Hear Arthur C. Clarke Read 2001: A Space Odyssey: A Vintage 1976 Vinyl Recording

When we hear the open­ing of Also Sprach Zarathus­tra, we instinc­tive­ly steel our­selves for enor­mous leaps through space and time. We have since 1968, when Stan­ley Kubrick­’s 2001: A Space Odyssey made Richard Strauss’ 1896 piece its theme music. (Kubrick, as we post­ed in 2014, did com­mis­sion an orig­i­nal score, only to reject it as “com­plete­ly inad­e­quate for the film.”) If you saw and loved it dur­ing its orig­i­nal the­atri­cal run, long before the advent of home video, you had only a lim­it­ed set of ways to re-live it at will. The obvi­ous choice includ­ed buy­ing a copy of the sound­track or Arthur C. Clarke’s epony­mous nov­el (or, for the kids, to go eat at Howard John­son’s), but in 1976, you could also buy a record that gave you a bit of both at once.

On this now out-of-print record, Clarke reads the final chap­ters of 2001 with the accom­pa­ni­ment of that most rec­og­niz­able piece from the film score, all pack­aged in a sleeve fea­tur­ing an image of Keir Dul­lea as Mis­sion Com­man­der David Bow­man on one of the film’s immac­u­late­ly craft­ed space-sta­tion sets. You can hear side one at the top, and side two below.

If all this strikes you as an uncon­scionable inter­min­gling of book and movie, remem­ber that Kubrick­’s 2001 does­n’t straight­for­ward­ly adapt Clarke’s 2001. Both of those inde­pen­dent but com­ple­men­tary works grew from the seed of “The Sen­tinel,” Clarke’s 1948 short sto­ry about a daz­zling and mys­ti­fy­ing arti­fact left behind by an ancient alien civ­i­liza­tion. Kubrick had orig­i­nal­ly tapped Clarke to write a whole new screen­play, but that col­lab­o­ra­tion ulti­mate­ly turned into two par­al­lel projects, with the nov­el­ist writ­ing to his own sen­si­bil­i­ty and the film­mak­er cer­tain­ly direct­ing to his. Some Clarke fans pre­fer the nov­el and some Kubrick fans pre­fer the film, but those who admire the virtues of both 2001s will appre­ci­ate the exis­tence of this record, in its own way an impres­sive arti­fact of a dis­tant era.

You can’t buy this album new these days, but used copies can still be pur­chased online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Clas­si­cal Music in Stan­ley Kubrick’s Films: Lis­ten to a Free, 4 Hour Playlist

James Cameron Revis­its the Mak­ing of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

1966 Film Explores the Mak­ing of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (and Our High-Tech Future)

Watch Steven Soderbergh’s Re-Edit­ed Ver­sion of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Free Online

Howard Johnson’s Presents a Children’s Menu Fea­tur­ing Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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