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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,244118380 (3.99)295
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. 171
    2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke (ksk21)
  2. 90
    Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (riodecelis, artturnerjr)
  3. 53
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (benmartin79)
  4. 00
    The Cassiopeia Affair by Chloe Zerwick (MinaKelly)
  5. 00
    Shield by Poul Anderson (MinaKelly)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
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.... ( )
  Tutter | Feb 23, 2015 |
Clichés which were already old several decades before, as exposed by Clive Staple Lewis’ Out of the silent planet. ( )
  leandrod | Feb 10, 2015 |
I enjoyed it and understood it much better than the movie. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
Approximately three million years ago, primitive man came into contact with an alien form of technology dubbed "the monolith". This structure was sent to Earth to search for intelligent life and to determine if any species had the capacity to evolve to higher beings. Man passed the early tests and Clarke rockets us into the future where another monolith has been found buried on the moon. This book expertly captures the magnitude of space, the evolution of artificial intelligence, and paints a picture of credibility regarding the potential for the existence of extraterrestrials. A must read for science fiction fans. ( )
  JechtShot | Feb 1, 2015 |
A few years ago, I watched the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey from the comfort of my living room. And I’ll admit that I did not understand much of it. Frustratingly little. And then I didn’t think about it much more. When I heard that a local art museum would be showing it in the original 70mm film, I realized that the only bits I remembered were the guy jogging around the space ship, the red eye of Hal, and something about a space baby. So I committed to reading the novel version before I re-watched the movie, hoping that would give me some better background.

And it did! As Arthur C. Clarke explains in the 1999 Introduction, he wrote this novel based on one or two short stories that Kubrick liked, and he gave the manuscript in sections to Kubrick for notes. Even though each piece can stand alone, in a unique relationship like this, I think each is stronger when paired with the other. Kubrick’s film provides some incredible visuals that are more breathtaking than the words in Clarke’s novel; Clarke’s novel provides essential narration and internal monologue that is necessary to understand Kubrick’s movie.

I’m no great student of film, but I know enough to know how foolish it would be to critique Kubrick’s choices of what to include in this movie. The things I would have done differently probably would have hurt the movie in other ways. But I did miss the hypnotic visuals that the monolith displays to distract its experimental subjects while probing their minds. With those, I think, I would have understood a little better that the monolith was interacting with its environment and influencing the creatures around it. I also loved Clarke’s description of traveling through the Star Gate—Kubrick made different choices that probably helped that scene feel more terrifyingly oppressive. Clarke was able to get that impression across with words, but Kubrick had to rely on the visuals alone (also, how did he even create those effects in 1968?). And I would have loved to see Saturn’s rings the way Clarke describes them.

The novel itself is a good read. The bite-sized chapters help it feel like a short book even though some chapters don’t contain any dialogue at all. The tension builds gradually throughout, and the plot ticks along. Like all sci fi, it’s fascinating to see how close the author got to some technological innovations and how far off on others (I liked the tablet computer that plugs into the commuter spaceship and downloads every newspaper in the world once an hour).

The characters are a little two-dimensional, but that actually didn’t bother me as much in this story as it has in others. At least here, the reader gets their motivations explained, even if they don’t emerge much beyond their functions. And Clarke includes enough small, humanizing details that the reader remembers that they are more than their positions—Dr. Floyd hoping that his face can be seen in the photograph in front of the monolith, and Bowman feeling dread when he sees the hotel room and determines that he must be mad, for example.

The novel is not a masterpiece of its medium the way the film is (at least visually). But it has an important role to play. The film is simply not able to provide us with all the information necessary to understand and appreciate everything that’s happening in the story. The novel fills in those gaps and then some. The films leaves us with something to puzzle out, but the novel leaves us with something to contemplate. ( )
  JLSmither | Sep 6, 2014 |
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To Stanley
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)
Quotations
"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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:03 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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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