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5.0 out of 5 stars AC Clarke is a legend
And this is probably is best known and most popular book. It reads like the classic "thinking mans" sc-fi that it is. A must for anyone reading sci fi, and a good intro to Arthur C Clarke.
Published 6 months ago by Bootsy Bass

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3.0 out of 5 stars started good and went down from there
I enjoyed the beginning but as the book went on it got dull. Concepts were abstract and just kind of weird.
Published 3 months ago by kea


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3.0 out of 5 stars started good and went down from there, Jan. 4 2014
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I enjoyed the beginning but as the book went on it got dull. Concepts were abstract and just kind of weird.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AC Clarke is a legend, Sept. 29 2013
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Bootsy Bass (Winnipeg) - See all my reviews
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And this is probably is best known and most popular book. It reads like the classic "thinking mans" sc-fi that it is. A must for anyone reading sci fi, and a good intro to Arthur C Clarke.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The penultimate space fiction novel, July 23 2013
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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!
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4.0 out of 5 stars At last I understand the ending, Jan. 13 2012
There's a great forward in this book - Arthur C. Clarke explaining how Stanley Kubrick's movie and his book were done almost simultaneously. Much in the movie is left really ambiguous. The book - though it takes some thought - ends a little more satisfactorily. It's a sweeping epic - well it had to be to cover three million years and several planets. Well worth the read!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expected better, May 23 2004
...at times far too poetic for a casual reader like me. The plot was very hard to grasp, it left me with many unanswered questions...although the writing was magnificent and descriptive, it was slow paced and often "boring." There were some very enticing moments but were followed by lagging scenerios .,..
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2001, July 19 2004
By 
Jacob Gest (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
2001: A space Odyssey by Aurthur C Clarke.
Sadly not having read any previous literature by Arthur C. Clarke I will not be able to tell you if 2001 is one of his better works or not but as far as science fiction it is definitely high on my list.
The book starts off with the main character being Moon watcher, an ape man in pre historic times. It follows a story line depicting how it was possible for this creature and his tribe to evolve into humans. You as the reader are only made to see the very beginnings of this and are promptly whizzed away to the future (approximately 1999 A.D.) where the rest of the story of man continues.
The dialogue in this book I found to be somewhat few and far between, which I happen to like. The author does not have his characters drone on and on towards each other but rather carries the story on a narrative. The descriptions in this novel are wondrous to the point that no movie could possibly portray.
Overall I would strongly recommend this book to nearly anyone I could get to read it. I also would like to point out that those of you who have seen the movie should definitely read this book, I myself saw the movie first and was surprised to se how differently this story was originally intended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, May 10 2004
By 
Sarah Sammis "Avid BookCrosser" (Hayward, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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I remember being captivated by the film when I saw it on cable. I'm too young to have seen it in original release. I remember also being completely baffled by it. I stayed up all night trying to figure the movie out. I wished there were a class I could take so that someone could explain the darn thing to me.
That summer after seeing the film, I read the book. It explained a great deal. It works well with the movie as Clarke and Kubrick collaborated. I think 2001 is Kubrick's best film.
Flash forward about 3 years. I enrolled in college as a Film Studies Major. My very first class showed a film print in the correct aspect ratio of 2001. And we got a lecture about it (not my last one either). So, if ever a book/movie inspired me or shaped my life, it has to be this book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Cosmic can be boring, March 13 2004
By 
Bart Leahy (Huntsville, AL) - See all my reviews
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Stanley Kubrick got together with Arthur C. Clarke to make "the proverbial good science fiction movie," and then proceeded to sift through Clarke's works for an idea. They settled on "The Sentinel" and a few bits from "Encounter at Dawn." Kubrick could have made Childhood's End into a film, used the same special effects budget, and made a much better movie. As it is, Clarke and Kubrick have created a massive albatross, a "classic," a visual masterpiece on the screen, and one of the most boring books you're likely to read. Clarke is partially to blame, of course, since he is known for writing about big concepts and remarkable speculative technologies, not characters.
