2001: A Space Odyssey holds a special place in my heart. I first read it when I was about eight years old, within the confines of my hometown’s public library. I distinctly remember that it was quite unlike any other book I’ve previously read. It introduced me to “grown-up” literature, ignited my curiosity about space exploration, and fostered a deep love for science fiction—a genre unafraid to explore the big question: “what if?”.
For years, I’ve harboured the most peculiar “what if?”. It even became an obsession of sorts, an idea that demands its realisation. My great desire is to venture into space, and while I don’t know whether I’ll ever get to do it, I wanted, at the very least, to have some remote way of achieving this. Therefore, my strange “what if?” was “What if we make a 2001: A Space Odyssey special edition featuring a mini monolith that actually came from space?”. And so, the two intertwined—in order for a monolith to come from space, it first needs to be designed by us and then sent up there by someone willing and able to do just that. That is, unless someone knows an ancient alien civilisation that might send a couple of mini monoliths instead and save us the trouble.
In order to turn this crazy idea into reality, we partnered up with the company Spacemanic that already has seven launched satellites in their portfolio and is an intermediation agency for launch opportunities. As such, they have secured us a cargo spot on an upcoming New Shepard mission which will be flown by non other than Blue Origin. Needless to say, I am positively thrilled that Amaranthine Books will be a part of a real, actual space launch.
This small monolith—measuring 1:4:9 cm—will be featured on the front cover of our Roman numeral edition of the 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even better, it will be held there by a small magnet hidden inside, so you can always take it off and display it separately. While lettered, numbered and essential edition still feature our well-know flair for unique, Roman numeral edition—aptly titled the Monolith Edition—will stand apart as something entirely different from our previous creations. Limited to only seven copies, they will be exceptionally rare and each monolith will have a certificate from Blue Origin, authenticating its venture into space.
We’ve hinted at our intentions to publish fine press editions of 2001: A Space Odyssey for quite some time, refraining from official announcements regarding dates or specifics. Sometimes, I even mentioned that we’re working on that one big thing and unless we have it, we simply won’t publish it. Well, this is that thing. Over two years of searching, researching, designing, and planning have culminated into this moment—the monoliths are going to space (and back). They are safely stored in an undisclosed location in the United States, waiting for their spaceflight, which means we finally get to show what we’ve been working on all this time.
I see 2001: A Space Odyssey as a story in four distinct acts. Each is absolutely essential to the story, but also stands quite well on its own. First, there is the act when ape-men still had to hunker down in caves, while the monolith nudged their evolution and transformation. Then we jump to a time when the Moon is visited on a regular basis and humanity finds something alien in Tycho crater. After that, humanity ventures into space to search after the signal that TMA-1 had emitted, only to fall into conflict with its own creation. Finally, the sole survivor enters the second, larger monolith on Iapetus, where he begins his transformation into a Star Child.
This is why we turned each of these acts into an edition, so when they are observed together they form the timeline from the story. Each edition is meant to show just how vital it is to the story. Thus, the essential edition became Cave Edition; the numbered edition became Tycho Edition; the lettered edition became HAL Edition; and finally the Roman numeral edition became Monolith Edition. I believe these might be our greatest creations to date, simply because how encompassing they are.
The preproduction on all four editions has already started and we aim to ship by the summer of the same year, immediately following the completion of Catch-22, as they will be printed and bound back to back. Only the Monolith Edition will have to wait for the mini monoliths to do their space mission first, but that should happen at some point in 2024.
As customary, private preorders precede public availability, granting those who have purchased Catch-22 the opportunity to match their designation and benefit from the special matching rights pricing before the preorders go public. Furthermore, anyone who purchases Catch-22 during that time, will automatically get access to the corresponding 2001: A Space Odyssey edition. After those customary three days, the public preorders will open and we expect high demand for this title.
As for the Roman numeral edition—or rather, the Monolith Edition—we will first take signups for this edition. Our lettered edition customers (especially those who purchase all of our editions and have a long history of supporting our craft) will have the right of first refusal, unless there are more then seven interested parties, which means we will be forced to use the lottery system in that case. Alternatively, should any copies remain available after being offered to the lettered edition customers, everyone’s chance to preorder will be determined via a lottery system. We felt this was the most fair way to distribute these books, as this is our first venture into infamous Roman numeral editions.
I know that I’m banging my own drum here, but I am so in love with all four editions. Each are distinct and have their own theme, but my mind keeps darting to the monoliths. I still can’t believe that they’ll go to space. The eight-year old me would be absolutely beside himself with joy.