The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center recently received a treasure trove: 85 cubic feet of Arthur C. Clarke’s papers, shipped from his home in Sri Lanka. Including a high-school notebook, where the young Clarke rated the science fiction stories he read. And an early draft of Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Over at Smithsonian Magazine, Bruce Sterling talks about poring over these papers, and seeing how the conversations between Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick shaped the development of 2001. One choice tidbit:

As [Clarke and Kubrick] worked together, conjuring up the novel and the film, correspondence reveals a preoccupation with “the Cube” (later transmuted into the Monolith). Responding to Clarke’s suggestion in 1966 that the Cube communicate directly with the man-apes who would one day populate the film, Kubrick instead advocates an enigmatic presence: “We see only the hypnotic image appear and the spellbound faces of the man-apes.”


Read more about the Clarke Papers over at Smithsonian Magazine, and start planning that road trip.