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Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey

New Essays

Edited by Robert Kolker

Publication Date - 23 March 2006

ISBN: 9780195174533

216 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

Newly commissioned essays examine a classic sci-fi film specifically


Almost all students have seen 2001, but virtually none understand its inheritance, its complexities, and certainly not its ironies. The essays in this collection, commissioned from a wide variety of scholars, examine in detail various possible readings of the film and its historical context. They also examine the film as a genre piece--as the summa of science fiction that simultaneously looks back on the science fiction conventions of the past (Kubrick began thinking of making a science fiction film during the genre's heyday in the fifties), rethinks the convention in light of the time of the film's creation, and in turn changes the look and meaning of the genre that it revived--which now remains as prominent as it was almost four decades ago. Constructed out of its director's particular intellectual curiosity, his visual style, and his particular notions of the place of human agency in the world and, in this case, the universe, 2001 is, like all of his films, more than it appears, and it keeps revealing more the more it is seen. Though their backgrounds and disciplines differ, the authors of this essay collection are united by a talent for vigorous yet incisive writing that cleaves closely to the text--to the film itself, with its contextual and intrinsic complexities--granting readers privileged access to Kubrick's formidable, intricate classic work of science fiction.

About the Author(s)

Robert Kolker is Emeritus Professor of Film Studies and Digital Media at the University of Maryland.


"Robert Kolker, one of the best writers on Kubrick, has assembled nine impressive new essays from talented contributors on the director's most spectacular and enigmatic film. The collection is valuable not only for its post-millenial commentary on 2001, but also for its fresh insights into Kubrick's work as a whole."--James Naremore, author of More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts

"Stanley Kubrick's films have a reputation for stimulating the mind. This brilliant collection of essays confirms it gloriously and proves that 2001: A Space Odyssey is an inexhaustible source for analysis."--Michel Ciment, author of Kubrick

"Kubrick's 2001 redefined the science fiction genre, transforming its limits, broadening the scope of what it can do. It is one of the rare examples of a film which aims to make us think not ABOUT images, but IN images and sounds. The volume on the film edited by Robert Kolker does the same for film studies. While it analyzes in detail different aspects of the film, it respects, strengthens even, its unfathomable beauty. Much more than a volume of excellent theory, the book is an invitation to think with sensuous pleasure."--Slavoj Zizek