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

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

by Arthur C. Clarke

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Overview

The classic science fiction novel that captures and expands on the vision of Stanley Kubrick’s immortal film—and changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves.

From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man ventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

This allegory about humanity’s exploration of the universe—and the universe’s reaction to humanity—is a hallmark achievement in storytelling that follows the crew of the spacecraft Discovery as they embark on a mission to Saturn. Their vessel is controlled by HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent supercomputer capable of the highest level of cognitive functioning that rivals—and perhaps threatens—the human mind.

Grappling with space exploration, the perils of technology, and the limits of human power, 2001: A Space Odyssey continues to be an enduring classic of cinematic scope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451457998
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/2000
Series: Space Odyssey Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 44,640
Product dimensions: 6.76(w) x 4.12(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) wrote a hundred books and more than a thousand short stories and essays covering science fiction and science fact in a career spanning more than six decades. Among his bestselling novels are Childhood’s End, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Rendezvous with Rama.
 
In 1945, he proposed global broadcasting via communication satellites in geostationary orbit. One of his short stories inspired the World Wide Web, while another was expanded into 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he cowrote with Stanley Kubrick.
 
Born in Somerset, England, Clarke was educated at King’s College, London. He worked in the British civil service and the Royal Air Force before turning full-time author in 1950. The recipient of dozens of awards, fellowships, and honorary doctorates, Clarke had both an asteroid and dinosaur species named after him. Queen Elizabeth II gave him a knighthood in 1998.
 
Clarke lived in Sri Lanka since 1956, engaged in diving, astronomical observations, and underwater tourism.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1917

Date of Death:

March 19, 2008

Place of Birth:

Minehead, Somerset, England

Place of Death:

Sri Lanka

Education:

