2001 and Beyond the Infinite

Commentary and Criticism

May 1998 to July 1998

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Date: Tue, 05 May 1998 22:33:59 +0100
From: Edward Moyse [moyse@geocities.com]

Very interesting essay, but there are a few points I'd like to make
about 2010.

Firstly, it is stated that the mass of the new sun is the same as the
mass of jupiter, so it would not perturb orbits. Well actually the fact
that it is smaller means it would haev a slight effect, but this effect,
according to some rough calculations I just did, would be minor. Also,
it is not at all clear that a sun with the same mass as Jupiter is
possible - the pressure at the centre probably wouldn't be enough to
sustain fusion. That is rather by the by though - aliens capable of the
feats exhibited by the monolith-builders are probably capable of pretty
much anything. To paraphrase Clarke, their technology would seem like
magic to us!

I also dispute the supposodly catastrophic effect the new sun would have
on earth. If it is very small, and weak the heat it produces could be
insignificant here. In fact I'm sure it is described as simply a
brighter star. This does not mean that it would be insufficient to warm
Europa - Europa is 671 000 km from the position of the new star .... the
earth is 4.203 AU, or 630 million km!! As radiation decreases
proportionally to distance squared, I'll bet that it's at least

Despite all that, I thought the page was great.

Ed Moyse

From: "Jack Bodem" [jbodem@netusa1.net]
Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 01:37:12 -0400

I would like to open by saying that I normally avoid reading anything
about the books I read or the movies I watch. The reason for this is
when I see a movie, or read a book, I develop my own thoughts about it
and I hate to have those thoughts spoiled by the author telling me the
meaning I got was completely wrong. I also hate for people to place
meaning where there is none as this is done often and really spoils a
story for me.

However, I am a huge fan of 2001 so when I saw your sight I had to take
a look. Now I had never read any explanations of 2001 so prior to your
writing I have only had the outside influence of my friends to cloud
what I thought of the movie. You and I agreed on most points up to the
ending and I am more shattered to find that you and Stanley Kubrick
agree on the ending, again I should have heeded my own advice and not
read your article.

I am not a believer in any gods nor do I believe that aliens have
visited our little planet but 2001 very clearly spoke to me of a "god"
nudging man along at various points in our evolution. I never once
thought it was the work of "aliens". The ending of the movie to me was
an evolution for Dave Bowman from a man that uses tools or is used by
tools to a life form that only requires the greatest tool of all, his
mind. His transition through what you called "hyperspace" to me was
Dave's transition into the world of a "god" where he could be properly
educated. Now the whole education process was not shown to us but we see
Dave growing old as some indication that vast amounts of time have
passed and each time he changes his age perspective he also changes his
perspective of himself. The glass falling from the table signified to me
that he had finally abandoned all tools of the hands.

The "starchild" to me was another symbol of man at the start of his next
evolutionary cycle.

It may all sound a little simple but I just thought you might like to
hear another take on the movie.
Loved your site.
J. Bodem

From: "Sidney Biesterfeld" [sbiester@ci.englewood.co.us]
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 16:10:12 -0600

I'm sure you've heard this before, but here goes anyway.

The dance of the various spacecraft, including the docking sequence look
very sexual when seen on the big screen.  You described one spacecraft as
a human head -- are you sure that is what this is supposed to represent? 

There is another side to this scene.  Yes, men and machines are more
closely approximating eachother -- the supposed evolutionary goal of those
who sent the monolith.  The sexual overtones seem to say that we haven't
come that far in our evolution.  We are still the same animal that greeted
the first monolith all those millions of years ago.  The food on the
flight reinforces this view of the human animal. 


Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 15:01:48 +1200
From: Phil Sainty [ectophil@netlink.co.nz]

Firstly, thank you for the 2001 site!! Your own interpretations, and
those of your other readers, have been fascinating to read, and I have
without a doubt learned more about the film than I ever would have on
my own! (I haven't yet read all of the comments sent to you, but I look
forward to the rest based on those I have read thus far.)

