In 1964 Stanley Kubrick and the distinguished science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke met to discuss a possible collaboration. At the time, Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein were known a the “Big Three”—the three most important contemporary authors in science fiction. Initially their work was to be based on Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel,” but Kubrick eventually suggested that they write an original novel to use as a basis for the film, which would become “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Kubrick and Clarke shared a 1969 Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
Clarke’s novel, under his name, was published a few months after the premiere of “2001.” “I rewrote some sections after seeing the movie rushes—a rather expensive method of literary creation, which few other authors can have enjoyed.” The greatest difference between the two works is Clarke’s decision to explain cause-and-effects relationships between events depicted in the film.
After the great success of “2001,” Clarke went on to report on several NASA missions for CBS, including the moon landing on July 20, 1969. In 1972 Clarke published “The Lost Worlds of 2001,” which includes alternative versions of scenes and his account of the production.
Clarke won numerous awards for his work as a writer and scholar. He was knighted in 1998 and was given the Sri Lankabhimanya (Sri Lanka’s highest civil honor) in 2005. He was born December 6, 1917, and lived in England until 1956, when he moved to Sri Lanka to pursue his interest in scuba diving. There he discovered the underwater ruins of an ancient temple. He died on March 19, 2008.