The book explains the monolith much more specifically than the movie, depicting the first on Earth as a device capable of inducing a higher level of consciousness by directly interacting with the brain of pre-humans approaching it, the second on the Moon as an alarm signal designed to alert its creators that humanity had reached a sufficient technological level for space travel, and the third near Jupiter in the movie but on a satellite of Saturn in the novel as a gateway or portal to allow travel to other parts of the galaxy.
It depicts Bowman traveling through some kind of interstellar switching station which the book refers to as "Grand Central," in which travelers go into a central hub and then are routed to their individual destinations. The book also depicts a crucial utterance by Bowman when he enters the portal via the monolith; his last statement is "Oh my God—it's full of stars! The book reveals that these aliens travel the cosmos assisting lesser species to take evolutionary steps. Bowman explores the hotel room methodically, and deduces that it is a kind of zoo created by aliens—fabricated from information derived from television transmissions from Earth intercepted by the TMA-1 monolith—in which he is being studied by the invisible alien entities.
He examines some food items provided for him, and notes that they are edible, yet clearly not made of any familiar substance from Earth. Kubrick's film leaves all this unstated. Physicist Freeman Dyson urged those baffled by the film to read Clarke's novel:. I found the book gripping and intellectually satisfying, full of the tension and clarity which the movie lacks. All the parts of the movie that are vague and unintelligible, especially the beginning and the end, become clear and convincing in the book.
So I recommend to my middle-aged friends who find the movie bewildering that they should read the book; their teenage kids don't need to.
Clarke himself used to recommend reading the book, saying "I always used to tell people, 'Read the book, see the film, and repeat the dose as often as necessary'", although, as his biographer Neil McAleer points out, he was promoting sales of his book at the time. Nor is his necessarily the 'right' one — whatever that means. Film critic Penelope Houston noted in that the novel differs in many key respects from the film, and as such perhaps should not be regarded as the skeleton key to unlock it. Stanley Kubrick was less inclined to cite the book as a definitive interpretation of the film, but he also frequently refused to discuss any possible deeper meanings during interviews.
During an interview with Joseph Gelmis in Kubrick explained:. It's a totally different kind of experience, of course, and there are a number of differences between the book and the movie. The novel, for example, attempts to explain things much more explicitly than the film does, which is inevitable in a verbal medium.
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The novel came about after we did a page prose treatment of the film at the very outset. This initial treatment was subsequently changed in the screenplay, and the screenplay in turn was altered during the making of the film. But Arthur took all the existing material, plus an impression of some of the rushes, and wrote the novel. As a result, there's a difference between the novel and the film.
I think that the divergencies between the two works are interesting. Actually, it was an unprecedented situation for someone to do an essentially original literary work based on glimpses and segments of a film he had not yet seen in its entirety.
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Author Vincent LoBrutto, in Stanley Kubrick: A Biography , was inclined to note creative differences leading to a separation of meaning for book and film:. The film took on its own life as it was being made, and Clarke became increasingly irrelevant. Kubrick could probably have shot from a treatment, since most of what Clarke wrote, in particular some windy voice-overs which explained the level of intelligence reached by the ape men, the geological state of the world at the dawn of man, the problems of life on the Discovery and much more, was discarded during the last days of editing, along with the explanation of HAL's breakdown.
In an interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Kubrick said "On the deepest psychological level the film's plot symbolizes the search for God , and it finally postulates what is little less than a scientific definition of God. The film revolves around this metaphysical conception, and the realistic hardware and the documentary feelings about everything were necessary in order to undermine your built-in resistance to the poetical concept.
I will say that the God concept is at the heart of but not any traditional, anthropomorphic image of God. I don't believe in any of Earth's monotheistic religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of God, once you accept the fact that there are approximately billion stars in our galaxy alone, that each star is a life-giving sun and that there are approximately billion galaxies in just the visible universe.
Given a planet in a stable orbit, not too hot and not too cold , and given a few billion years of chance chemical reactions created by the interaction of a sun's energy on the planet's chemicals, it's fairly certain that life in one form or another will eventually emerge. It's reasonable to assume that there must be, in fact, countless billions of such planets where biological life has arisen, and the odds of some proportion of such life developing intelligence are high.
Now, the Sun is by no means an old star, and its planets are mere children in cosmic age, so it seems likely that there are billions of planets in the universe not only where intelligent life is on a lower scale than man but other billions where it is approximately equal and others still where it is hundreds of thousands of millions of years in advance of us.
When you think of the giant technological strides that man has made in a few millennia—less than a microsecond in the chronology of the universe—can you imagine the evolutionary development that much older life forms have taken? They may have progressed from biological species , which are fragile shells for the mind at best, into immortal machine entities—and then, over innumerable eons, they could emerge from the chrysalis of matter transformed into beings of pure energy and spirit. Their potentialities would be limitless and their intelligence ungraspable by humans.
