Book Report: 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (1968)

I bought this book this weekend for a quarter, a super bargain since it’s a two-fer: It’s the first printing of the Signet movie tie-in edition (with the book review from the New Yorker cut out and tucked in as a bookmark), and I bought the next two books in the series last weekend, so I needed to get this book, too. I guess there’s a fourth in the series, but I might hold off buying that that until I see how the first three go. After all, he did ruin the Rama series.

The book, written in conjunction sort of with the screenplay for the Kubrick film, fills in a lot of the gaps of just what the heck was going on. It adds plenty of detail to the monkeys scene and to the ending to make sense of what only served as stunning images in the movie.

The plot revolves around the appearance of the monoliths, strange stones that man has found which have an age of 3 million years. When one is found near a moon base, it blasts a radio signal to Saturn (Jupiter in the movie). A ship is sent to it, and Hal the computer kills everyone on board. Even that is explained better in the book. And it’s all tied together.

I’ve seen the movie once and I saw 2010 a couple of times when it was on Showtime and I was stuck in rural Missouri in the 1980s, so I’ll be a little familiar with the continuing storyline.

Although I don’t know how much I’ll appreciate Clarke and his reputation after I am done. I mean, Childhood’s End was okay, this book was okay, Rendezvous with Rama was great until Clarke ruined it in the 1980s with its sequels. But that this fellow is held up with Asimov, Heinlein, and Niven as one of the greats in the field. Meh.

Books mentioned in this review:

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