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2010: Odyssey Two Mass Market Paperback – Unabridged, January 12, 1984
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One thing 2010 does is give us quite a bit of back story as to what happened in the previous book, so it is possible to follow this book without having read 2001: A Space Odyssey (you may miss out on a great book, though).
Set nine years after Discovery One’s ill-fated mission, 2010 involves Dr. Heywood Floyd joining a group of Russians on board the Soviet craft Leonov. Their objectives are to discover what happened to Discovery One pilot Dave Bowman, investigate the mysterious monolith from the previous book, and identify what went wrong on the first mission.
It was going to be difficult for Clarke to replicate 2001, which, in my humble opinion, is a classic and superb sci-fi novel. It leaves you wondering and thinking about the vastness of the unknown. How often do sequels crush the memory of a great first book or film? Too often. That being said, 2010 was a decent successor to the first book despite its flaws. 2010 fails to capture and match up with the wonder, awe and mystery that was 2001. Where 2001 leaves some ambiguity to one’s imagination, 2010 often readily answers and reveals too much, which lessens the experience a tad. Also, I thought the politics thrown into the mix was a bit unnecessary, and maybe a little forced.
Despite this, Clarke is highly imaginative and shows the depths of space exploration, and he manages to aptly continue this story. The book does get a little technical at points, yes, but then there are some moments of intrigue as Floyd discovers answers to those mysteries of Jupiter, the monolith and Dave Bowman’s mysterious message: “It’s full of stars!”
2010 could have been a finishing touch to this series, but obviously there are two more books that continue this plot going. I’m sort of interested in reading the next book, although it has been given quite a few negative marks. Not sure if I should leave well enough alone.
Clarke is a master storyteller who keeps me interested from page 1. This is not one of those books I have to read a whole bunch of to get into, in fact I found it hard to put down straight away.
Entire sections of 2001, rewritten verbatim, can be somewhat annoying, and some of Bowman's expeditions on Earth seem more distracting than interesting (the visit with Betty is used as a Chekov's gun with entirely unconvincing ammunition). Otherwise, however, this new book, with its very different atmosphere and dramatic changes from 2001 (largely owing to its altered Universe, closer to that of the movie than the first novel) result in a fascinating and often beautiful world.