1948, King's College, London, first-class honors in Physics and Mathematics

Table of Contents

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2001 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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!
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 :-)
Neale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A classic Sci Fi book that was created concurrently with the movie and is different from the movie in a number of plot areas. Highly recommended. HAL the computer is a classic.(BTW if you take the previous letter in the alphabet from IBM you get HAL - spooky!)
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Humanity's encounter with aliens, twice, indirectly, and all that follows. Slow but interesting read with disappointing ending.
amerynth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since I'm not living under a rock, I've seen the movie "2001" A Space Odyssey" a few times. Knowing that the screenplay and the novel were developed by Arthur C. Clarke simultaneously, I thought I knew what to expect. But I was blown away by how much more I enjoyed the novel than the film.Much of the framework of the story is the same (the major exception being the ending) but it is told in a very different manner (as events are happening rather than through an investigation afterward.) There is strong and interesting story telling here and a better explanation of why events are happening. I found the book fascinating and deserving of its reputation of as a science fiction classic.
irfan_mailme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book BLEW MY MIND!
elviomedeiros on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What can be said? The best science fiction book ever! I saw the movie as a kid, read the book 25 years latter. The book is fascinating and the way the story is told creates an ethereal ambiance.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clarke is a favorite author, but 2001 isn't really a favorite for me among his novels--but that might have something to do with my introduction to this story. My mother dragged me to see the 2001 film when I was five-years-old. I found the psychedelic odyssey among the stars terrifying and cried until my mother was forced to leave the theater before the film ended. Ever after she'd tell the story of how I was a brat and I'd tell the story of how she was callous. So, to a child that last part of the film is terrifying. As an adult? Well, I don't recall my reaction when I saw the film next, or if I had read the novel by then, but I imagine the reaction of most would be what Clarke relates in the introduction. He reported Rock Hudson left the film asking "Can someone tell me what the hell this is all about?"I'm betting that is what sends a lot of people to this novel--and Clarke says some even complain the novel ruins the "mystery" of the film. It was interesting by the way learning this was in a sense a novelization of the film. On the title page it says this is: Based on a screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. Although it in turn was based on a short "The Sentinel" and what Clarke says was material from five other shorts, the novel was simultaneously developed with the film; it's impossible to read this without constantly thinking of the film. Naturally given their origins, they're very faithful renditions of each other, but that only underlines what different experiences they are--the film versus the text. The written form being far less ambiguous and the film more concise.I think that's particularly brought home by the Part I, "Primeval Night" through the point of view of "Moon-Walker"--a "man-ape" ancestor to humans. I think the film wins here: the eerie music of the obelisk, the brilliant way Kubrick with the toss of a bone tool into the air turns it into a space shuttle going to the moon--in an instance saying everything needed about the passage of three million years. For me reading the novel pays off in the last part, "Through the Stargate" because I do find the mystifying end to the film more confusing and thus annoying than inspiring. And here the novel clarifies things immensely.
jolerie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Humans are always asking the age old question of whether we are alone in this universe. This question is the one question that continually drives us to look outside ourselves, to explore the worlds beyonds, and to test the limits of human ingenuity. The premise of 2001 is that there is intelligence out there and we are by no means alone. Since the dawn of mankind as a conscious entity, our evolutionary path has been tampered with, altered, and ultimately advanced upon with the intervention of "beings" not from our world. Our existence may be a natural process that came to be over millions of years, but our advancements, is by no means natural.Half way through the book, I realized with a shock that there is minimal to no character development whatsoever in the book. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about the characters's family, history, or development, which is a rarity in most books, I was still thoroughly intrigued by the plot and direction of the book. Perhaps it is my unabashed curiosity about space travel and exploration, but despite not really connecting with the characters (since there was nothing to connect with), the overall premise of our evolutionary development being experimented with at one specific point in history, and that causing irrevocable changes in our species had me completely sold and wanting to find out what happens in the subsequent sequels to the book.
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a great start to a wonderful series. HAL was intriguing. The whole concept was profound.
johncf1018 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm glad I finally read this classic. I later found out that it differs substantially from the movie with regards to major plot elements. Not having seen the movie I can't comment on which is better. Overall, it was an interesting, enjoyable read if not truly gripping.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ground breaking science fiction by the master.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most influential pieces of science fiction in existence. Both the book and the movie have had their fair share of parody in popular culture, but at the same time, many authors borrowed in part or in whole from Clarke and made his work their own.The story spans millennia, starting with apes who encounter a strange monolith, which starts their evolution into man. Then, some time later, near the turn of the millennium, a similar device is discovered on the moon, which sends a mysterious radio signal to one of the moons of Saturn. This obvious sign of extraterrestrial intelligence (the device has a size ratio of 1:4:9), leads to an expedition to Iapetus, the Saturnian moon in question. The crew aboard the Discovery One, the ship sent on this mission of discovery, however, soon realize that their ship's computer is having difficulty coming to terms with its programming, and is trying to kill the crew.Expressing a circular theme of rising above what you are, as well as featuring some really neat science, this sci-fi story definitely set a new standard for its genre.Sure to please any fan of Clarke's writing, or the writing of authors like Carl Sagan or Alastair Reynolds.
Othemts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After puzzling over Stanley Kubrick's movie adaptation all those years, I was surprised at how straightforward this book is compared with the movie. Yes, strange and wonderful things happen but Clarke explicates them while Kubrick puts them beyond our ken. Isn't it usually the other way around? Hollywood always seems to spoon feed when authors try to make you think. Well at any rate, I enjoyed reading this book version.
