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2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey Series) Kindle Edition
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“Full of poetry, scientific imagination, and typical wry Clarke wit. By standing the universe on its head, he makes us see the ordinary universe in a different light...[This novel becomes] a complex allegory about the history of the world.”—The New Yorker
“Clarke has constructed an effective work of fiction...with the meticulous creation of an extraterrestrial environment, the sort of extrapolation of which Mr. Clarke is a master.”—Library Journal
About the Author
In 1945, he proposed global broadcasting via communication satellites in geostationary orbit. One of his short stories inspired the World Wide Web, while another was expanded into 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he cowrote with Stanley Kubrick.
Born in Somerset, England, Clarke was educated at King’s College, London. He worked in the British civil service and the Royal Air Force before turning full-time author in 1950. The recipient of dozens of awards, fellowships, and honorary doctorates, Clarke had both an asteroid and dinosaur species named after him. Queen Elizabeth II gave him a knighthood in 1998.
Clarke lived in Sri Lanka since 1956, engaged in diving, astronomical observations, and underwater tourism.
- ASIN : B01A6E8EQ6
- Publisher : Ace; Reissue edition (September 1, 2000)
- Publication date : September 1, 2000
- Language : English
- File size : 1164 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 255 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #31,184 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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As a huge fan of authors like Robert Heinlein, David Brin, and Phillip Dick, I thought this would be right up my alley. I really couldn't have been more wrong.
The first 3/4 of the book were filled with outstanding hard science fiction that ha sstood the test of time very well. That's the reason why I gave it two stars.
The last 1/4 of the book transforms into a mystical fantasy world that would be more at home for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. It would seem as if the author's intention was to leave us with the feeling of not knowing what the heck was going on, but I really could have done without all of the magical mysticism.
Perhaps this book was groundbreaking and insightful back in the 1960s, but in the year 2020, the only compelling part about this story left is HAL, who occupies a very minor (and consequently quite insignificant role) in the story. Many of the concepts explored have stood the test of time well. The story has not, and the transformation from hard science fiction to whimsical fantasy left me scratching my head.
I am so glad that this is now in my past. Meanwhile, I've removed everything written by Arthur C. Clarke from my list of "books to read". The only time in the last year where I have been more bored was when I was watching the movie, but that's a review for a different product.
Being something I often remembered, reading this story reconnected me to many things I “subconsciously” stored from when I watched the movie, such as the transformation of one of the main characters, David Bowman, into the Starchild, which was a transformation, as well as name, I remembered for a while, but not quite sure where it came from. However, after finally finishing the book, I would say this book definitely improved upon my childhood’s loose interpretation of the story, and surpassed my expectations in just about every way. Going back to the transformation of Bowman into the Starchild, a good example of this book’s excellence, Bowman, who has been one of the main characters throughout the story, ends the story with one last act of characterization that ties his whole character together, becoming the Starchild, which is a very good end to his story after finally defeating the evergrowingly sentient AI that has control over his ship, as well as receiving the true purpose of the mission that was given to him shortly before his transformation. All in all, I would recommend this book to anybody, of any age group, so long as character deaths, and possibly even seriously deep thought of our universe, is okay, that is looking for a piece to read that is truly enjoyable, and promotes thinking, as well as people, like myself, who enjoy science fiction and space exploration.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
The interest in the novel, written in parallel with the film, is in seeing how it differs. In Clarke's rush to get the book finished and on the market he was often working from versions of the script that were later altered by Kubrick after Clarke's involvement ceased. I enjoyed imagining how a film shot from this version might have looked.
It's also a slightly poignant read at this distance. Like a lot of people in the 60s Clarke was overwhelmed and delighted by the speed of technical progress and imagined things would continue along the same trend, with massive bases and cities on the moon before long. Alien contact did not seem far fetched to him. The futuristic framework for the story is still interesting, if dated now. Sadly - aside from a few throwaway predictions about video phone calls and such - it's looking more and more like the dystopian sci-fi writers of that period are the ones who got it right and the best predictions for the future now seem to be about how much disaster we can avoid, not how much of the universe we can explore, so in that respect it feels like a rather poignant "might-have-been" view of the world.
But I'm so glad I broke my own rule with this one! Dick Hill reads this exactly as my mind would do! In a novel which is mainly exposition, he reads with conviction and drama. Clarke's writing is descriptive and yet poetic; it's easy to lose the rhythm and gentle humour. No danger of that happening here. It's an excellent performance full of pace and passion.
Some people say the book is a way to help understand the film. I'm not entirely in agreement with that. The book stands by itself as a fine piece of Science Fiction. In fact, this story diverges from the film in several key scenes.
I've seen the film over 80 times, it is my favourite film and introduced me to Stanley Kubrick's other work. I was already a fan of Arthur C Clarke, and have been since school. So I came to this with a little trepidation and quiet hope. However, I have no hesitation in recommending this audiobook.