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Is 2001 A Space Oddysey appropriate for my 11 year old

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message 1: by Brian (new)

Brian | 4 comments Hi S&L folks,

My son reads way above his level. He has read The Hobbit and is working through Lord of the airings. I remember loving 2001, but I can’t remember if there was anything inappropriate for an 11 year old. He is mature enough to handle profanity, but I don’t really want any birds and the bees stuff. Appreciate any advice!

Thanks!


message 2: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (Nevets) | 968 comments Are you talking the book, the movie, or both ? Depending how you look at it, both (the movie in particular) have the ultimate birds and bees moment. But, neither is sexual about it. I will say that there are many full grown adults who have a difficult time making sense of the ending ( the movie in particular), so you may want to be prepared for that.

All that being said, I very much enjoyed both, and while I saw the movie when I was about that age, maybe a year or two older, and liked the space stuff, any real understanding didn’t happen for many years later, and only became crisper when I read the book when I was in my 30’s.

If you do want to get him reading classic Sci-Fi, there are many more stories by Arthur C. Clarke and other authors like Isaac Asimov that while still very interesting are a bit easier to grasp the plot of. I remember reading the first The Foundation Trilogy at about that age and really digging it. It had some romance, but I don’t believe it had anything overtly sexual.


message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian | 4 comments The book. I’m not ready to introduce him to Kubrick yet. Lol. Thanks for your response!


message 4: by Brian (new)

Brian | 4 comments And Foundation Trilogy is a good idea!


message 5: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4749 comments It is perfectly fine for an 11-year-old. I don’t recall any sex at all, and the slight violence is rendered in such academic fashion — so veddy British — that it feels like an Attenborough documentary.

That said, it does have a 1960s sexist view of women. But they’re such minor characters it might not be a thing, but you should probably bring it up so he’s aware of it.


message 6: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2558 comments Okay, for starters I thought you meant the movie. Now, I'm going to suggest you start with the movie, and also wait a few years. At least to 13, perhaps 15. Then suggest two viewings. One all the way through, no explanations. Then a second one as you walk him through what some of the scenes mean.

Some are obvious in retrospect, some much less so. The bone thrown into the air turning into the spaceship implies that from that early beginning, the desire to go to space would be inevitable. That's fairly clear. Less so, something actually better explained in the book. The tribe selected was vicious yes, violent also. Yet they cared for one another at least. The monolith finds them huddled in a group, some holding each other. Kubrick is making the subtle point that the basis of civilization is love.

The book overexplains where the movie has the sense to leave mysteries alone. Let him read the book after he has comprehended the movie.


message 7: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2259 comments Mod
My dad took me to see the movie when I was 8. We were both bored.

I watched it as an adult. Much better when you can understand it ;-)

"HAL, can you explain what it all means"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu4I...

Nothing in the book or movie that an 11 yo can't handle.


message 8: by Alan (new)

Alan Denham (AlanDenham) | 104 comments Brian wrote: "I don’t really want any birds and the bees stuff. ..."

By age 11 he is probably far more aware of the 'birds and bees stuff' than you give him credit for!

That said, there is awareness of the biological actuality, and awareness of the social situations surrounding and resulting from the biology (in a good sense), and awareness of the bad psychology and unpleasant behaviours that can also result.

Proceed CAUTIOUSLY - but totally avoiding this aspect of humanity is not proceeding at all, and could be as harmful as handing the kid a pile of medium-grade porn.


message 9: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4749 comments Something that gives me hope for the future: my cousin was watching an old game show with his son, who just turned 12, and the category was Women. The question was, “If Monday has always been the traditional ‘wash day’ in America, what household chore has Tuesday been devoted to?”

And my younger cousin remarked earnestly, “What the heck does this have to do with women?!”


message 10: by Mark (last edited Jul 17, 2018 09:50AM) (new)

Mark (mmtz) | 955 comments Boing Boing posted Kubrick explains the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey in rare video clip last week. I haven't watched the video clip yet, perhaps because I'm not sure I want an explanation. Update: the article has a transcript of his explanation, so you don't really have to see the video.

https://boingboing.net/2018/07/11/kub...

I think the book is ok for an 11 year old who likes to read science fiction.


message 11: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 32 comments The movie bored me as an adult...and thusly, I now have no desire to read the book.


message 12: by Tasha (new)

Tasha | 100 comments Trike wrote: "Something that gives me hope for the future: my cousin was watching an old game show with his son, who just turned 12, and the category was Women. The question was, “If Monday has always been the t..."

That's awesome Trike! Wash day in my house frequently doesn't involve a women.

I first read 2001 around that age. I loved it, but realized in later years after a reread, that I didn't really get it. Let him go for it! It may be over his head (or not; I don't know him,) but he will probably enjoy it none the less. It's not inappropriate.

The sexism problem is going to be a problem in most classic sc-fi books. I'm a hardcore feminist, but this is not a reason to shun these books. Maybe a brief discussion about it. Art is always a snapshot of its time period; all the more reason to acknowledge it.

I may reread it too. It's been almost two decades.

Oh! & I disagree; always read the book before the movie!!


message 13: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4749 comments Tasha wrote: "Oh! & I disagree; always read the book before the movie!! "

2001 is a special case, though. It was conceived by Kubrick and Clarke *as a movie* and Clarke wrote the novel at the same time the film was in production. They essentially collaborated on the overall story and then went off to fill in the details separately in their respective mediums.


message 14: by Tasha (new)

Tasha | 100 comments Trike wrote: "Tasha wrote: "Oh! & I disagree; always read the book before the movie!! "

2001 is a special case, though. It was conceived by Kubrick and Clarke *as a movie* and Clarke wrote the novel at the same..."


I love the movie, but I may not have understood it fully if I hadn't read the book (twice) first. The movie is more subtle. But I see your point.


message 15: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 552 comments I took my then 11 yo son to a New Year's day showing of 2001 at the cinema. He absolutely loved it.

The movie is not a plot driven movie, more of a moving oil painting that evokes a series of emotions.

Don't bother watching on a TV set, wait until it comes out nearby on big screen. Then read the book.

(no need for explanations, just roll with it).

Modern 11 year olds have a far more sophisticated interaction with the moving image than I did back in the day.


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