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2001: a Space Odyssey Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 2000
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When an enigmatic monolith is found buried on the moon, scientists are amazed to discover that it's at least 3 million years old. Even more amazing, after it's unearthed the artifact releases a powerful signal aimed at Saturn. What sort of alarm has been triggered? To find out, a manned spacecraft, the Discovery, is sent to investigate. Its crew is highly trained--the best--and they are assisted by a self-aware computer, the ultra-capable HAL 9000. But HAL's programming has been patterned after the human mind a little too well. He is capable of guilt, neurosis, even murder, and he controls every single one of Discovery's components. The crew must overthrow this digital psychotic if they hope to make their rendezvous with the entities that are responsible not just for the monolith, but maybe even for human civilization.
Clarke wrote this novel while Stanley Kubrick created the film, the two collaborating on both projects. The novel is much more detailed and intimate, and definitely easier to comprehend. Even though history has disproved its "predictions," it's still loaded with exciting and awe-inspiring science fiction. --Brooks Peck --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
The 1968 book and film that took more people tripping than LSD turns 25. This anniversary edition contains a new introduction by Clarke in which he reminisces about the story's origin. Note that an anniversary video/laserdisc also is being released.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The major plot points are nearly identical between the film and the novel: monoliths from some mysterious extraterrestrial civilization seem to be influencing human evolution at key points in its development. The film and the novel differ on small details such as the destination of the manned space mission to investigate the obelisks (Jupiter and Saturn, respectively.)
That said, the novel often reveals far more detail than the film; this was especially appreciated for the famous, trippy, kaleidoscope of colours scene. As a result the film seems to make a bit more sense now, especially given that the novel provides some insight into the nature of the monoliths and their makers.
Standing on its own, the novel contains an interesting story that manages to stay coherent across millions of years and millions of lightyears. The tension Clarke creates in the scenes with HAL approaches that in the film, although seems a bit too short. The ending, of course, is still a bit weird, but does its job in tying together the whole novel. I probably won't read any of the sequels, but 2001 gets four stars.
This easy-to-read book (first published in 1968, a year before the first Moon landing) by Sir Arthur C. Clarke is the first installment of his "Odyssey" series of science fiction novels. It is divided into six parts: (1) Primeval Night: six chapters (2) TMA-1: eight chapters (3) Between Planets: six chapters (4) Abyss: ten chapters (5) The Moons of Saturn: ten chapters (6) Through the Star Gate: seven chapters.
This novel is classified as science fiction but is so much more. It also has other elements such as the evolution of man, science, astronomy, computer science, extraterrestrial (ET) intelligence, and suspense.
Evolution of man is the subject matter of part one of the novel. Here you'll be introduced to ape-men and how they adapt to their environment. Two major ape-men introduced are "Moon-Watcher" and "One-Ear."
Science is presented throughout the novel. For example, "A man who weighed one hundred eighty pounds on Earth might be delighted to discover that he weighed only thirty pounds on the Moon. As long as he moved in a straight line at a uniform speed, he felt a wonderful sense of buoyancy."
Astronomy is introduced throughout parts two to six. Overall, Clarke gives good descriptions of our solar system, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, and Saturn. All these are presented with a sense of wonder.
Computer science is represented by the supercomputer HAL (which stands for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer). HAL was "the nervous system" of the Earth-built spacecraft 'Discovery' (which was piloted by astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole). "Without [HAL's] supervision, 'Discovery' would be a mechanical corpse.Read more ›
Those who complain about the book's datedness win the argument on purely literal grounds. The year 2001 has come and gone, and many of the "advances" in the book (and the movie) seem quaint, while humanity's adventures in space have, for the most part, stalled.
Nevertheless, what is remarkable about Clarke's book is not the technology, which was doomed to obsolescence within a decade, but rather the science. Reading "2001" reminds us that, while our industrial innovations may have departed from the expectations of the late 1960s, the principles on which our technology is based and the astrophysics that informs our worldview have altered relatively little. Indeed, the novel in many spots reads like a science book, and this impression is underscored by Clarke's journalese, which ranges from informative to didactic. ("It was true that the Special Theory of Relativity had proved to be remarkably durable." "That pinpoint of incandescence must be a White Dwarf--one of those strange, fierce little stars, no larger than the Earth, yet containing millions of times its mass.")
Even the attempts at characterization are reportorial: "Like all his colleagues, Bowman was unmarried; it was not fair to send family men on a mission of such duration." Heywood Floyd, David Bowman, and even Hal (the mutinous computer) are inarguably one-dimensional.Read more ›
I must admit that I've never really liked 2001 all that much, to be honest. The "problem" with the movie is that you cannot today avoid knowing that you're watching something that was made in the 1960s. Most of the movie is set in the future, but it feels like the past. In the book, the annoying thing is that Clarke's style of writing (which usually works so well) is too brief and abrupt, and the ending doesn't satisfy. On the other hand, I do like the beginning, with Moon-Watcher and the early hominids struggling for survival, and I also like the idea of mankind being essentially the creation of an unknown alien intelligence. But I can't escape the feeling that the story should have been more "fleshed out." And, like I said, the ending, when Bowman is transformed into Star-Child, is not satisfying and even a bit disturbing, even if the story in this way does come full-circle at the very end. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing idea, but somehow it just doesn't "feel" right. As an explanation to why there doesn't seem to be any intelligent life on other worlds in the universe (why have we not been visited?), it's certainly a breath-taking concept.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Decent book. Didn't feel as utterly mind breaking as the film, but filled in some gaps the film had.Published 12 months ago by Kevan
Arthur C. Clarke ...no need to say more. Favorite SF writer.Published 13 months ago by Reader Rabbit
After I'd read the book I was researching it was discovered that is was written while the film was being filmed and was worked on by both Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Dexter
I enjoyed the beginning but as the book went on it got dull. Concepts were abstract and just kind of weird.Published on Jan. 4 2014 by kea
And this is probably is best known and most popular book. It reads like the classic "thinking mans" sc-fi that it is. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2013 by Bootsy Bass
I've read this book, at least 10 times, since I was a kid. By far my favorite. Arthur C. Clarke was in a class of one!Published on July 23 2013 by Wade R Church
There's a great forward in this book - Arthur C. Clarke explaining how Stanley Kubrick's movie and his book were done almost simultaneously. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2012 by Glenn