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Posted November 9, 2013
2001: A Space Odyssey is a true gem of a science fiction classic
2001: A Space Odyssey is a true gem of a science fiction classic. Known. Proven. Timeless. Et Cetra. One of the first sci fi books I ever read, and still one of the best. Truly well done, as the story unfold so that the characters are having the all-encompassing HUMAN experience. His relatively accurate foresight for humanity is quite astounding. I loved each of his story innovations, from the alien monolith device to HAL to traveling through space and time. Beautifully written. Clarke’s descriptions of the moons and planets and his use of metaphor in doing so was a joy to read and imagine. And, suffice to say, each one of the characters in the novel, Francis Poole, Dave Bowman, and HAL are some of the most famous sci-fi characters of all time!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 28, 2013
When I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey (the movie), about ten year
When I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey (the movie), about ten years ago, I found it dull, boring, and deeply depressing. I also didn't understand what was going on. I decided a couple months ago to give the book a try. It's much better!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The story is split into four parts (technically six, but I disagree with Clarke's seperation, and I only perceived four):
In the first part of the book, there is what I thought of as somewhat of an extended prologue. We meet Moon Watcher, a member of a prehistoric tribe of Men as he uses his primitive brain to help himself, his family, and his tribe survive.
The second part starts three million years after the first part ends off, and is about a mission to the Moon to investigate a strange phenomenon that has been discovered there.
This second part ends abruptly, when the reader is vaulted into the scene of a space ship destined for Saturn. The second and third parts do tie together, but I won't give away how.
Throughout these first three parts, I was torn between giving the book four stars, or five. The fourth part was what finally decided me on three. It's about the last 10% or so of the book, and it's definitely not the ending I had in mind! It's deeply psychological, philosophical, and just plain weird. I considered it a real anticlimax to a great story!
Still, it's an epic, interesting, and engaging tale, and I certainly think that any fan of Science Fiction should read this book at least once!
Posted November 20, 2012
"The thing's hollow--it goes on forever--and--oh my God!--i
"The thing's hollow--it goes on forever--and--oh my God!--it's full of stars!" - Astronaut David Bowman's final message to Earth.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey" is an epoch-spanning imagining of humankind's first contact with alien life. Most people know the core story from Stanley Kubrick’s film of the same title. What's less known is that the book and screenplay were produced in parallel; Clarke and Kubrick working closely together on both.
This edition of the book includes a foreword by Clarke, which provides insights into the story's production. He describes an early conversation with the great director, where Kubrick tells him, "What I want is a theme of mythic grandeur." Clarke certainly delivered.
The story revolves around a monolithic stone-like entity that simply appears on earth 3 million years before modern times. The obelisk explores the mental and physical "skills" of individual man-apes, identifying which have the capacity to carry forth their subtly enhanced genetics. And while the movie is known for it's groundbreaking cinematography and special effects, in equal parts with its story-telling vagaries, Clarke's exposition-strong style draws a clear picture of how this alien-borne object was built to experiment, prod and alter the life forms it finds.
Not wholly through the serendipity of natural selection, but through delicate alien modifications, do these man-apes take the first tentative steps down their evolutionary paths. The alien interference is subtle; it provides sort of an evolutionary jump-start and then disappears as suddenly as it appeared. Clarke writes, "…the man-apes had been given their first chance. There would be no second one; the future was, very literally, in their own hands."
One of the first gifts of enlightenment explored by the man-apes is the use of tools, and the actualization that they can be used to defend…and kill.
A clear theme throughout, Clarke writes on the impact of the human propensity towards violence. Using the monolith's suggestion for the man-ape's adoption of tools as the starting point, Clarke writes that the physical and mental abilities to lay waste to nature and man, up close and at a distance, has defined human evolution -- from the first Promethean spark of consciousness through his fictional 2001 and beyond.
