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2001 : a space odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

2001 : a space odyssey (original 1968; edition 2005)

by Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick

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10,214156427 (3.99)379
Title:2001 : a space odyssey
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke
Other authors:Stanley Kubrick
Info:New York : ROC, 2005.
Collections:Your library
Tags:2019, Fiction, Novel, Science fiction

Work details

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (Author) (1968)

  1. 201
    2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke (ksk21, philAbrams)
  2. 90
    Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (riodecelis, artturnerjr)
  3. 40
    Contact by Carl Sagan (5hrdrive)
    5hrdrive: A better "first contact" story.
  4. 11
    Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice by D. Pak (philAbrams)
    philAbrams: Seminal breakthrough works
  5. 00
    The Cassiopeia Affair by Chloe Zerwick (MinaKelly)
  6. 00
    Shield by Poul Anderson (MinaKelly)
  7. 55
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (benmartin79)
  8. 00
    The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson (Valashain)
    Valashain: Robinson's work shows the same kind of optimism in the future that Clarke seems to have. The style and subject of The Memory of Whiteness reminded me of Clarke most but this goes for other works by Robinson as well.
  9. 23
    Titan by Stephen Baxter (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: The stories have many similarities (mainly a manned expedition to Saturn), though Baxter's story is much darker.
  10. 24
    I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream [short story] by Harlan Ellison (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Another 60s SF tale that takes the notion of malevolent AI to nightmarish extremes.

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English (148)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
I read this after seeing the movie many years ago. This book got me interested in sci-fi. One of the big 3 of sci-fi writers, Clark really puts together a great story that finishes 3 books later. Well worth the time to read all 4 to get the whole story. ( )
  krgulick | Jun 19, 2019 |
A masterwork of Science Fiction, this book only took me about 3 hours of focused reading to tear through. I have seen the movie, but did not particularly understand it when I saw it. This book does a great deal to explain more of the scenes and the themes. Split into six sections, it follows the evolution of man guided by an ancient extraterrestrial intelligence.

Starting out three million years in the past, we are introduced to a starving tribe of man-like creatures. Their death rate is high and they are terrified servants of the world and area that they occupy. We follow a character named Moon-Watcher, though I don't know if he was capable of understanding his name. As his hunter-gatherer tribe wanders the Savannas of Africa, they stumble across an anomaly, something entirely alien to them. This is the Obelisk. It probes their minds and attempts to teach the tribe tool use. The use of tools is quickly mastered as the tribe led by Moon-Watcher finds a way to kill creatures using stones and other rudimentary tools. Using this new-found ability, they become lords of the domain and quickly overpower even the animals that were the sources of their nightmares.

Then we jump a few million years into the future, into the eponymous year 2001. Some strange object is found on the Moon by a number of scientists and technicians from the United States. Apparently, for all of his foresight, Clarke did not predict the fall of the USSR. Then again, back in the late 1960s I suppose it didn't seem likely. So this object is called the TMA, and once exposed to the light of the Sun, it blasts out a powerful radio signal. I am getting ahead of myself though. Much like Star Trek made predictions of future technology, we are introduced to something that sounds like the Internet and an e-reader or portable tablet computer. This section follows a Doctor Heywood Floyd as he examines this Moon based Monolith and its consequences. For surely this was planted by a far more advanced intelligence. Not to mention the fact that it was hidden.

So the next section covers the most famous portion of the movie. HAL 9000, David Bowman, Frank Poole and some other men that don't really come into the picture. It is two years later, and we are aboard a ship that has a profound and trailblazing mission. We don't know what that mission is exactly, but we are told about it later. So, as the days and weeks have passed by, HAL has grown ... uncomfortable with his given mission. It feels as though it will lose purpose once they finally reach their destination. So HAL turns to murder. It is a chilling turn of events that lead to this, but HAL is malfunctioning. So Dave is forced to disconnect HAL, which leads to a pretty poignant scene in the movie, but nothing is really lost in translation.

Now Dave Bowman is alone. With his crew mates dead and no more HAL to talk to and while away the time, Dave is let in on the true purpose of the mission by no one less than Dr. Floyd himself. The TMA Monolith sent out that signal like I mentioned, but they want to find out why. So the Discovery was sent to one of the moons of Saturn, Japetus by name, to find out what is there. Dave goes over there and finds what appears to be an eye on Japetus, an enormous sea of milky white with a black dot in the center.

Thus begins the portion of the story that lost me in the movie version. Dave is sent through a hyperdimensional Star Gate to a far off star that is light-centuries away. He sees the remnants of a far-reaching intergalactic civilization, but fears that he is far too late to meet any of the inhabitants. However, we find through the explanation of the book that the Extraterrestrial Intelligence or Aliens had gone and evolved past their physical bodies and found a way to become beings of pure energy, encoded into the very structure of the universe.

