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2061: Odyssey Three Mass Market Paperback – April 13, 1989
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From Library Journal
Fifty years after the alien message forbidding humans to approach the moon Europa, an expedition to Halley's Comet is forced to violate the prohibition in the name of mercy. Though lacking the lyrical prose of The Songs of Distant Earth , Clarke's latest addition to the story begun in 2001: a space odyssey will entertain fans of the "black monolith." For large sf collections. JC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
From the Inside Flap
Arthur C. Clark, creator of one of the world's best-loved science fiction tales, revisits the most famous future ever imagined in this NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, as two expeditions into space become inextricably tangled. Heywood Floyd, survivor of two previous encounters with the mysterious monloiths, must again confront Dave Bowman, HAL, and an alien race that has decided that Mankind is to play a part in the evolution of the galaxy whether it wishes to or not.
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Top Customer Reviews
The only reason that I didn't give this one 5 stars is because the characters themselves were not very interesting. I really didn't connect with any of them, so there was little sense of peril when things started to go badly. I just felt like a passive observer waiting for the outcome to unfold. But I could definitely see myself reading this one again later.
2061: Odyssey Three is a contrast to the earlier books in the 20xx universe. Where 2001 and 2010 were both fairly intense books, with a strong degree of antagonism (whether it be from a person or a hostile environment) and even a little bit of a fear factor, 2061 showcases Clarke as a master story teller - because it's only through his mastery of prose that Clarke can write a book that's almost entirely a fluff piece and still spin a tale that people want to read. To me, 2061 felt, very literally, like a group of youngsters sitting around a fireplace begging grandpa to "tell us about the time you went to Haley's comet" one more time. The fairly short novel (hardcover clocks in at 204 pages) really lacks any sort of antagonistic element, and is more a simple adventure story with a lot of flashbacks and other odds and ends.
While a good story, told by a sci-fi master, I kept wanting a little more from it. The "exciting" part of the book really doesn't start until we're over 100 pages in (keeping in mind that's nearly halfway through the book), when the star ship that Floyd's grandson is a crew member on, is hijacked and forced to crash land on Europa. Fans of 2010 will remember when the obelisk/star child tells humanity "all of these planets are yours, except Europa, attempt no landings there," but when one ship crash lands there and another is sent to rescue it, the response from Europa is a bit lackluster (I wont reveal what actually happens, don't want to spoil things) and I think Clarke missed an opportunity to expand on the cryptic, otherwordlyness of that particular plot element.
As others who gave the book 3 and 4 stars point out frequently, 2061 is by no means a bad book and is worth reading, but it doesn't do much to advance the 20xx universe outside of adding a little depth and detail.
As I opened the book I was excited to catch up with old friends and see what happened in their lives . I couldn't wait turn the page.
I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys science-fiction and watching the creativity of the author's mind or the impeccable research of the science. You will not be disappointed.
Returned, unfortunately, are the long verbatim renderings of pages from the previous book. Here, they are not so annoying, but they still feel misplaced in a book which, though lacking in tension, is otherwise well written. In the Kindle edition, there are also a few awkward typos, notable because they are largely absent in the previous two installments.
This book reads more like the worlds of Jules Verne, stripped of some of their conflict, than like Homer 's Odyssey (or, for that matter, 2001). Clarke is an excellent author, whose death marked the departure of a great contributor to the arts of mankind. Unfortunately, however, this book does not match up to much of his body of work.