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

by Arthur C. Clarke

Other authors: Stanley Kubrick (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Odyssey Sequence (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,970154424 (3.99)369
  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. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 56
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (benmartin79)
  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 (147)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
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 |
“I can never look now at the Milky Way without wondering from which of those banked clouds of stars the emissaries are coming. If you will pardon so commonplace a simile, we have set off the fire alarm and have nothing to do but to wait.”

In "The Sentinel” by “Arthur C. Clarke"

“The time was fast approaching when Earth, like all mothers, must say farewell to her children.”

In “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL"

In the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick

As a 15 year old I was about to start watching a Saturday matinee film (it may have been Thunderbird) when a future presentation advert came on. It looked like a fantastic space adventure so a week later I went to see it. I was amazed - incredible looking spaceships - computers which weren't just rows of flashing lights - shots which looked like they could have been taken on the moon and a fantastic space station. I just couldn't work out how they'd made it in the same way I couldn't work out the ending (nor could many others as I recall because there was a collective 'Ay' when Bowman turned into the Star-child). I saw it again about 2 years later - after I'd read the book - with a slight air of smugness knowing that I probably had an edge on many others. It's a great film that raised so many bars but of course at the time I was far too young to be able to 'trip' out on it unless you include sherbet dabs. I had never imagined SF could be anything like this. After all this time, I still find the special effects impressive, (although it was all done with models and CGI was unheard of). Even the soundtrack was extraordinary: Johann and Richard Strauss, (not to mention Ligeti's eerie choral music). I rushed out to buy the album, as well as an LP of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', and drove my parents to distraction playing them over and over and over again!

I was trained as a Physicist and a Computer Scientist, and have a literal turn of mind, but this is the only film (along with “Blade Runner” ‘82). I can immerse myself in and experience on a totally emotional level - and relish the lack of dialogue. The film just draws you in, takes you on a roller-coaster ride, and leaves you awe struck with its final scene as the camera pans back from the star-child, and one see the Earth behind him. Absolutely bloody amazing. This is the film that explodes the dreary 'must have characters you care about' axiom. Wonder how 2001 would look when checked against the rules propounded by those guys who run weekend courses in screenwriting, for people who want to write films you watch when it's 3.00 am and you can't sleep, and you're pissed.

It is always interesting reading the first reviews of what go on to major literary or film classics. It can tell you not just about the critics, how right or wrong they were, but about the time itself.

Reading some of the reviews at the time, you get the sense the reviewer knows that there is something about 2001 but neither has the language or courage to say how he truly feels. Makes me wonder what films that are coming out today will people still be talking in 50 years time? Always keep an open mind and recognise greatness sometimes exists in that which makes you feel uncomfortable, or causes a visceral reaction, on first viewing, I say.

Some things that stayed with me:

- the appearance of the monolith does not produce some 'ill-defined effect' on the hominids as some said at the time; rather, it inspires them with the idea of using tools to kill other animals, and then themselves. Hardly an 'ill-defined effect', when you consider the consequences of tool-making on mankind, from the enlargement of our brains with the additional protein from the meat, and the increase in both co-operation and conflict -- co-operation that was necessary in hunting, and conflict over scarce resources. The scene in which the two hominid groups fight over the water-hole neatly summarises all these concepts;

- I still recall the whole film vividly helped by all the facets Kubrick brought to bear on my mind, my senses and my imagination and leaving many questions that I still cannot answer. For what it is worth I still find a strong 'religious' (there is something more powerful than we could ever comprehend going on here) theme throughout the film's length. Music, sound and visual imagery can all be seen as religions;

- I once read an interview with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. The band did some wonderful film score work in the late 60s and early 70s, for Antonioni's badly underrated 'Zabriskie Point', for example, or Barbet Schroeder's heroin film 'More' (search for their fantastic 'The Nile Song' and play it as loudly as possible). Supposedly Kubrick asked them if they'd be interested in contributing towards the 'A Clockwork Orange' musical score in some way, but Pink Floyd said no. Years later, post-Pink Floyd's bifurcation, when Roger Waters was still grinding his axe towards Dave Gilmour, Waters - evidently a rather ornery bloke but still rather amusing with it - asked Kubrick for permission to use a sample from HAL's death: "....Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?......Dave?.....I really think I'm entitled to an answer to that question....Dave?.....Stop.....Stop, will you?......Stop, Dave......Will you stop, Dave?.....Stop, Dave....." and Kubrick reciprocated by saying no. Equalled perhaps only by HAL's silent murder of the three sleeping astronauts, which gave me nightmares for weeks;

- 2001 is not narrative cinema in the traditional sense. It's the kind of thing that you just have to let wash over you, the way you would a symphony. As such I can see why it's not for everybody;

- And silence, too: no "whooshing" in space! HAL's killing of Frank Poole is still one of the most chilling film deaths, all the more for the lack of dramatic music. (Hint: look up the planned Alex North score for 2001 on Youtube; North only discovered that Kubrick decided not to use his pieces when he attended the premiere! But they would also have killed the film (IMHO), playing to the action, instead of setting a mood.);

- One of the most telling scene is Dr. Haywood Floyd's moon base briefing. The admission of the use of a cover story, and the preparation and conditioning of the populous that is required. It sounds like a throwaway line, but Kubrick is saying a lot here about power and authority of the 'council'. We are back at the waterhole again, the most powerful apes using not clubs now but public relations techniques to maintain hegemony. Like all his movies it is a damning critique of humanity. But accurate. And ultimately hopeful. And beautiful. It also is responsible for making poor Hal lie,making him malfunction thus causing the deaths of all the astronauts . The technology may have changed, but the essence of what’s between humans and their primate ancestors hasn’t at all. The bone to spaceship scene showed the ascendancy of humans. This is a foil showing its degeneration;