The novel jumps to the late 20th century. Man has uncovered a monolith buried deep below the surface of the moon. Once the 3 million year old object absorbs the first rays of the sun, a burst of energy explodes towards space. After millions of years of solitude, humankind inadvertently pulls the trigger on its next major evolutionary leap. The burst of energy blows through the solar system targeted at a small moon orbiting Saturn.
Contextually, this story was written during the dawn of the space age. Russian satellites had orbited the earth and Kennedy had rallied America behind its own goals to put a man on the moon. Science and technology were at the forefront of culture. Consideration of the possibility of alien life was a natural outcome of this collective thought.
Clarke explores one of the most common themes in science fiction, that of 'First Contact': "The political and social implications were immense; every person of real intelligence--everyone who looked an inch beyond his nose--would find his life, his values, his philosophy, subtly changed. Even if nothing whatsoever was discovered about (the monolith), and it remained an eternal mystery, Man would know that he was not unique in the universe. All futures must now contain this possibility."
The final third of the story follows astronaut David Bowman aboard a spaceship powering towards the destination of the moon-monolith's energy burst. The memorable HAL-9000 accompanies Bowman on his journey and despite the supercomputer-character's renown, fills only a relatively brief portion of the book. HAL represents a step on the continuum of humankind's evolutionary ascent. It represents the convergence of man and machine. As man developed machines to enhance his existence, he took a step further by transferring human consciousness to machine, which, to dire results, includes all of man's neuroses and psychoses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the slow build to human-like sentience of HAL. Following its very purposeful deceptions and murder, HAL says to Bowman rather innocently, "is your confidence in me fully restored? You know that I have the greatest possible enthusiasm for this mission."
Clarke's novel evokes the very familiar pacing and mood of Kubrick's film. The details are rich, the exposition extensive and all encompassing.
The book finishes with a much more satisfying conclusion than the movie. Clarke actually provides an explanation for the sequences of Bowman's final interactions with the alien intelligence, and his own fate. His conclusion satisfies years of frustrated confusion with Kubrick's final scenes.
Posted May 8, 2012
Amazing Plot! I Totally Recommended It
The book explores many interesting ideas about technology and the interaction between humans. The question whether machines are self-aware is also expounded upon. It was a great read although the end was quite complex. A great sci-fi book. Monoliths!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2011
A very smart book...
Maybe my review of this book is a little immature, I am only about 60 pages in, but sometimes you can just tell by the first pages of a book that it will be amazing...anyways, sorry if it is to early but here we go.... IT'S AWESOME!!! th first part of the book are the apes in a constant struggle of survival, they are not equiped to survive the harsh land that they live in, they are constantly hungry and hunted leopards...then one day when they are scrounging around they see a thing...since they are not intelligent they pass it off as another rock, that night they are transformed intellectually. there brains are growing and solving more problems, they start using tools and the first stages of evolution have begun. I don't want to give away what the thing was but you all probably know...then we get to the part in the future when humans are developed and stuff. it gets better as the pages fly by...5 stars!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2010
2001: A science odyssey...
For readers familiar to Arthur Clarke, no introduction is necessary. He was one of the foremost science fiction authors of the 20th century. Though he's published many highly rated books, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a excellent point of introduction to both Clarke and science fiction in general.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
My own experience with Clarke started with 2001: A Space Odyssey, so it holds a special place in my heart. I first read the book - and each of the several editions with varying endings - in High School. What I have loved most about Clarke since that very first read is his ability to explain scientific concepts relevant to the storyline of the book, and build stories that are both interesting and physically possible...
One warning however, in keeping with Clarke's famous statement "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", his endings (including the ending in 2001) tend to contrast from his physical-law-constrained narrative by presenting a psuedo-mystical experience of the central character. As a teenager I was rather confused by this type of ending. Now I see it as almost unavoidable, since any alien species capable of crossing the interstellar divide would be 1000's of years more advanced in technology. The experience would be similar if a tribe from Papua New Guinea with no contact to the outside world saw a missionary use a satellite phone to download weather forecasts from the internet... utterly unthinkable, yet plausibly based in reality.