I was fortunate enough to see a lovely 70mm version of the film on
the biggest screen in my city last night, and it was quite the
spectacle (I'd only seen it previously on TV, many years ago) and
I'm considering going again now that I've discovered your site
(I did, of course, go purposely looking for such a site after
getting home; I just hadn't expected such a wealth of information!)

I have to say that I too greatly appreciated the efforts towards
realism in the handling of space and technology in 2001 (and am
dumbfounded that the film was made when it was!!) and feel it
added greatly to things. The silence of space, particularly, was
absolutely effective in focusing my mind on the images before me;
and the transitions between the noise inside Dave's pod and the
silence outside are quite dramatic!

Naturally, I don't agree with everything you say in your essay, but I
think my only strong point of contention (the one for which I would
have to say "you're wrong" rather than "I disagree") is with the

``In this film, Hal's rebellion was Dave's baptism of fire, his ultimate test of intelligence. He has shown that Man is resourceful enough to survive without tools. The man-apes needed tools to survive, but Man does not. He has evolved. He has indeed become an intelligent being, able to exist on his own without any help from tools.''
What Dave did was to shut down the 'higher' intelligence functions of Hal; that which made Hal almost human. To suggest that Dave completed his journey from that point without the aid of tools is absurd -- the entire space craft is a tool, and all of Hal's 'lower' functions are still required to continue to operate it. Dave may have overcome the threat posed by Hal (and done so primarily by using his brain), but he is still very much in need of tools to survive. The separation may have come at the end of the film, however; perhaps the Star-Child is a being without need of tools. (Or perhaps it needed the Monolith to return to Earth.) I also feel there is a connection between the idea that man can use tools to rise above the need for them, and the idea that a computer can become 'truly' intelligent, rising above its reliance on its own programming as it were. I'm not sure this is intentional in the film, but it occurred to me as in intriguing thought. (What would have happened if Hal had completed the mission alone?) Mike Hobbs wrote about "birth" themes in the film, and mentioned:
``I got the impression that after the first light show, Dave was witnessing the big bang, the birth of the universe. Lastly, (this one is rather tenuous, but plausible) during the big bang scene, one of the shots shows a comet (or the space pod?) that looks strikingly similar to a sperm cell.''
I also thought Dave was witnessing the Big Bang and the expanding of the universe, and oddly enough I also saw a birth-related image among those latter scenes, except the one I saw looked like a foetus. Or at least, brought that image sharply to mind. Thanks again! From: "BRAD Hoover" [blh@penn.com] Date: Sun, 21 Jun 98 17:15:26 PDT After viewing 2001, I was totally disgusted with what is said to be a "classic" and one of the top 100 films of all time as picked by the AFI. Although your essay was interesting, I'm sad to say it didn't make the movie any better. There are many failures to the film. Here are a few that I cannot get out of my mind and still find mind-boggling even after reading your essay: 1. The Music! The soft light hearted strains of The Blue Danube certainly do not fit in with the "plot" of the movie as written in your essay. Note that I am taking your word as to the meaning of the movie. It is still a puzzle to me. Anyway, the music made me feel that the movie was not a serious film about man's life and death. To this day, I, along with my comrades (no pun on the Soviet presence in the movie!) , still believe the music was picked to serve no other purpose other than to pad out the film. The music makes you feel as if you are sitting in a theater awaiting a fat Viking lady to sing. It doesn't fit with space travel and Neanderthals killing each other. 2. What's the deal with the whole television/phone scene? This one gives a whole new interperatation to the concept of padding out a film. It's the little girls birthday tomorrow. So What??!! Who cares how many telephones the family has? That's all about that scene. I'm at a total loss of words when discussing this scene. 