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2001: the making of a spaced odyssey – book design

Fred Ordway’s scene-setting notes of June 1965 describe ‘a centrifuge, where the crew of Discovery enjoy Earth-like gravity conditions created by spinning. It is here that they spend most of their time and where the hibernating astronauts sleep in their hibernacula.’ A life-sized mechanical simulation of this strange carousel was commissioned from the Vickers Engineering company at a cost of over $750,000, a sum that accounted for a substantial fraction of 2001’s budget. Arthur Clarke’s brother, Fred, commented at the time that the machining and welding on Vickers’ structure was of such fine quality, ‘you could almost imagine they were building a prototype for the real thing.’

Nearly 40 years later, Spaced collaborated with Piers Bizony in pitching for the rights to produce a celebratory book of the making of the movie. Our preferred publisher was Taschen, though Warner Brothers and Aurum were also showing an interest. It took a while, but Kubrick’s brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, was mighty pleased with the visuals and the job was ours… as long as Taschen’s in-house Paris based studio continued with the layouts. Great for achieving the deal, shame we weren’t awarded the full package!