I recently purchased this book for my niece who is interested in science... I expect her experience to parallel mine. Let's hope :-)
Posted December 8, 2009
This was an amazing book
Though i was skeptical to read this at first i was captivated by it right away. other engagments and books kept me from this for a little while but when i read it again i finished it within a day and was completly engaged. I recommend this book for anyone brave enough to handle it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This bis an amazing book. I really enjoyed this book
2001: A Space Odyssey is an amazing book. There is suspense, action, and mystery. The book is thrilling story about finding and alien made structure buried thirty feet below the surface on the moon. In an attempt to discover these alien creatures David Bowman sets of on a one way trip to Saturn, and the stars beyond.. The theme of the book is space exploration and evolution. The author uses imagery, and figurative language.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
David Bowman is alone at the far reaches of the solar system. To him earth is just a dream. He knows he'll never see it again. All of his friends who started this journey with him are now dead, killed by the rouge computer in command of the ship Discovery. From the Orbiting Space Base filled with the scientists, to the still developing colony beneath the moons surface, to Japetus one of Saturn's most mysterious moons this book describes our universe.
Experts from the United States Astronautics Association discovered an object of alien material buried beneath the moons surface. When it was revealed to the sun it sent out a burst of electro-magnetic waves to Saturn. This scared all of the scientists on the moon proving that there really was another intelligent life form at in the stars. That is why David Bowman was sent to investigate.
I have always wondered about the far reaches of the solar system. It has always fascinated me to learn more about our universe. This book just helped me inflame my curiosity. This book will probably motivate our country or world to explore more of space.
Overall this book really captures your attention. Through mystery, action, and suspense the author reveals what is really at the far reaches of our universe. I would most definitely recommend this book. If you like science fiction and fantasy than this is the book for you.
Posted April 28, 2009
Look at the future with optimism.
This review contains possibly a spoiler. I explain what happens at the end of the film. I do this because the end is confusing if you don't know something about the ideas of Arthur C.Clarke, an English scientist and SF writer who wrote the script for this movie along with Stanley Kubrick.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The basic idea of the film is that the 'Homo Sapiens' evolved from the apes (Darwin) and the 'Homo Cosmos' will in time evolve from the 'Homo Sapiens'(A.C.Clarke). The 'Homo Cosmos' will be a human creature that is able to live in outer space like we are able to live on Earth. Space will be his natural environment.
Arthur C.Clarke writes about this idea ( and many other scientific speculations ) in his book 'Profiles of the Future', first published in 1962 - he calls it 'An inquiry into the limits of the possible' - and revised in 1999 for millennial edition published by Indigo.
Before I carry on I have to say that the characters in this film are very cold and distant (all of them with perhaps the exception of the six year old daughter of one of the scientists.)They are polite but they could be mindless robots. I don't know if this was on purpose or that the scriptwriters didn't care about human psychology.
The movie has four parts.
First is the long winded part where you can witness the daily life of large apes. I presume that stunt men crawled almost literally in the skin of those apes. The special make-up must have cost a fortune. I give the film 4 stars because this first part is extremely slow-paced and is of very little importance for the rest of the film.
You start wondering if you are watching the wrong movie but at the end of that first part, you understand that the basic idea was that the apes are climbing up the ladder of evolution by using large bones as a tool or a weapon.
In the second part some scientists travel to the moon (there are already several colonies on the moon), to visit a mysterious artifact dug up in the vicinity of one of the colonies. We are told that the artifact points toward Jupiter where possibly another artifact can be found, floating like a satellite around the giant planet.
The third part is the mission to Jupiter. Something happens and the only survivor of the mission takes one of the space-capsules. He uses the gravity of Jupiter to gain speed and he makes a discovery voyage beyond Jupiter. The enormous speed he has is one of the most impressive scenes of the film.
In the fourth and last part of the movie, we witness the decay of the Homo Sapiens and we look at the foetus of the Homo Cosmos, floating in outer space.