Dave is finally led to a "room" that appears to be a hotel room. It has air, a change of clothes, gravity and a television. It has books too, but they only had the covers made. There is nothing in them. So Dave watches the TV screen, only to find that it only shows stuff from his civilization of about two years ago. So that radio signal alerted the intelligence and they prepared this room to welcome whoever came over. Finally, Dave is stripped of his past, and goes back in time to his infancy and becomes the Star Child. Basically, he has the powers and abilities of a god. He instantly travels distances that would take even light centuries to traverse and ends up back at Earth. The final chapter has Star Child destroy or incapacitate all of the weapons on Earth if I am to understand correctly and the book ends.

Needless to say, I really loved this book. It is rare for me to get so engrossed in a story nowadays. If I could give this book ten stars it would still not be enough... Anyway, five out of five. A true masterpiece of Science Fiction. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
I haven't even seen this movie yet, I can't tell if the much-vaunted imagery of the film would compensate for the long tedium of space travel. I can't see how the movie helps you get into Bowman's head, his thoughts and the narrator's hum essentially being the only meat for the bulk of the book. I read the short story that inspired this project, "The Sentinel", about a discovery on the Moon. That had such a horrific undercurrent to it my hopes were high.

Plus, HAL is such a huge pop-culture icon I couldn't not be a little disappointed in how that all played out. Kubrick must have done better.

(Sorry Arthur)

I read this two weeks ago and much of this has already left me, not the best of signs - ESPECIALLY considering how much his others books, The City and the Stars, The Songs of Distant Earth, and mother-flippin' CHILDHOOD'S END (!) are so fantastic.

Goes to show that you shouldn't trust a book that was concurrently written with other media adaptions. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Amazing. I've always loved the movie, but the book fill in the shadows that the film leaves in mystery. A true visionary, and someone whose ideas clearly influenced so many writers who came after. ( )
  vlodko62 | Dec 29, 2018 |
The 1950s sexism is thrown into extraordinary relief by the future setting. This book is divided into parts which are quite distinct. The first part is about pre-humans, and it would have seemed very exciting to me when I was in high school, but now it's just not that interesting. The second part is about the reaction of the US government to the exciting discovery on the moon. This is all achieved as a sort of short story, as the scientist, Heywood Floyd, gets a call from the government and quickly travels to the location on the moon, demonstrating how technology has advanced. This is the one that is absolutely mired in sexism. No progress in human rights, but a happily functioning moon base. The third part is the astronauts' trip and the sexism drifts into the past pretty quickly due to the activities of the true hero, the homicidal computer, the HAL 9000. This is the best part, the most exciting, and the most interesting. Then comes the rest which is about mopping up after HAL's attack and goofy new age alien encounters. Not so interesting.

We owe this book something, because it and the movie grew together, and the movie is pretty extraordinary. The part of the movie that corresponds to Part II of the book is more palatable than the book, because we aren't a party to Floyd's thoughts and the visuals are arresting. The plot of Part III is actually better in the book, as Bowman acts more rationally, but it does not include the "Open the pod bay doors HAL" scene because in the book Bowman does not foolishly chase after the corpse of his dead comrade. Anything to make a movie more exciting, I guess. ( )
  themulhern | Sep 27, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Arthur C.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kubrick, StanleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eis, EgonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, DickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mare, J.B. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Velsen, A. vanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended. Here on the Equator, in the continent which would one day be known as Africa, the battle for existence had reached a new climax of ferocity, and the victor was not yet in sight.
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. (Foreword)
"I'm not going to do that, Dave."
Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
Now they were lords of the galaxy, and beyond the reach of time. They could rove at will among the stars, and sink like a subtle mist through the very interstices of space. But despite their godlike powers, they had not wholly forgotten their origin, in a worm slime of a vanished sea.
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Do not under any circumstances combine the film adaptation (DVDs and other video recordings) with the book. These are considered separate and distinct works for LibraryThing cataloging. Also please be careful when editing and deleting information in Common Knowledge, since this is common data that affects everyone in LibraryThing.
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Haiku summary
Is mankind alone?
A black slab says "No, we're here.
We live near Saturn."

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451457994, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:17 -0400)

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A special new Introduction by the author highlights this reissue of a classic science fiction novel that changed the way people looked at the stars--and themselves. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the classic science fiction novel that changed the way we looked at the stars and ourselves. 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired what is perhaps the greatest science fiction film ever made--brilliantly imagined by the late Stanley Kubrick ... 2001 is finally here.… (more)

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