central themes of the movie, however, remain entirely valid. We will eventually return to the Moon, then journey to the planets and beyond. It is inevitable." (April, 2000, from the book 2001: Filming the Future, by Piers Bizony)

"I personally would like to have seen a rationale of HAL's behavior. It's perfectly understandable, and in fact would have made HAL a very sympathetic character; he had been fouled by those clods at Mission Control. HAL was indeed correct in attributing his mistaken report to human error." (from The Making of Kubrick's 2001, edited by Jerome Agel)
At right: Arthur C. Clarke on the Discovery spaceship's pod bay set of 2001, surrounded by space pods
"The most remarkable thing about 2001 is that it is doing so well without any concession to popular taste. Kubrick never once said, 'Let's not let the popcorn set get away.' It's so uncompromising that people realize it deals with much bigger issues than science alone." (from The Making of Kubrick's 2001, edited by Jerome Agel, 1970)
"A lot of people have seen religious elements in 2001 and perhaps even more so in the final 3001. When we were making 2001 I commented, 'MGM doesn't know it yet, but they are making the first 10 million dollar religious movie'....I have no religious beliefs at all. The best definition of me is a Crypto-Buddhist."

"I've never taken any drugs. But I wouldn't rule out the possiblility that those geniuses who created the end of the movie (2001) did." (from 1996 Philadelphia Inquirer)
"As for the dwindling minority who still don't like it - that's their problem, not ours. Stanley Kubrick and I are laughing all the way to the bank." (from The Making of Kubrick's 2001)