3. The singing monolith? Why did it sing? At one point one of the actors says something about "communication" but I'm lost. I didn't know anything about an alien presence until I read your essay and then I became really confused. Why did the aliens make the stone sing? Why isn't there mention of aliens by the actors? All they say is that is was buried millions of years ago. Those are just a few of the problems on a very long list that I had with the movie. The first time I viewed it I thought it was going to be really cool considering the opening imagery. But as the movie went on, I had trouble staying awake amidst the music and the "realistic movements" as you put it. I thought the singing stone would be accurately revealed but the continuity of the scenes surrounding it made me laugh with disgust. One final thought is that I also found the acting to be a bit sub-par. If it weren't for the fact that this movie was first a novel, it would be thrown into the annals of movie history as just another bad "B" movie with crappy special effects. As the movie drew on ever so slowly, I constantly felt like kicking it right in the groin. If you would like to e-mail me please send it to my campus address: rycg@grove.iup.edu Sincerely, Rick Hoover Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 19:44:29 -0700 From: John Fay [fayjohnr@sparky3.arc.net] Dear Sir or Madam, I have just finished reading your essay on "2001" with great interest. I have seen the movie myself about a dozen times and thoroughly appreciated your insights. I also agree with your assessment of "2010": as a sequel it was a total failure. It was also considerably less entertaining than the book, which (I seem to recall) did not have the aliens saving the Earth at all. You mentioned a couple of scientific errors in "2010" which I need to comment on. In particular, the conversion of Jupiter to a star was done simply by increasing its _density_, not by changing its mass. The gravitational collapse would increase the temperature (in theory, at least; I haven't done the calculations) to the point at which fusion would start. But since the mass wouldn't change, none of the orbits of the celestial bodies in the solar system would be affected. To an extremely good approximation, the planet Jupiter can be considered as a mathematical point in gravitational calculations. A second matter had to do with the effects of the second sun on the ecology of the Earth. While this isn't my field, I can still make a couple of educated guesses. Jupiter would be, on average, about 5 times as far from the earth as the sun is (the range is 4 to 6, depending on which side of the sun the two planets are.) Its mass is about one-thousandth that of the sun so (assuming a similar density) its projected area would be one hundredth that of the sun. The energy from Jupiter hitting the Earth would thus range from 1/1600 to 1/3600 that of the Sun. This is an order of magnitude less than the effect of the elliptic nature of the Earth's orbit around the sun. It would probably make things a bit warmer, but it is also less than the difference between winter and summer in the temperate latitudes. Of course, the effect on the ecology would indeed be tremendous. I'd need to run a weather model (which I don't have) to see what the effect on the atmospheric temperature would be. Thank you, first for a very interesting and informative essay, and second for your attention on these minor matters. Sincerely, John Fay From: "Mario vilches" [mario_vilches@hotmail.com] Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 16:59:35 -0300 Hi people! I'm very sorry but my english is too bad for the things I would like to say about the movie, and since the net is global perhaps you Modemac could let me paste my comments of the film and your essay in my native languaje : spanish. Thanks. Como muchos ya han dicho : gracias Modemac por tu ensayo, confirm y me mostr muchos "puntos de vista" muy interesantes. Me gustara partir con la parte tcnica del film : la direccin de arte es brillante, no s quien fue el director de arte pero es tan magistral como la pelcula misma. Lo que han comentado sobre las formas es un ejemplo, lo circular es lo humanamente comprendido y lo elevado o incomprensible, rectangular. El ritmo, el tiempo y la narracin flmica, todo tiene su razn de ser. Esto ltimo es lo que Kubrick logra como un maestro : mantener una lnea narrativa fiel. La pelcula parte desde un punto de vista omnipotente, distante, sabio, fro y logra mantenerlo durante toda la pelcula; nosotros los espectadores somos como los llamados "aliens" que presenciamos la evolucin del hombre sin involucrarnos emocionalmente pero s intelectualmente (a excepcion de la llegada del dr. Floyd a la base espacial, que es una maravillosa pieza de ballet). Los significados son infinitos, tan infinitos como nuestras propias culturas nos van moldeando. Un smbolo por s no es nada si no el valor que le otorgamos, por eso muchos vimos (me incluyo) que el monolito era la representacin de lo divino, de la