Book: The Odyssey File (1984)

The Odyssey File @

Just like the film itself this ‘making of’ for 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), this is a very different take on the genre to it’s predecessor The Lost Worlds of 2001 (1972).  Whilst the first book was a mixture of behind the scenes info and alternate takes on story, the textual equivalent of DVD special features, this is a record of the e-mails exchanged between Arthur C Clarke and the film’s director Peter Hyams.

Although Clarke didn’t have the involvement he had in Kubrick’s production, what it shares with the earlier book is the insight it gives into the collaborative process and the almost childlike joy of the new that makes Clarke’s work so open and readable.  Granted, this makes for a rather slight book but it is enjoyable and interesting… plus it has one of those colour photo sections and some anachronistic fun can be had reading of their wonder at the future tech / sorcery that is e-mail.


Book: The Lost Worlds of 2001 (1972)

The Lost Worlds of 2001 @

As a nerd this book really scores big because Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick, space, movies, space movies etc and so on and it’s got a spaceship on the front which is pretty cool.  The contents are also pretty swish.

This is a great ‘making of’ book that expands on Kubrick’s movie and, more extensively, Clarke’s novel.  It delves into the genesis of the project and it’s evolution.  You get a fascinating insight into the working and personal relationship of two great minds and the film / book that could have been.  Thankfully neither possibility is as interesting as what we got and the book’s strength is that it captures the creative process at work.  It also contains some fascinating insights into Kubrick and Clarke themselves as story notes and personal messages are passed between the pair and Clarke includes notes on his day-to-day life.

This isn’t the usual ‘behind the scenes’ book and is possibly a bit more removed from the day to day of the production than some might like but for me that distance helps create a more interesting peek behind the curtain.

Highly Recommended.

Book: The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See

Edited by Simon Braund, The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See: Unseen Masterpieces by the World’s Greatest Directors charts the almost or partial productions of numerous films that never made it to the big screen.

Whilst this book doesn’t have the depth of David Hughes’ similarly focused and highly recommended The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made and Tales from Development Hell (thankfully there isn’t much overlap but it does share the unavoidable repetition of ‘and then the studio changed it’s mind’) it is still an intriguing exercise in what could have been and the ‘magazine’ style makes it an accessible read that is easy to dip in and out of and will seriously increase your YouTube use…