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2010: Odyssey Two Paperback – February 25, 1997
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Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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From the Inside Flap
"A daring romp through the solar system and a worthy successor to 2001."
Nine years after the disastrous Discovery mission to Jupiter in 2001, a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition sets out to rendezvous with the derelict spacecraft *to search the memory banks of the mutinous computer HAL 9000 for clues to what went wrong . . . and what became of Commander Dave Bowman.
Without warning, a Chinese expedition targets the same objective, turning the recovery mission into a frenzied race for the precious information Discovery may hold about the enigmatic monolith that orbits Jupiter.
Meanwhile, the being that was once Dave Bowman *the only human to unlock the mystery of the monolith *streaks toward Earth on a vital mission of its own . . .
"Clarke deftly blends discovery, philosophy, and a newly acquired sense of play."
"2010 is easily Clarkes' best book in over a decade."
*The San Diego Tribune
About the Author
Arthur C. Clarke has long been considered the greatest science fiction writer of all time and was an international treasure in many other ways, including the fact that an article by him in 1945 led to the invention of satellite technology. Books by Clarke—both fiction and nonfiction—have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide. He died in 2008.
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Top Customer Reviews
Like the first novel, Clarke crafts his story and writing very deliberately to create a heavy and epic atmosphere. His primary theme revolves around evolution, and builds upon the mythology he created in "2001" by expanding on the role played by the unseen aliens in planting and encouraging life throughout the universe, including Earth and elsewhere within our own solar system.
He spends just enough time on backstory to refresh readers on the salient points from the first book, but more importantly, provides a legend (within one of two foreword's/author's notes in this specific edition) to where the author followed storylines from his original novel, or from the famous movie which contained slight modifications.
And yes, Clarke provides satisfying answers to many of the questions left without conclusion in the first book and movie.
Clarke returns Dr. Heywood Floyd in this space-traveling saga, but this time in the lead role. He and two other Americans join a Russian crew aboard a starship headed to Jupiter to connect with the presumably abandoned and derelict 'Discovery', obtain information about the Monolith and find out what happened to lost crewman Dave Bowman.
Dr. Floyd is a strong lead and the most three-dimensional of all characters in the story. His motivation for leaving his family on the very long journey: "Four men had died, and one had disappeared, out there among the moons of Jupiter. There was blood on his hands, and he did not know how to wash them clean."
The trademark of great storytelling is the ability to convey ideas and themes through demonstration rather than outright telling. As a reader, I'd rather come to understand a characters' nature and motivations through the demonstration of certain behaviors and backstory, rather than be spoon-fed and literally told of one's characteristics. Clarke does a nice job of layering on the flesh of Dr. Floyd early in the story, and continuing to build as the plot progresses. None of the other characters on board the Russian craft are more than two dimensional, which increases the focus of the novel on Floyd, Star-Child/Post-Human Dave Bowman, and perhaps the story's central character: Jupiter and its moons.
Among the Americans is Dr. Chandra, the parent/inventor of HAL9000, the 'Discovery's' near-sentient ship-computer that killed its original crew, which led Bowman to decommission its' cognizance. Chandra plays a key role as he works to restart HAL with the hope that he can help guide the ship back to earth, but also to shed light on why it developed the compu-psychoses that led to its' violent behavior. Chandra is drawn as the lovingly patient and near-obsessed parent focused on nurturing his lost child. The relationship between Chandra and HAL generate some terrific scenes throughout the book as HALs personality reemerges, including the first time it awakens from it's 9-year-long sleep: "Good morning, Dr. Chandra. This is Hal. I am ready for my first lesson."
Dr. Floyd notices and comments on Dr. Chandra's work: "...to watch the steady regrowth of Hal's personality, from brain-damaged child to puzzled adolescent and at length to slightly condescending adult." "(It's like) disturbed youngsters were straightened out by all-wise descendants of the legendary Sigmund Freud! Essentially the same story was being played out in the shadow of Jupiter." The Chandra-HAL relationship creates tension within the plot as the crew can never fully trust HAL following his behavior in "2001".
"2001" concluded with the Monolith's aliens shedding Bowman of his human form and 'raising' him up to a being that needs no real form, but exists as pure energy. This evolved Bowman returns in "2010" and acts as Clarke's guide to Jupiter and it's moons. He uses Bowman's exploration as a means to delve into the physical nature of those celestial bodies and postulation on what life could exist in those extreme environments. The exposition is detailed and written with a poetic flourish.
Bowman is the evolutionary result of the experiments performed on the pre human man-apes by the Monolith millions of years ago, and famously portrayed in the original movie. In "2010", he becomes aware of how the alien beings introduced life and evolution throughout the universe, and monitor their progression over millions of years. These aliens are, for all intents and purposes, God.
Clarke writes that the aliens, "...in all the galaxy, they had found nothing more precious than Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed, and sometimes they reaped."
More ominously, he continues, "And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed."
The novels in Arthur C. Clarke's "Space Odyssey" series are:
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. 2010 (Space Odyssey)
3. 2061 (Space Odyssey Book 3)
4. 3001 (Space Odyssey Book 4)