A professional reviewer called The Space Odyssey a movie with a pessimistic vision. He apparently didn't read 'Profiles of the Future' because if there is one SF movie that is optimistic and welcomes the future with open arms (so to speak) it's The Space Odyssey.
After all, a whole new kind of humans with different and powerful possibilities is about to be born.
Posted October 24, 2007
The Truth has Never Been Stranger
From the imaginations of one man during the space race, 2001: A Space Odyssey is truly a magnificent insight to the future of the world and beyond. Written with excellent prose and style, Mr. Clarke has set the bar for Space Sagas everywhere. Though the events described within the pages have not yet come to exist, it is not hard to believe that it soon will, and we as humans will be faced with the dangers and opportunities that come with knowing our universe.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2007
Posted January 3, 2007
Im an 8th grader and when i was younger i always remember seeing this film laying in my dad's collection of movies. Well he told me recently that it was an outstanding novel, so i decided to read it as part of my assigned 450 pages for first quarter reading. by the time i finished it which was in less than a week, i was amazed. It was all i talked about, and i was constantly reccomending it to my peers. Unfortuneately i seem to be the only 8th grader interested in such a story. This book was full of fascinating details that i enjoyed. I highly reccomend this book, along with it's sequel 2010.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 1, 2006
An utterly boring book
I did not like this book very much at all. The author was very poor in describing the characters. I felt like the author cared more about the scientific point of view of the story than the actual story with the characters. However, I am not a sci-fi fan so that is probably the main reason why I did not like the book. If you are a sci-fi fan than you would probably enjoy it.
0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2006
Posted October 22, 2005
2001 is a book for Scientist you can't read and like this book without having some good scientific bent you may be missing your calling, although that can take some of you decades of soul searching people seem to only learn when they are fifty these days they are so caught up in their social problems. I think my title really says it all one of the most creative sci-fi conceptions ever. The book is actually quite different almost the only same things is a primitive beginning meets an alien object then, they find a similar alien object on the moon when that ape species evolves(yep, meaning that dynamical view of life as oppossed to the static conception of the supernatural religions) to get out in space. Then a ship goes to chase down the signal, and a lone survivor of that mission gets wormholed to the aliens home I guess! Almost everything else about the book is different from the movie there is lots of science to enjoy throughout the book and gee-wiz technology. I took a star off because I thought the ending in the book was kindof an add on, like Mr Clarke couldn't think of where and what the book could mean and go towards a sequel. They say when writing Sci-Fi, to not do or describe science in the book, well, Arthur C. Clarke broke that tradition in this book, and he melded it all together quite well I must say! This book is really the transhumanist bible, or at least a chapter in such a book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 24, 2005
Posted April 20, 2005
This was quiet possibly the best book I have ever read. I hate reading, and I had to read this book for a class, and once I started I found myself not wanting to put it down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 17, 2005
Even though I have a lack of enthusiasm to read, I really did enjoy this book. I am not an avid reader by any means, but this book kept my wandering minds attention. If you are a fan of sci-fi then this book is a must read. I would be a much more involved in reading if there more books like this. Despite my lack of interest in reading, another book like Clarke¿s would definitely catch my eyeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2005
All odyssy's have a bad end!
What the heck. I read the books watched the movie and still in the minds eye it's too strange. Evil Machines, GiantBlack Rocks,Davied, zombies, and monkeys. It just doesn't add up!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2005
'My God...it's full of stars!'
This book fills in many of the details that Stanley Kubrick left to our imagination in his challenging film version. The film and the novel were created at the same time, and there are differences, but the two are best appreciated in tandem. If you were confused about the last 20-30 minutes of the movie, the book will clear it up for you. In much the same way, Clarke's story and characters come to life on the screen with a poetry that the book is unable to completely express. The story of man's continuing evolution leaves you pondering man's place in the universe. Forget about robots and laser beams, this is gripping science-fiction at its best.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.