Top critical review
The Jar Jar Binks of the 2001 storyline
Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2021
George Lucas had the original Star Wars Trilogy, classics of space fantasy. But he also had The Phantom Menace. Sadly, in the realm of hard science fiction, this is Arthur C. Clarke’s Phantom Menace.
This is a hard review to write. 2001 and 2010 tie for being my favorite science fiction novel, but this just doesn’t have it. It tells the unlikely story of a century-old Dr. Floyd on a space mission to Halley’s Comet, and a just-as-unlikely marooning on Europa. Clarke wrote about many fantastical things throughout his life and added enough actual science to make them realistic, but many of the core premises for the book simply aren’t believable.
Full disclosure: There's not a character as remotely annoying as Jar Jar, but I couldn't resist it for the title of the review. But do yourself a favor and skip this one. It’s not necessary for the overall storyline. Just go straight to 3001: The Final Odyssey.