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2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
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2001: A Space Odyssey (original 1968; edition 1968)

by Arthur C. Clarke

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8,895140339 (3.98)322
Member:StephenBarkley
Title:2001: A Space Odyssey
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke
Info:New American Library (1968), Hardcover, 222 pages
Collections:Your library, @Home
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fiction, Science Fiction

Work details

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

  1. 191
    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. 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.
  5. 12
    Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice by D. Pak (philAbrams)
    philAbrams: Seminal breakthrough works
  6. 01
    Shield by Poul Anderson (MinaKelly)
  7. 56
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (benmartin79)
  8. 01
    The Cassiopeia Affair by Chloe Zerwick (MinaKelly)
  9. 24
    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. 25
    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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My "Let's redo all the big sci-fi classics" odyssey continues, appropriately, with an odyssey.

"No trilogy should have more than four volumes" (Clarke is a man after Douglas Adams heart :)

There's a huge ambiguity of course, with the beginning of this. The gift of the monolith, is it the evolutionary kick or simply engaging the capacity for violence? That violence drives human progress is still as true today as it was for the man-apes. War and violence. Medicine, technology, transport, communication, the space race. This very internet we're using today. Behind nearly everything, there's this human upon human rage that we just can't seem to get rid of. This is a lot clearer in the book than in the movie, where it's only hinted at.

Ditto the similarity between Moon Watcher, the man ape, who when he realises he has power has no idea what to do with it, but is sure he'll think of something, and the Star Child, formerly Dave Bowman, who thinks... well word for word the same thing, 3 million years later. We are but children in the universe, burning ourselves on matches.

Unlike the movie (written concurrently, but with some plot differences) the pacing is not glacial, it rips along fairly quickly, so this is a short and easy read. But then, I like my sci-fi on the harder side, so I really enjoy the little digressions into centrifugal force, mass vs weight vs inertia, and how long you can live in a vacuum before your internal liquids boil (surprisingly long).

As with all the classics, ymmv.

As to this particular audiobook: The foreword is read by the author, which is delightful. When it went into the actual book, with Dick Hill's rather melodical reading style actually jarred quite a bit. By the time we reached the moon base and he was doing accents, I was about ready to give up. Somehow, somewhere around the time HAL started to lose his mind, it all came together for me, and I ended up staying up another 2 hours just to finish it off. And he does a spot on imitation of Douglas Rain as HAL 9000 (I actually went and checked they didn't use the HAL dialog samples from the movie, but I don't think they did.)

Daisy, Daisy... ( )
  krazykiwi | Aug 22, 2016 |
You know what is going to happen, yet it is still fantastic. Makes explicit most of what was implicit in the film, and is a much better product or story as a result.

Clarke successfully predicted the internet age, and its affects:

"There was plenty to occupy his time, even if he did nothing but sit and read. When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes he would plug his foolscap-sized newspad into the ships's circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important one by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen, and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.

... Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles per hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word 'newspaper', of course, was an anachronistic hang-over into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorb the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.

...There as another thought which a scanning of those tiny electronic headlines often invoked. the more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry or depressing its contents seemed to be."

Yep. ( )
  kcshankd | Jun 21, 2016 |
Finally a book that is as good as the movie or should I say a movie that is as good as the book or should I say a movie/book that is good. You know what, best to read my review on my blog Thank the Maker to find out why you need to read this book.

http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.com/2013/04/blinded-me-with-science-review-of-... ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
A brilliant and ambitious book (at the time) - Moves fast and fluidly in the beginning, but stumbles around after the narrative moves to the future. The ending was kind of weird, and I had to read the wiki to completely understand it, but as far as narratives go, this one was very written. Also, the book is much better than the movie (I fell asleep halfway through the movie! lol). Would definitely recommend it to people who like adventures, mysteries, and sci-fi - whether its your first foray in your genre or you're a seasoned reader, this book has something for everyone (even the biologist in me!).
  meowism | May 17, 2016 |
It is strange to read a book with such a similar story to the famous film, but with subtle differences that arose whilst the film was being made, even though the book came out a couple of months after the film.
This novel does make clear what was only implied in the film, and in some respects it loses something by this certainty, but it also has great passages describing the technical issues of the imagined space flight in fascinating detail.
The ideas in this novel are good, but now appear cliched as they have been used in subsequent films. A good structure focusing on the pivotal points in the story and detailed technical passages made this an enjoyable book, but nothing special.

I read the Folio Society edition, which is beautifully produced with an interesting and amusing foreword from Michael Moorcock (as well as Clarke's 1989 preface), some effective and complementary illustrations, a stunning cover design and an appropriate silver foil slipcase. ( )
  CarltonC | May 3, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Arthur C.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)
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"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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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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