- Some people here have criticized 2001 for being dull. Clearly they’re missing a lot. It’s a film that not just answers what we were and what we are, but what we might become. Say what you want but the film transcends space, time, religion and even death itself. Obviously the film is cryptic but that only means it requires multiple viewings. As Kubrick once said “I spend 10 years making these things, the audience spends two hours. Obviously they’re going to be confused.”;

- Only fault was the elongated kaleidoscope of colours near the end. Yeah, the psychedelic sequence falls flat. I wonder if Kubrick would've done that passage differently a couple of years later. Still, a masterpiece flaws and all. I read the book much later and was as stunned by Clarke's descriptive visualisation of the same passage;

(My own Space Odyssey tetralogy, all of them bought in 1994 at the British Bookshop in Lisbon)

- It’s been one of my favourite film for years; I must have seen it 100 times; I got the big Taschen book box about the making of the film; all those computer screens in the movie? Not computers at all; they did not exist in that form yet, they are tiny projection screens,each with their own little projector, playing little animated films of what they thought computers would show in the future. They even had to figure out how to make the projectors play upside down as the set turned around. Yeah, it’s my favourite film, watching it is what I imagine a religious experience would be like, it’s so awe inspiring and beautiful. This attention to detail hadn’t been seen before, and took a very long time to be seen again. Most youngsters won’t appreciate that these amazing glass cockpits weren’t even on the drawing boards in the 1960s, and TVs were lumbering monochrome CRTs with actual valves/tubes inside (and some transistors, if you had a newer model);

- It really is stunning to see Kubrick’s vision of the future from the 60s. Even iPad Pros on the breakfast table;

- Contains one of my favourite shot in cinema: when Keir Dullea is in the bathroom at the end and hears the sounds of a scraping knife. The camera - his POV - tracks to the door to observe the back of an older man who turns arthritically and reveals himself to be... ...Dullea. The older Dullea rises and shuffles towards us but finds nothing and no-one. The genius of this one deceptively simple sequence is that it changes from POV to a simple framing shot without a cut. 2001 is crammed with these cinematic sleights of hand and even fifty years later remains the benchmark for serious SF cinema. Truly a masterpiece. and as I understand it, in that simple series of shots at the end, Kubrick articulates Einstein's theory of relativity. Bowman lands on Jupiter(?), already aged by the journey through the Stargate, then sees himself as two much older men, co-existing simultaneously, before being returned to orbit planet earth, waiting to be reborn. Time is relative;

- The most interesting element is also the reverse robotization of the human astronauts and the humanisation of HAL. The former, with their very ordinary names of Dave and Frank, are completely devoid of character, emotion and - beyond the dispassionate video calls with family - personal life or sexual identity. HAL is the only true character in the film. As extraordinary events unfold, the journey of the human characters retains a prosaic quality and their behaviour remains coldly functional. Bowman seems totally unaffected by the murder of his crew members. Even his transcendent transformation into the Starchild finds him in a hotel suite. I could never work out if this conceit was supposed to be an almost quasi-Brechtian joke, or signalling a deeper philosophical point;

- What's most extraordinary to me is how a film from 1968 still looks, 50 years later, as modern as it does (with a few exceptions). The technological effort Kubrick went into to get the space hardware 'correct', with so much expert input, means that (skipping over the punched card being printed out for Bowman, BBC 12's jazz intro, and the buttons-instead-of-touch-sensors) you can look at the Discovery scenes now without cringing;

- Flat monitor displays and tablets as well, at a time when TVs were a tad on the rounded side; "Computer" graphics: ALL of which were hand animated! (There were (essentially) no graphics in the mid-60s, bar a few experimental pieces.);

- It's interesting to think that had Kubrick included ANY of the 'normal' scenes of life in 2001 (and he did shoot some highly dodgy Clavius base shots that were thankfully not included), we'd see those now as looking incredibly dated;

Bottom-Line: It is still one of the best SF films, and shows up the paucity of imagination and writing in contemporary SF films. 2001 still stands as beautifully and enigmatically as the black stone monoliths shown throughout it: touchable, watchable but still unknowable giving away little but raising question after question after question...Maybe the best cinematic murder ever, when Dave deactivates HAL 9000.

SF = Speculative Fiction. ( )
2 vote antao | Aug 15, 2018 |
That last chapter cost it half a star. ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
I saw the eponymous movie many years ago, and didn't really follow it - hey, I couldn't have been more than 8 years old. Now that I've read the book, I really, really want to see the movie again. There's really more to the book than could be well presented in a film, but seeing the film as a kind of appendix to the movie, will, I think, work better.

Mr. Clark's writing isn't as powerfully compelling as some, but beautifully evocative. I found it very, very easy to fall into the story, and be there with the viewpoint characters - even the pre- and the post - human ones.

The characters were all vivid and believable, which is important in this novel. It manages to be both plot and character driven.

While it is science fiction, it's very accessible. I think it could appeal to a general audience, as well as SF/F fans. I quite enjoyed it, myself.

I'm almost hesitant to read the sequel - I'm not sure where you would go from the end of this story. But curiosity will drive me to find out :) ( )
  hopeevey | May 19, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Arthur C.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kubrick, StanleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eis, EgonTranslatorsecondary 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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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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