2001: A Space Odyssey Book Review
Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers here to share my thoughts on 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.
Disclaimer: I took the book out from my local library so even though I read this one for free, it had no effect on my thoughts and experiences with the book. I also plan to buy my own copy in the future.
2001: A Space Odyssey is a classic sci-fi book that came out at the same time as the movie did, in 1968. Both the book and the movie were created by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. In the end, only Arthur C. Clarke became the official author of the book.
Story and Characters
The story in 2001 progresses along 4 different acts and follows multiple characters. The story begins with an ape-man named Moon-Watcher whose tribe is on the brink of extinction due to starvation. Eventually Moon-Watcher and his tribe find a large, clear, crystal object which turns out to be an extraterrestrial which manipulates the most promising ape-men so they become smarter, albeit unwittingly since they have no recollection of the events.
The second act follows a character named Dr. Heywood Floyd who travels to the moon to investigate a possible threat known as TMA-1. This act also has lengthy space travel scenes that gives you a taste of the technology behind space travel. There are also some hints at other technologies such as the Newspad. It’s very detailed in its descriptions.
Act 3 follows 3 characters, who also happen to be the most recognizable. The characters are David Bowman, Frank Poole, and HAL 9000. The act focuses on their traversal to the planet Saturn aboard a ship called the Discovery. The discovery is the fastest ship ever designed by man but space is a vast place and it takes quite a while to travel the distance. This act also depicts the dangers of artificial intelligence with HAL 9000’s malfunction and ultimate betrayal of the crew.
I’ll keep act 4 a secret because saying anything about it would be a huge spoiler and we definitely don’t want to spoil the ending for those that haven’t read the book yet.
My thoughts on the Book
Honestly, I enjoyed this book a great deal. It’s an enthralling and very intriguing book that offers a great deal of great imagery for the imagination. Especially in the last act, there were some pretty awesome visualizations you could get from it.
I will admit that some of the science in the book hasn’t aged well, like how Europa is depicted as merely a dead, rocky world. We now know this isn’t the case and it’s a prime candidate for life outside of earth. The rest of the book has aged really well and even though it takes place in the past, we still don’t have the technology for most of the stuff that appears in this book.
I’ll also say that to fully understand the movie, you definitely need to read the book as well. There’s a lot of things, especially in the ending scenes, that made little sense to me but reading the book has been a giant eye opener and I now understand the meaning behind a lot of it.
Overall, this was a pretty amazing book and I enjoyed it a great deal. It offers a lot of great imagery if you can picture it in your head. It also has one of the most iconic AI ever conceived, HAL 9000. If you’re in the mood for a classic sci-fi book with some excellent writing and some great characters then I highly recommend 2001: A Space Odyssey. It may take place in the past now, but it’s a seriously great book.
Thanks for taking the time to read the review folks! I’ll be back with my next review soon, until then, happy gaming folks!
Shaun Meyers out!