Arthur C. Clarke has been called one of the best science fiction writers of the 20th century. He has written more than 60 books, often covering the themes of exploration, technology, and the future. He has won many awards: In 1986, he was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, and in 1998, he was knighted.
In 1964, Clarke’s work caught the eye of British director Stanley Kubrick, who was already well known for movies such as Dr. Strangelove. That same year, Kubrick arranged to meet with Clarke, and explained that he wanted to make a science fiction movie. Eventually, Clarke and Kubrick determined that they would expand "The Sentinel," a short story Clarke wrote in 1948, into a screenplay that the two would write together. Meanwhile, Clarke would write a novel with the same title, which would tell the same story.
"2001 is often said to be based on ‘The Sentinel,’ but that is a gross oversimplification; it needed a lot more material to make a movie," Clarke wrote in the jacket of the 25th anniversary video release of the film. "The Sentinel" describes only the short sequences in the finished film that take place on the moon base. To make the story longer, Clarke and Kubrick incorporated related material from other stories Clarke had written, and spent hours discussing new plot twists and themes to incorporate.
However, the movie was not built merely on flights of fancy. As throughout his career, Clarke based the technologies described in 2001: A Space Odyssey on science fact, not fiction. He and Kubrick consulted scientists from around the world about spaceflight and computers. Even though not all of the technology has yet been realized, all of it depicted in the film is scientifically possible.
Now it’s your turn to use your knowledge of science to write about the future. What changes do you think will happen to earth over the next hundred years? What will people be like? Where will we be living? What kinds of technology will we use? Will life be better or worse? Write your own story about the year 2100!
Make sure your story is no longer than 1,000 words, and
send it to:
2100 Story Contest
30 Grove Street, Suite C
Peterborough, NH 03458
The entry should include a statement from a parent or teacher indicating that the story is your own and be postmarked on or before February 15, 2001. The winning author’s story will be published in an upcoming issue of ODYSSEY, and he or she will receive a selection of Clarke’s fiction, including Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! and The City & the Stars.