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2001: a Space Odyssey: 25th Anniversary Edition Paperback – August 1, 1993
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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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Onto the actual book:
Having seen the film 2001: A Space Odyssey many years ago and being blown away by how powerful it was, and also a bit scared by it. I loved the way it told a story without necessarily explaining everything, and really allowing one's own imagination to fill in some of the gaps. Knowing that there was also a novel, I had always wanted to read it, but never got around to it...upon seeing this Kindle version on sale, I decided to give it a go.
First of all, it was very interesting reading Arthur C. Clarke's introduction at the beginning. Sometimes I don't like reading such introductions because they either somewhat spoil the book you're about to read or don't add a whole lot, but this one was an interesting read for someone who had seen the film but not yet read the novel. I didn't realize that both the screenplay and book were written at the same time...making this a very unique pair as typically one comes before the other...so although this isn't a novel that simply came before a film like many are, or a novelization of a film that had been made (which is typically not worth the time of day to read), it is a novel written by a fantastic science fiction writer inspired by the collaboration of writing the screenplay with Stanley Kubrick.
Much of the book is very similar to the movie, but the way it is written adds many details without being bogged down...this is a very fast-paced read. The writing is focused on the big picture more so than the characters, but the main characters involved in each individual section get fleshed out well enough that it is very gripping to read.
Being written before we'd ever even landed on the moon, it's amazing how well this story stands the test of time. I enjoy stories involving space travel and a lot of times the era something is written can occasionally take you out of the story by laughable concepts or dated science. The feeling I got from this reading was that it explained things in a way that don't date the technology being discussed in any way that ruins the overall story. Although 2001 is 14 years before the writing of this review and clearly many of the breakthroughs and events leading up to this specific story haven't taken place yet or are different than actual history, it is fascinating on some of the things that are part of our reality now...beyond that, this is full of what ifs related to our own existence within a vast universe.
I definitely recommend this reading, whether or not you've seen the film and whether or not you plan to read the rest of the series. I likely will at some point, but this book is great as a stand-alone title.
There are some distinct differences between the film and the novel, most of them I think made the novel better. The man-apes at the beginning go though a lot more in the novel than in the film, there's more character development between them (although trying to do that in a film wouldn't have worked given that they are primitives that can't speak, but in the novel it works great), you actually see what the alien Monolith does to them, you see them gradually becoming more and more human after their encounter with the Monolith, and you see them confront the leopard that has been terrorizing them before they confront the rival man-ape tribe. There's more character development involving Dr. Floyd, Frank Poole, and Commander David Bowman. Our characters have more emotion in this novel rather than being almost completely emotionless as in the film. The novel is a lot clearer than the actual movie. It goes into more detail about the race who constructed the Monoliths. And I found the part where the computer Hal-9000 malfuntions and starts killing the crew more suspenseful than in the film. And instead of the Discovery spacecraft going only to Jupiter as in the film, it goes to Jupiter and Saturn, and it's Saturn where Bowman encounters the second Monolith, not Jupiter as in the film. The only thing I actually liked better in the film was the part were Hal overhears Bowman and Poole ploting against him. Hal's discovery of their intentions to disconnect him are played out differently in the novel.
Like the film though there are some parts that seem slow which is why I'm giving the novel four stars instead of five, but overall, I thought the novel was much better and a lot more suspenseful than the film. I really enjoyed reading this and I think any other sci-fi fan will too.
The key issue in the book, a rogue ship computer offing the crewmembers in an attempt to carry out its mission, is only at the surface level. The underlying issue Clarke explores in this book is man's journey into the cosmos and brushing up against alien intelligence much more advanced than our own.
I will say, the end of this book is really where the 'odyssey' begins. It's trippy. And for those of you who have watched the movie and been confused by the ending, I think the book's will help give some context.
Overall, it's a fantastic read if you are into sci-fi. For those who don't usually read sci-fi, this book can feel a little slow. That's because Clarke takes his time exploring one or two central ideas in his books, not rushing onto the next. However, the book isn't very long regardless.
If you like this book, check out Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama!
If you’re a science fiction fan, you need to check this one off of your bucket list.
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