But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I just finished (no joke. Five minutes ago) reading 2001: a Space Odyssey. Wow. You really have to read the book to get anything at all from the movie. All that stuff with the apes makes sense now, and the first third of the movie actually means something.

If you haven’t read this book, do it right now. If I can read it in a week (and I did), you can do it in less. I didn’t realize that while Stanley Kubrick was filming the movie, Clarke was still writing the book, which wasn’t in bookstores until after the film was released.

Okay. I could just type every word of the epilogue, but I won’t. Go to a bookstore, or download the book, or go to the library. If you’re not going to read the book, at least read the epilogue. It doesn’t give anything away. It’s not even part of the story.

So… Last week I read Caves of Steel, and that was good, but different. Asimov is a great storyteller. Clarke is a great writer. Asimov tells an engrossing story of a detective in a future society where robots are third-class citizens. It’s a very complex social environment and it’s very cool.

Clarke rights about people. Humans. Every page is drenched in so much imagery that sometimes you have to read a page twice because you get so wrapped up in it that you forget what he’s actually describing.

Concerning machines: HAL is real. He acts like a computer; he thinks like a computer. Asimov’s robots… Not so much. They’re more romanticized. They’re people who happen to be made of metal. Very far-fetched and hard to relate to. When you read an Asimov book, you put reality on hold and take it on faith that these things are possible.

Reading Odyssey, I had to leave the light on. I measured my blackberry (on whom I read the whole book) to make sure it’s dimensions aren’t exactly 1:4:9 (It’s close enough that I had to measure it twice). I didn’t have to suspend reality because everything in the book is not so much “within the realm of plausibility” as it is “completely believable.” I mean War of the Worlds believable.

While I don’t mean to knock Asimov, I’d forgotten that reading a book could be this much fun. The last book I read that was this good was Dune. I wonder if 2001 is on blu-ray yet…


  1. Note
    Space Odyssey-debut 1968
    Caves of Steel-debut 1953

    Also, plot era
    Space Odyssey-1999
    Caves of Steel-2253

    Stanley was good, Isaac was great. Compare and contrast each authors body of work. I believe Asimov will stand the test of time. Kubrick, not so much. A one hit wonder, as it were, regardless of his protagonists surname.

  2. I'm talking more about the book. If you're going to compare films, you have to compare films. Taken by itself, 2001 sucks balls. It's just stupid. It's boring, the plot doesn't make any sense, and the first third of the movie has nothing to do with the mission to Jupiter.

    Compared with it's contemporaries (Star Wars), it's only worth mentioning for its production value and attention to detail. It gives a realistic picture of what a space-bound society might look like, as well as a realistic vision of space as an environment.

    Kubrick will not stand the test of time. I agree. Clarke will, and Asimov probably will as well. It's just unfortunate that Clarke's work bears the stigma of Kubrick.

  3. sorry i mean arthur was good, not Stan. Compare and contrast the AUTHORS. Kubrick's craft with FILM is brilliant. 2001, Dr Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, etc,etc. These films have deep underlying themes. Not eye candy alien bar scenes honey grab the kids and popcorn Movies. Pixar makes movies, Kubrick made films.

    Take your kids to the movies(Star Wars) and buy them popcorn and Jujubes.

    Full Metal Jacket is a film. Honey, get a sitter, were gonna see a film. It's gonna make ya think, and ask questions even!

  4. Except for 2001, which was basically just eye candy with the mild underlying theme of "don't program heuristic algorithms," a lesson we learned far better from Skynet. Visually, the film (and it is a film) is still magnificent, even by modern standards. As a work of literature, having not read the book, the film is garbage.

    You bring up Dr. Strangelove and Clockwork Orange. While I will not argue that Clockwork was excellent both as literature and entertainment, Strangelove was a little weak. The themes were good, but the execution was a bit dry. I would rather have read it than watched it. Reading the book, I wouldn't feel as though I had wasted a week and a half. Having seen the film, I feel as though I have wasted two hours. It just wasn't entertaining.

    While a book can afford to lack in the department of entertainment, I feel a movie cannot. If I'm going to watch my TV for two to three hours, I expect to be entertained. Even if I'm watching the Discovery Channel (which I do). I also hold filmmakers to all the same standards that I hold authors. Almost.

    Would I ever read the book of Die Hard? Probably not. But the film is still good. It is allowed to lack in certain literary elements because it's entertaining. And not just because of the action. Because it's believable. John McClane is a real person you can identify with. He's in LA to spend Christmas with his kids and shit happens. If I were in that position, would I react the same way he did? No. But John McClane is a tough as chinese algebra cop who's cranky and wouldn't otherwise be in a good mood.

    Long story short: I expect movies and books to be both entertaining and make par on the literary links. I'll read a book with less entertainment value if it's well-written (anything by Poe), and I'll watch a movie that has a boring plot if the acting and writing are good (E.T., Independence Day, Kingdom of Heaven).

    I think there's a response in there somewhere, but I can't be certain.

  5. And I do not have a logical, coherent response because I can't tell you the difference between a movie and a film. To me, it is, or it isn't. Or not. I dunno. Blair Witch Project to me is a film. Transformers is a movie. Die Hard, movie, Das Boot, film. I can't explain why I catagorize like I do, but I do it. Entertainment value has nothing to do with it for me. Its not good=film, bad=movie. Die Hard is a good movie, Blair Witch bad film(IMHO).

    After rereading your response- A movie must be entertaining, a film not so much? I dunno.

    After rereading the original post- Dude. Sir Arthur was an awesome guy, but really? You wanna compare Clarke to Asimov? Granted, both had hard core sci-minds. Brilliant. But as Authors? Really? Again, love the guy, but no.