2001 is such a part of the culture now, I don't think I'll be blowing any secrets here by revealing plot points. But just in case you haven't seen or read 2001, you have been warned. The book (and the movie--from here on, I'll talk about the book) starts at "the dawn of man," three million years ago, on the African plains. We confront our ancestors, Australopethicus, or whatever they're called. They're starving, vulnerable, and afraid. Then a strange object appears, probes them, and begins to give them ideas. The hominids begin using animal bones as weapons. The object, a black, featureless monolith, disappears, and leaves the hominids to their destiny. The book fast-forwards to our age. The movie does this really well, by using a sight-match between a bone thrown up in the air and then a space station orbiting the planet. The point being, the use of tools became the basis of human evolution.
We come to the present, 2001. There is regularly-scheduled traffic to the moon (courtesy of Pan Am, which has disappeared and reappeared in the real world), a space station orbiting the moon, and a complete lunar base. It's all straightforward technological speculation. However, as you read, you find two very obvious things wrong: there are no characters worth considering, and nothing much seems to be happening. The tools seem more interesting than the people. When we come to the Discovery mission, heading for Jupiter, we come across two of the flattest characters known to science fiction: David Bowman and Frank Poole. We almost welcome the presence of the schizophrenic, flat-voiced computer, HAL 9000. HAL makes things interesting by killing people. The flatness of David Bowman becomes useful once he encounters the Monolith. Then the narrative becomes nothing but descriptions of what Bowman sees. Clarke, after all, is best at describing the remarkable and the alien, not for portraying human reactions to them. So by the end, Bowman is transformed by the Monolith, and once again we are looking at another stage of human evolution. The book, anyway, is better at explaining "what the ending means" than the movie is. The visual feast of the movie allowed Clarke to write a successful sequel 20+ years later. The second book is the best of the lot. You might be better off just reading that one, since it summarizes much that is in 2001, and takes off from there. Just because 2001 is a "classic" doesn't mean you have to like it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Journey Involving Ape-men, Spacemen, and ET Intelligence, March 3 2004
By 
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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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."
Extraterrestrial (ET) intelligence is represented by the monoliths. A monolith is first encountered by the ape-men. Later, another monolith is encountered on the Moon (where it is called "Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-One" or TMA-1). It is described as a "vertical slab of jet-black material, about ten feet high and five feet wide: it [resembled]...a giant tombstone. Perfectly sharp-edged and symmetrical, it was so black it seemed to have swallowed up the light falling upon it; there was no surface detail at all. It was impossible to tell whether it was made of stone or metal or plastic--or some material altogether unknown to man." A monolith occurs at two more critical times in the novel.
Suspense is created when the astronauts have to go up against space, their own computer, and powers beyond human comprehension (presented in part six of the novel).
Numerous examples of nature imitating the art in this book can be found. For example, consider the saga of Apollo 13 in 1970. The Command Module, which houses the crew, was called 'Odyssey.' Just after the explosion that caused the mission to be aborted, one of the astronauts radioed back to Mission Control: "Houston, we've had a problem." The words that HAL said to the novel's astronaut Frank Poole regarding a similar event were: "Sorry to interrupt the festivities, but we have a problem."
Finally, this novel was written at the same time as the 1968 movie (which has the same title as the novel) was being made. As a result, there is a close parallel between the book and the movie but there are some major differences. In my opinion, a major difference is that the movie leaves out many of the explanatory details found in the novel. Thus, the movie can be difficult to understand. Therefore, I recommend the following: watch the movie first (to get an idea of its sheer wonder and don't worry about the details), then read the novel (to understand the finer details of the movie), and then watch the movie again (to get a greater understanding of what it is attempting to convey).
In conclusion, this novel will present you with a unique, mind-bending experience. Don't miss this incredible journey!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking sci-fi featuring more science than fiction, Feb. 21 2004
By 
D. Cloyce Smith (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
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For most sci-fi fans, it is impossible to read Clarke's novelization of "2001" without calling up scenes from Kubrick's movie. Unlike nearly all books inspired by movies, however, many readers will find that Clarke's fiction enriches, rather than retreads, familiar ground. In particular, the novel more fully explains the purpose of the monoliths and the movie's ambiguous--and to many, bizarre--ending.
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. Yet, none of this seems inappropriate, since Clarke--and Kubrick--clearly decided to forego traditional features of storytelling (character, plot, etc.) in favor of pure, extravagant speculation. Instead, Clarke has fully developed his true protagonists: science as a discipline and human progress as a whole.
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2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (Hardcover - Dec 1994)
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