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2001: a Space Odyssey Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2000

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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

The 1968 book and film that took more people tripping than LSD turns 25. This anniversary edition contains a new introduction by Clarke in which he reminisces about the story's origin. Note that an anniversary video/laserdisc also is being released.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; English Language edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451457994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451457998
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (614 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Consider that this book was written almost 30 years ago. Consider what has happened in space exploration since then. One can only wonder at how Clarke and Kubrick were able to achieve this. A movie like this had never been attempted on this scale before.

I read this book for the first time, shortly after I saw the movie. This was when it first came out. While Stanley Kubrick's film is a masterpiece on it's own, the book does a great deal to fill in the inevitable blanks in the movie. The movie is unlike anything you have ever seen, very short on dialog, extremely visual. Hence my recommendation that you read the book, then see the movie. It will make more sense. By the way, the movie was among the first real attempts at visual realism with the subject of sci-fi (sorry fellow Star Wars fans, these guys did it first). So well did it succeed, so powerful and detailed were the production values, that it set the standard for sci-fi movies that came after. But, that's a different review.

The book seeks to offer an answer to a few of the most intriguing and fundamental questions of all time; "Who are we, how did we get to be what we are, what will become of us?". It begins with the establishment of a connection between our ape-ancestors and an elemental survival dilemma. How do we survive? The means must exist, yet, we are hopelessly weaker and outnumbered by our ecological competitors. An outside force supplies the seed of an idea and in so doing, launches us toward a chain of events in the unforeseeable future. It is up to us to accept the idea, process it, integrate it into our thinking, and apply it to our problem.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I saw the movie 2001, I was completely confused. I understood the basic plot line but didn't understand any of the nuances. I found the end especially baffling.
Reading the book cleared up my confusion and answered my questions (and created a few more). The premise of the book is excellent. Instead of having a typical face-to-face run-in with aliens, the characters in the book come upon evidence of alien intelligence: a black monolith which pre-dates modern history. As they try to discover who left the monolith, questions are answered and many more questions arise. The storyline was unique, and although the characters were underdeveloped they were believable. The imagery in the book was wonderful: I could picture Jupiter, Saturn, and the moons of the planets as Clarke described them. I found it amazing how accurate his descriptions were considering what we know now about these heavenly bodies compared to what they knew at the time the book was written.
I would recommend this book to science fiction fans who aren't interested in violence. This doesn't have any of the wars or combat that many SF books have. I would also recommend it to technical-oriented people who have an interest in learning more about astronomy.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By rareoopdvds VINE VOICE on May 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have seen the Stanley Kubrick film of the same title hundreds of times before I decided to read the book. As the opening credits in the film state, "Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke". Because the movie and the book were written simultaneously, I never thought the book would be much different. Once I began reading, however, I was stunned at how wrong I was, where in fact there was more than I dreamed of. What the movie could not convey, or maybe even did not want to convey was exposed in the writing. Clarke writes with clarity and passion; not just for writing, but also science as a means of expressing ones own existence. That existence being the ultimate question of man's relationship with the universe and the environment he has created for himself. The book is existential as well as mystical: scientific as well as theological: revaltory as well as inquisitive. The story follows the same track as the movie, yet with inner dialogue of the apes on Earth and their first meeting with the Black Monolith, describing how the impact of this clean, smooth, black mystery impacted their means of survival through the use of weaponry and tools. Following some 2001 years later into deep space towards Jupiter we meet H.A.L., another enigma that similarly impacts man and his ability to control his fate or destiny. For anyone who has seen the movie, the book will not surprise you as far as the generic structure of the story, yet Clarke's handling of the subject completely unknown at the time is simply startling.
Published in 1968 (a year before landing on the moon), Clarke dedicates this book to Stanley Kubrick. Likewise, Kubrick made a similar gesture with his film. This new edition includes some thoughts on the year 2001, as well as a small write-up on his relationship with Stanley. Highly reccomended.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By W. Sean McLaughlin on November 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
2001: A Space Odyssey is the quintessential science fiction book, filled with both inspired visions of the future and startling philosophical questions about humanity's place in the cosmos.
At the core of the novel is humanity's connection with an alien intelligence. The novel begins with primordial man encountering an alien intelligence--an encounter that would forever change human history. Several thousand years later, evidence of this alien intelligence (a black monolith) is discovered on the moon. The monolith, and its mysterious radio signal directed towards Saturn, compels mankind to initiate an interplanetary journey to the distant planet to uncover the monolith's origins and meanings. Unbeknownst to the human crew, only the ship's onboard computer (the HAL 9000) has full knowledge of the journey's actual mission. The final parts of the novel pit the human crew against the "self-aware" HAL 9000 computer. In a stunning conclusion, the true meaning of the monolith and man's connection to it are both exposed.
This is a fascinating book that reads surprisingly quickly. Clarke is masterful in his details and paints vivid pictures for the reader throughout the novel. Beyond the interesting and provocative story-line, 2001 constantly asks the reader to think deeply and philosophically about humanity's place in the universe. Clarke beautifully captures the scientific and intellectual spirit that has driven humanity throughout the ages (from primordial man to intergalactic man).
Most people are more familiar with the Stanley Kubrick movie "2001" than with this novel (the novel and screenplay were written at the same time).
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