existencia de Dios (catlicos que somos los latinos), otros lo vieron como "aliens" (con razonamientos muy lgicos por cierto). Pero todas estas diferencias tienen un punto de encuentro : la dependencia del hombre en otros entes para su propia existencia, crecimiento y evolucin. A mi me gustara desviar la discusin a otros puntos ms que quien dijo o no dijo,o hizo o no hizo; el ensayo de Modemac respecto al hombre y sus herramientas la encuentro genial y como tema muy interesante de debatir. No he encontrado a ninguno que haya podido dar una contraparte a lo planteado por Modemac, por lo que considero que la gran mayora lo acepta. La raza humana como raza no tena futuro, era y es un animal muy en desventaja; es slo pensar qu sera de uno si le privan de todo y lo tiran en la selva... no duramos un slo da en el ciclo natural de la vida. Nos hemos convertido en seres anti-naturales. Todo lo que producimos es una aberracin y un ataque a la naturaleza. Aunque todo lo que utilizamos es natural, nada de lo que sale de nuestras manos vuelve al ciclo natural, al contrario todo lo que sale de nosotros destruye, no recicla. S, puede ser un discurso un poco ambientalista pero es cierto. Los animales pueden matarse, comerse, pudrirse pero todo funciona dentro de un ciclo donde todo tiene un sentido y una funcin; todo se recicla y se mantiene. Es aqu donde uno puede aceptar un concepto de pecado original, el hombre rompi el ciclo natural y qued desterrado del paraso; alguien puede decirme cmo podemos volver a una vida naturalmente animal, una especie de tarzn si lo quieren banalizar?. La idea de la dependencia del hombre hacia sus instrumentos : el hombre evolucion como por un "regalo divino" cuya finalidad era la supervivencia, pero el segundo acto fue la matanza de otro igual. Hoy en da nuestra dependencia hacia los instrumentos parece ser nuestra condena, contaminamos para vivir; siendo que a este ritmo moriremos por nuestra solucin de supervivencia. Casi todo lo divino lo hemos degenerado por nuestra incapacidad de crecer. Hay miles de ejemplos, el que ms me indigna es la eterna lucha de las religiones : matarse porque unos dicen Dios otros Al cuando a la larga es el mismo y cuyo mensaje es "amen y perdonen al prjimo"; otro el del sexo: la supuesta mxima expresin de amor y de procreacin divina ya se acepta como una degeneracin humana y convierte al hombre exclavo "de su instrumento" borrando toda posibilidad de intelecto y de crecimiento espiritual con su pareja. Creo que Kubrick nos enfrenta a una realidad terrible y es que el hombre por si slo no puede llegar a ningn lado que depende de algo divino para poder avanzar como especie, mientras tanto nos iremos convirtiendo cada vez ms en exclavos de nuestra propia creacin... Kubrick al final, da un "happy ending" una esperanza de que ese momento de crecimiento llegar pero francamente a como avanzamos hoy creo que lo nico cierto es que si ese da llegar, ser slo UN HUMANO, un Dave B. el que evolucionar. Gracias Mario Vilches mario_vilches@hotmail.com From: "Glenn J. Christensen" [mailto:centro@gte.net] Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 18:43:16 -0700 Many thanks for your essay. 2001 is likely my favorite movie also. In addition, I think it signaled the end of "old-time" science fiction, as reflected in the movies. (Not that it wasn't a one-of-a-kind just the same). I do like my interpretation of HAL's actions a bit better than yours. I think it is insufficient to think that HAL was trying to cover up a mistake. In fact, during my first viewing of the movie, I concluded that HAL created the AE-35 unit failure purposely while fishing around for a way to deal with the humans who did not understand the gravity of the mission. His asking Dave about the mission, and Dave's evident ignorance, must have been viewed as a threat to mission success by HAL. I.e., HAL isn't malfunctioning - rather he's functioning much too well! (Note that the "failure" occurs hot on the heels of Dave's apparent admission of ignorance about "odd" aspects of the mission). The reasons for HAL's actions as explained in the follow-on movie, 2010, I just ignore. That movie was made in a different time for another audience - not to mention that Kubrick wasn't involved. Thanks again. After 30 years I still enjoy talking about that movie. http://home1.gte.net/centro/index.htm From: "Mario vilches" [mario_vilches@hotmail.com] Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 12:06:57 -0300 Hi there! I'm a chilean, so please excuse my english writing. An incredible great movie that took me more than a decade to understand it. I haven't even born yet when it was released. Actually I was born in Brazil but I were in Costa Rica with only 10 years when I saw it for the