2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey Series #1)

2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey Series #1)

4.3 91
by Arthur C. Clarke

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Written when landing on the moon was still a dream, made into one of the most influential films of our century, brilliant, compulsive, prophetic, 2001: A Space Odyssey tackles the enduring theme of man's place in the universe. Including a new Foreword by the author and a fascinating new introduction by Stephen Baxter, this special edition is an essential…  See more details below


Written when landing on the moon was still a dream, made into one of the most influential films of our century, brilliant, compulsive, prophetic, 2001: A Space Odyssey tackles the enduring theme of man's place in the universe. Including a new Foreword by the author and a fascinating new introduction by Stephen Baxter, this special edition is an essential addition to every SF reader's collection.

On the moon an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications that, for the first time, men are sent out deep into the solar system. But, before they can reach their destination, things begin to go wrong. Horribly wrong.

Editorial Reviews

This film is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America.
General Audiences - All Ages Admitted

In the year 2001 an alien artifact is found on the moon. Tracking its radio signal in outer space, an expedition is launched with mysterious, haunting results. Groundbreaking special effects. Based on Arthur C. Clarke's The Sentinel.
Letterboxed format. Color. 139 min. (1968)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Space Odyssey Series, #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.76(h) x 0.88(d)

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2001 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
jerry60 3 months ago
No Nook edition!? I see it's available "elsewhere".
catburglar More than 1 year ago
An outstanding story; well-written. An alien civilization is portrayed as being so advanced beyond human beings as to be almost completely incomprehensible. The science and technology is very accurate and credible. Predictions are implied in the mid sixties of the technology of the twenty first century. This story became a landmark and set the standard for many science fiction stories to follow.
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Jonathan_Stewart More than 1 year ago
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!
GrahamCDowns More than 1 year ago
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! 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!
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JGolomb More than 1 year ago
"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. 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!!!
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chadchemist More than 1 year ago
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. 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 :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago