‘‘Somehow we know by instinct that outsize buildings cast the sh
their own destruction before them, and are designed from the first
eye to their later existence as ruins,’’ wrote the late W. G. Sebald in
Austerlitz.1
The September 11 attack on the World Trade Center li
these words as few could have imagined in their waking lives. The ter
of the attack, the eloquence of the towers’ wreckage, and the horrifyi
that we had seen it before (in movies, in dreams) but had never s
thing like it, all combine to produce a palpable gulf between the a
this preface and the author of the explorations of weightlessness an
utopianism contained in this book.
As I write this, 2001 is over, and we are comfortably cocooned in
yearthat,preciselybecauseitlacksthemythicresonanceof‘‘2000’’o
places us firmly, finally and indisputably, in the future. But nothing
represent the future as strongly, to me, as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:
Odyssey. It was the first film, I remember so vividly, that I ever attend
the friends and family of this nerdy eleven year old having little in
either science fiction or experimental cinema. The 2001 that Kubric
collaborator Arthur C. Clarke offered us, back in 1968, introduced
future through the movements of giant space stations cartwheeling
space, as precisely piloted shuttle craft waltzed in graceful tandem
an ultimate and strangely loving rendezvous. The real 2001 was n
nign, as precision flying now turned airliners into massive missil
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