first time in a re-run, and the movie obviously had spanish subtitles wich I hardly understand it !!... imagine if I could get the meaning of the movie in that time, it was like I was deaf, only got the image but not the languaje. Anyway I loved it right away, the rithm, the photography, the music... since then I guess I've seen this movie perhaps 15 times, and as in a good book, every time I've found something new; but you work and of the others it's excelent... the ideas about the shapes, the food, but above all the idea of the dependance of men on tools!. That idea have been around my head ever since I read your essay and it's so true, so simple, so evident but also so scary, because it reflects that we, the human race, have been allways dependant on something external or divine to survive, to live and to evolve, but on our own we can't. If there's an original sin, I guess it was when man broke the natural cicle of live with this "evolved" thinking (obviously from an outside/divine force) and took control of his own destiny. The idea of the original sin that let us out of the paradise it's reflected on this concept because even if we try to go back to live in nature with nothing more than our naked body like every other animal we could not survive a single day!. We are out of the natural cicle and we are slaves to our own tools to save-the-day. For me, the gift of the aliens were that, even if we as a race didn't got a chance to survive, but we were the ones who were thinking, they allowed us to survive but with the mission to evolve in spirit... but the second thing we did was "the killing of others like us"... we didn't learned a thing!, and so in our days. Everything we took from nature came out from our hands only to destroy nature, there's anything we produce that doesn't destroy, but we are so arrogant with our capabilities that we excuse all this with the idea that we are an evolved race; but since the days of the moon-watcher we haven't evolve a single thing. All the "gift" we received we destroyed it, like (for example) religion.... a way to be in contact, in soul, with "the one"; but how many peolple have been killed in the name of God, how many people are still killing each other just because one's praying for God and the other for Al... at last they're the same, with the same message : love and forgive your neighboard...how many?... MILLIONS have been killed!!. Other idea, sex; the ultimate expression of love and procreation...what is it today? an ingenuos concept, nothing more than a failed illusion?... self satisfaction, pleasure, not caring; meat-market, degeneration, rape... and so on.? Dependance on money, on sex... on POWER!, like the moon-watcher "now I got the power" after he learned how to kill. For me, this Kubrick movie is like a desperate act of hope, that somewhere in the future man could learn back to thing again like early days of the moon-watcher but hoping this time we can evolve finally to another higher lever wich in his movie we did... at least one of us. Sorry for the mood, but this is how I feel about the movie; one of my favorites. mario_vilches@hotmail.com From: "nate schultz" [schultz@netconx.net] Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 20:33:11 -0500 hello, i appreciated reading your analysis of 2001. Others views are always nice to have. I am not sending this mail to try and cut down your ideas at all. Rather I am just presenting you with a brief few of my ideas. I came away from 2001 with the idea that the film is not for analysis at the common conscience level. After seeing it the first time I had this undescribable feeling. Thoughts with no words to fit. the film itself is a puzzle much as life is a puzzle. The film is one cosmic metaphor for life. Not just life as we know it, but the very essence of "life" The monolith represents the giver of the lifeforce, or GOD as we would attempt to describe it. The monolith transcends all things. It is alive without really being "alive" as living creatures are. As my thoughts progress from this point I can not even begin to put them into words. The film is far more important than most realize. All life travels in a circle, the aging of dave and the star child's birth shows us that eternity runs circular, not linear. All things that ever have been shall come again. I guess most of my ideas come from my over active philosophic brain. Hell, it may sound like a bunch of shit to you but it is what I have come away with. There are more ideas and such, but mere discussion of it leads in a circle, such is life..... just a friendly reply, take it how you will thanks for your in depth analysis though.... nate 20 Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 19:11:36 -0300 From: None [lobos@fractal.com.br] I don't quite agree on your views of 2001:a space odyssey. Not on all of them.In the part "Jupiter Mission: Eighteen Months Later", you say that the astronauts were bored out of their skulls. I don't think boredom plays a role in the movie, Frank and Dave aren't bored, they are just there. They are astronauts, were they supposed to be joyous or something? And pride. The way you said it it sounds as if the movie tried to convince us that Hal actually was human... that's exactly the opposite of what the movie tries to teach us: Hal is just an immitator, a dead, lifeless thing that just seems like human,and maybe "pride" was in his program. Hal is nothing but, as you said, a tool, a stone, a thing. Besides he didn't even make a mistake, if indeed the AE-35 wasn't to fail, those who projected Hal were to blame for the wrong prognosis. One other thing: the function of the AE-35 unit is too explained in the movie, when Hal says "we can sure afford to stay out of communication for the short period of time it will take to replace it (the AE-35)", and maybe in some other part. I don't quite remember all because the last time I saw the movie was almost a year ago. The movie was (is) simply a short critical and analytical history of man and in between it also reminds us that tools are tools and stuff like faster Pentiums or shiny cars are nothing but tools and won't make our lives better unless we become conscious of our role in the Universe: Intellingent Rational Living Beings. And not some Bureau Machine or what's one step ahead, the Heuristically Algorithmic guy we love. In other ways your analysis was OK, but criticisms are of more help. You can use my e-mail if it's any good on your page if you want to. I live in Brazil, where I was born, 19 years, 1 month and 26 days or so before Hal "became operational". There are some other disagreements to your opinions that I have but I don't remember right now, so I'm sending you this for now. Write me back. This conversation can serve no purpose anymore, Goodbye, MOPC Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 02:23:28 EDT I agreed with most of Your interpretation of 2001: A Space Odyssey on superficial principle. However on most points I feel that there is even more meaning. This is one of the those rare films that no matter how deep you delve into it to find meaning, you always have to delve deeper. The first time I saw 2001 was late December 1997 when it was showed on the TNT cable channel hosted by Bruce Boxleitner and another gentleman from Babylon 5. It struck a cord a cord with Me. And over the next few months I read all four of the odyssey books. 2001, 2010, 2061, and 3001. Plus i saw the film 2010. I didn't care much for 2061, even though it too had it's own value, the rest I thought were excellent pieces of literature and I along with others who've emailed You suggest You read them. One particular point I agree with You on is the nature of the beings behind the monoliths. I do believe they were highly advanced alien superbeings, not at all God. The reason for this is really quite simple, that's what it says in the novel 2001. I also recently read "the lost worlds of 2001". It contained a little information written by arthur c. clarke about the formation of the story. The bulk of it was earlier versions of the story. Such as a much longer, and far to literal, account of how the man-apes were educated, an alternate account of the events that transpired about the Discovery and of what happened on Bowman's trip through the star gate. There, He was taken through an alien city and actually sees the beings behind all of this. There is also some humor in this section which is lacking in the book and movie, which i think is for the better. I like their dead-pan demeanor. All in all though, I think Clarke made good choices in what He would put in the book. The prototypes were pretty sorry. There is another point I would like to make about the God-Theory. I wasn't shocked to see Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's names on a celebrity atheist's site in the agnostic (or not enough information) section. Kubrick, in an interview for playboy magazine, blasted the common speculation that the "force" in 2001 is God. It is common, as Kubrick pointed out, to call things that seem way out of our league "God". Now, I don't recall Him straightforward saying that it was aliens either. I think that other emailers are correct in saying that even Kubrick wasn't sure what the movie was about. Perhaps His blasting of the "God-Theory" was merely what He thought the movie meant personally. But since Clarke is also an agnostic/atheist, I highly doubt the "God-Theory". I also agreed with the emailer who pointed