Clarke has put together rejected scenarios for “2001:A Space Odyssey.” There are numerous pages that show a daily log between Clark and Stanley Kubrick. There’s nothing revealing about budget fights, long delays etc. Those things are mentioned but there aren’t any sour grapes.
This is not a complete novel,novelette or even short story collection. The exception is “The Sentinel” from 1948 which is the origin of the movie. The story didn’t see the light of a day for a few years afterwards.
For “The Dawn Of Man”, Clarke originally had the apes meet aliens over three million years ago. The ET’s gave them weapons and tools but no instructions on how to use them. They left black monolith behind as sentinels to keep an eye on progress. It’s a good thing this didn’t make it since the head alien has a holier than thou attitude that grates on the nerves.
In some accounts astronaut Dave Bowman is not the only survivor on the Discovery. Another has two of the crew dying. No HAL900. Instead the computer is called Athena. In one account Bowman explores Jupiter V and heads down a deep cleft in the surface and finally remarks, “It’s full of stars.”
A major section of the book comes with several chapters at the end with different ideas for the ending. I did prefer what they eventually came up with. There’s no substitute for what’s been called “The Ultimate Trip.” What astronaut Bowman sees during his trip through The Star Gate to eventually becoming The Star Child is not accounted here. That’s good because your imagination while watching the segment, with or without a little powdered help, works better than a rundown of what everything means or at least is supposed to mean. Clark presents three possible endings that involved Bowman and aliens.
One side comments has Clark angry at the Oscars when a special award went to make up for “Planet Of The Apes.” He wondered if the Academy thought he and Kubrick used real apes.
If you can find it, this book is good for fans of the movie who want an inside look at some of the decisions made, what worked and what didn’t.