Science Fiction Film & Television

Clarke and Kubrick's 2001: A Queer Odyssey

Science Fiction Film & Television (2011), 4, (1), 57–78.

Abstract

This article is a queer reading of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It begins by situating the film in the context of the careers of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. Clarke is shown to have been a homosexual or bisexual who explored same-sex desires in a number of his later fictions, whilst Kubrick is discussed as having a fascination with problematising normative masculinity and asserting, by contrast, the superior potency of his artistic vision. The alien monolith is interpreted as a visualisation of the masculine closet. Bowman's encounter with the monolith in the extra-terrestrial hotel room is presented as a homosexual encounter that leads to the revelation of the sublimity of infantile polymorphous perversion. Finally, the film's queer liberatory potential is understood to lie in its refusal to provide a didactic framework for a future form of normative sexuality.

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Janes, Dominic