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In the same interview, he also blames the poor critical reaction to as follows: . Perhaps there is a certain element of the lumpen literati that is so dogmatically atheist and materialist and Earth-bound that it finds the grandeur of space and the myriad mysteries of cosmic intelligence anathema. The film has been seen by many people not only as a literal story about evolution and space adventures, but as an allegorical representation of aspects of philosophical, religious or literary concepts.
Friedrich Nietzsche 's philosophical tract Thus Spoke Zarathustra , about the potential of mankind, is directly referred to by the use of Richard Strauss 's musical piece of the same name. You might say that is inherent in the story too. We are semicivilized, capable of cooperation and affection, but needing some sort of transfiguration into a higher form of life.
Man is really in a very unstable condition. Donald MacGregor has analysed the film in terms of a different work, The Birth of Tragedy , in which Nietzsche refers to the human conflict between the Apollonian and Dionysian modes of being. The Apollonian side of man is rational, scientific, sober, and self-controlled.
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For Nietzsche a purely Apollonian mode of existence is problematic, since it undercuts the instinctual side of man. The Apollonian man lacks a sense of wholeness, immediacy, and primal joy. It is not good for a culture to be either wholly Apollonian or Dionysian. While the world of the apes at the beginning of is Dionysian, the world of travel to the moon is wholly Apollonian, and HAL is an entirely Apollonian entity. Kubrick's film came out just a year before the Woodstock rock festival, a wholly Dionysian affair.
MacGregor argues that David Bowman in his transformation has regained his Dionysian side. The conflict between humanity's internal Dionysus and Apollo has been used as a lens through which to view many other Kubrick films especially A Clockwork Orange , Dr. Strangelove , Lolita , and Eyes Wide Shut. New Zealand journalist Scott MacLeod sees parallels between the spaceship's journey and the physical act of conception.
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We have the long, bulb-headed spaceship as a sperm, and the destination planet Jupiter or the monolith floating near it as the egg, and the meeting of the two as the trigger for the growth of a new race of man the "star child". The lengthy pyrotechnic light show witnessed by David Bowman, which has puzzled many reviewers, is seen by MacLeod as Kubrick's attempt at visually depicting the moment of conception, when the "star child" comes into being.
Taking the allegory further, MacLeod argues that the final scenes in which Bowman appears to see a rapidly ageing version of himself through a "time warp" is actually Bowman witnessing the withering and death of his own species. The old race of man is about to be replaced by the "star child", which was conceived by the meeting of the spaceship and Jupiter. MacLeod also sees irony in man as a creator of HAL on the brink of being usurped by his own creation. By destroying HAL, man symbolically rejects his role as creator and steps back from the brink of his own destruction.
Similarly, in his book, The Making of Kubrick's , author Jerome Agel puts forward the interpretation that Discovery One represents both a body with vertebrae and a sperm cell, with Bowman being the "life" in the cell which is passed on. In this interpretation, Jupiter represents both a female and an ovum. An extremely complex three-level allegory is proposed by Leonard F.
Wheat in his book, Kubrick's A Triple Allegory. Wheat states that, "Most In 's case, the surface story actually does something unprecedented in film or literature: it embodies three allegories. Wheat uses acronyms, as evidence to support his theories. For example, of the name Heywood R. Floyd , he writes " He suggests Helen — Helen of Troy. Wood suggests wooden horse — the Trojan Horse. And oy suggests Troy. As with many elements of the film, the iconic monolith has been subject to countless interpretations, including religious, alchemical,  historical, and evolutionary.
To some extent, the very way in which it appears and is presented allows the viewer to project onto it all manner of ideas relating to the film. The Monolith in the movie seems to represent and even trigger epic transitions in the history of human evolution , evolution of humans from ape -like beings to civilised people, hence the odyssey of humankind.
Vincent LoBrutto's biography of Kubrick notes that for many, Clarke's novel is the key to understanding the monolith. Rolling Stone reviewer Bob McClay sees the film as a four-movement symphony, its story told with "deliberate realism".toposizandii.tk
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The monolith appears four times in A Space Odyssey : on the African savanna, on the moon, in space orbiting Jupiter, and near Bowman's bed before his transformation. After the first encounter with the monolith, we see the leader of the apes have a quick flashback to the monolith after which he picks up a bone and uses it to smash other bones. Its usage as a weapon enables his tribe to defeat the other tribe of apes occupying the water hole who have not learned how to use bones as weapons.
After this victory, the ape-leader throws his bone into the air, after which the scene shifts to an orbiting weapon four million years later, implying that the discovery of the bone as a weapon inaugurated human evolution, hence the much more advanced orbiting weapon 4 million years later. The first and second encounters of humanity with the monolith have visual elements in common; both apes, and later astronauts, touch the monolith gingerly with their hands, and both sequences conclude with near-identical images of the sun appearing directly over the monolith the first with a crescent moon adjacent to it in the sky, the second with a near-identical crescent Earth in the same position , both echoing the sun—earth—moon alignment seen at the very beginning of the film.
In the most literal narrative sense, as found in the concurrently written novel, the Monolith is a tool, an artifact of an alien civilisation. It comes in many sizes and appears in many places, always in the purpose of advancing intelligent life.
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