out the "authoritarian, shut-up and sit-down" quality of the conference room scene. This goes back to the chief song of the film "Thus Spoke Zarasustra". The poem of the same name by Nieteseche not only parallels the theme in the film of the arival of supermen but also heralds the death of God (another theme in the film, although I am not an atheist) and the death of democracy. When You don't have democracy You have the type of totalitarianism of the conference room scene. The death of democracy is also prevelent in other segments of the film. Bowman and Poole being kept in the dark about the true mission, their manipulation by HAL's "crew psychology report" and finally, the monolith functions on a "for your own good" scale. It advances man without asking if that's what He wants. In the novel 2010 Dr. Floyd expresses that He feels pity, not envy, for what Bowman has become. You would think that He would envy the fact that He's become an omnipotent immortal superbeing. Then there's the segment in both the 2010 novel and film where He returns to His mother and wife to say good-bye. And the scene in 2010 when He appears to Floyd. You can detect a note of sadness on Bowman's face and in His voice. He obviously does not like what He's become. It happened against His will. He was made into this by a race of exlorer aliens who believe there is nothing more to existence then to evolve. That We know is not true. Dave was happier as a mortal man dependent on material things. He is saddened with the knowledge He'll never again experiene the giving and receiving of love with His wife, or enjoy good times with His mother or any of the other things We take for granted. Omnipotence isn't all it's cracked up to be. Perhaps a message we should learn from this is that we should focus more on grabbing hold of the people we love and keeping them at our side rather then performing atmospheric tests on Jupiter to see if storms pour out hydrogen or CO2, or trying to contact extraterrestrials (not that these are things We shouldn't do, but that We shouldn't let them strip us of Our Humanity like happened to Bowman and Poole, even before Bowman encountered the monolith). The death of democracy at the hands of aliens driven soley by the head and not by the heart is at the heart of this film's message. And finally, I agree in part with your criteque of 2010. When I saw it I always felt that it was somehow a poor sequel to 2001. When I read Your essay I figured out Why. Not because of the so-called inconsistensies in plot but because of the simple error of having sound in space. That's what bothered Me all the time. However I don't believe it betrayed 2001. 2001 parallels the story of Odysseus. After He was transformed He returned to Ithica, His home. Bowman, after being the lone survivor of the madness of HAL (as Odysseus was also the lone survivor), was transformed and returned to Earth, His home. Odysseus then destroyed Ithica, Clarke was asked this and He said that here they differ, for Bowman did not destroy Earth. He began the process of saving it by destroying the orbiting bomb in 2001 the novel (which is similar to what the bone in the film turned into. A craft carrying nuclear weapons). And the emailer was correct in that the transformation of Jupiter into a star in 2010 the film coinciding with the approaching war on Earth (in the novel 2010 there was no war sub-plot) was strictly a coincidence and part of a new experiment. The star named Lucifer (bringer of light) in the novel was much smaller then the sun I think. Plus in the novel it does say that Earth's eco-system was changed slightly by this. And I don't see Bowman's use of HAL and the Discovery in 2010 as being a come down from omnipotence. He did not do it for His own benefit, He did it to send the warning to stay away from Europa to the primitive Humans. He still cared for them. In the novel 2010 there is a moving segment where Bowman pleads with the aliens to allow Him to warn those aboard the Leonov of the imminent transformation of Jupiter into a star so they can escape. They reluctantly allow Him to, if for no other purpose but to humor Him. Another example of the aliens coldness. This does not mean the aliens are evil. They are not. They are just so far above us that We seem unimportant to them other then the fact that they view us a scientific experiment. The same way Our scientists experiment with bacteria. They put little value on them and kill and maim them without a second thought. Are they evil? I don't think so. It's all part of a grand experiment that Humans are only a small part of. Well, i hope You enjoyed My two cents worth as much as I enjoyed Your essay. I also hope You'll post this so all others can see. HardWareDD