Waianuhea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie first. Big mistake! The book is better anyway. I love all the characters. I also always love books where humans are put in their place as not the center of the Universe.
DaydreamBeliever94 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of the many books my father exposed me to when i was 12 years old. While I was reading it, I found it outrageously boring, and found myself counting pages. Yet once I'd finished, I began to think about the novel. I contemplated ever aspect of it and realized how wonderful it was. I realized, then, that it was a truly and it now stands out to me, and I plan on reading it again now.
Radaghast on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable story that far surpasses the movie. According to what I've read, they were both made simultaneously, which makes the vast difference in quality all the more surprising. I disagreed with many of the points the book seemed to be making about humankind, but that didn't make the illustration of those points any less fantastic. Be warned though the ending is ridiculous.
carmelitasita29 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was into this book right until the very end when it went completely off the stratosphere and became incomprehensible to me. The premise was great, the conflict was excellent, and the rising drama had me spellbound until the climax made me sit back and go "Huh?" It was definitely memorable, though.
cleverusername2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Earlier this year I made a vow to read all of the Space Odyssey books before 2010 rolled around, because it is the year the sequel to 2001 is named after and I needed a kick in the pants to read the series. I'm glad I did. I'm a big fan of hard science fiction, where all of the futuristic content can be backed up by solid science or speculation on future technologies. In the late Sixties no one was in a better position to write this book than Clarke. I enjoyed the book greatly for this reason, he knows his material and it shows. If you aren't interested in the minutiae of Lagrange points or the details of how space travel works you should steer clear of this book (maybe use it's gravity to slingshot in a faster trajectory around it). There are two main plots and sources of drama: the Monolith and its mysterious masters and the tragic tale of HAL 9000. Some people get hung up on one or the other in trying to decide if it's Frankenstein in Space or some heretical book questioning the Creation myth and most modern religions. It is both and more plus a lesson on nuclear propulsion. It can be very dry as human drama doesn't seem to be Clarke's strong point at this period of his writing. It certainly doesn't hold his interest. The synthetic HAL 9000 acts with more pathos and humanity than Bowman or Poole. This book is great for being ahead of its time as well as being the best at what it does. Not for everyone perhaps but I did not waste my time on it. If the ending of the movie version confused you, reading this book will make you 60% less confused. Return to movie and repeat as often as desired.
kemeki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey was my first foray into REAL science fiction literature. Ok, maybe I've read one or two others, but it astounded me how different this novel was from others. I can't wait to see the movie because I just can't imagine how you could make an entertaining film out of a novel that occurred mostly in a metal canister. It's a novel almost devoid of human relations, a novel almost entirely in one man's head. Very interesting, but not my preferred reading.
BenDV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Science fiction is something I've been wanting to get seriously into recently, and as a result I think most of the novels I have read this year have been Sci-Fi. So of course I would need to become familiar with what seems to be considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, science fiction stories ever. The only thing I knew about this novel before I read it was HAL9000, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. (I haven't seen the movie yet either.) What I got was a fairly great novel, which certainly leaves me wanting to read the rest of the series, and other Clarke novels, but which I do think was somewhat flawed. I hardly need to describe the plot of this novel, so I'll just get into it. The first problem with 2001: A Space Odyssey is that it is quite clear that Clarke pulled this together from a number of different short stories. I didn't actually know that this was the case while I was reading the novel, but I was entirely unsurprised to learn this when I'd finished it. The transitions between the different parts of the novel can hardly be described as 'smooth' for the most part. There's not much in the way of segueways, and so for the first two-thirds of the novel I was a bit uncertain of the direction the novel was going in. I sort of was, but I couldn't be sure if I wasn't about to be thrown somewhere else with totally different characters, and a plot whose link to what had been previously occurring I would not be sure of. The result is a novel that's very up-and-down and takes a long time to 'settle'. What's even more of a problem is that the novel appears to be building toward some frenzied climax with all that occurs with Hal...and then it slows right down again. What follows isn't at all bad, but it seems anti-climatic in comparison to the sudden burst of intensity, and does make things seem a little boring at times. The second major issue, which follows on from this first problem, is that 2001 kind of lacks a main character. David Bowman eventually emerges as this toward the end, but Clarke really doesn't establish him as someone I can care about very well. We're only given emotional insights into this character on a couple of occasions, and these aren't exactly brilliant. Most of the time I felt rather disconnected from him. It's also annoying how Dr. Floyd is well established as a main character in Part Two, and then he disappears for almost all of the rest of the novel. I would've liked some sections interspersed where we learnt about what was happening on Earth more, particularly relating to the interesting, but largely unexplored, political situation Clarke establishes. Clarke seems to care more about describing various bits of technology than talking about people. Sure, tech stuff and space stuff is cool, but it can be hard to care about any of that when you have no relatable characters to be attached to. Clarke really does do nothing to end the stereotype of people who like science-fiction as socially inept people who care more about machines than human beings...maybe this is where that stereotype came from, I don't know. These criticisms shouldn't give you the impression that I dislike this novel though. I thought it was great, despite a slow start and a slow ending. As I was expecting, it was filled with that sense of awe about the universe, technology and society which all good science fiction has; the chapters on Jupiter and Saturn are particularly powerful. As previously mentioned, Part 4, with Hal, is brilliant, and I also really liked the discussion in one chapter about what alien life forms might be like. Obviously, this needs to be read. I will update this review when I see the movie.
phaga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another perfect example of a book that I could still read and love despite having already seen the movie. Not that it's better than the movie (which I love), it just adds to the experience.. can't wait to read 2010.