Reading this book was like reading a 300-page short story. It was a wonderful story with impressive insight into the future (I kept having to remind myself this was written in the 60's), but at the same time ideas were only lightly touched upon and plot elements came and went with very little development. Overall a quick and easy read with interesting ideas that I quite enjoyed. I look forward to reading the sequels.
Id read this book before, but not since I was a kid, so I didnt remember it all that clearly. This anniversary edition of it also included an introduction by Clarke that was rather interesting, talking about the writing of the book and the making of the movie. However, Clarke mentioned in this introduction that he drew idea for the book from no fewer than four previously existing short stories of his and, reading the story with that in mind, perhaps I was predisposed to consider problems of cohesiveness but I really didnt feel, this time around, that the different parts of the story meshed well enough the ideas and themes are quite different. First, is a story of an alien artifact which gives a boost to our primitive ancestors, enabling our evolutionary development. (possibly my favorite part of the book, and interesting in the moral ambiguity that progress is intertwined with the potential for violence.) Second, we have a very realistic look at what might happen, politically, in a near-future scenario when humanity is faced with the potentially significant discovery of an alien artifact. The third part (with HAL) is focused on individual human psychology and the potential for problems inherent in mans use of his own technology. Finally, the end of the book is an unusual and interesting first contact story (although, in my opinion, one that suffers from a both overblown and indeterminate ending.)
Sure, all of these issues reflect on each other and interconnect to some degree, creating a big-picture view of intelligence, evolution, and our possible place in the universe mixed in with lots of (amazingly, not-too-outdated) speculations on space travel and our solar system. But I still found myself wishing for a more cohesive narrative
Absolute classic. If you haven't read it, you should. One of the finest meldings of science and fiction, and absolutely prescient in its insights on the solar system. Also one of the strangest visions of first contact.
I have never seen the movie, but this book made me want to just to compare the two. It was a really interesting book, not only to see what the author imagined the future 2001 to be like, but to see how close to reality it actually was. Then I read the afterward and learned how much the book and movie influenced real life.
I am generally apprehensive about reading books that are the basis for movies I have seen, and I became even more wary of this book as I discovered this was written in conjunction with the filming of the movie . I was, however, pleasantly surprised. There was enough difference and detail included in the book to keep me interested. I found myself hunting for extra time in my day to fit in a chapter or two which I take as a good sign from any book. I enjoyed this book.
I watched the movie not long before reading the book and I really enjoyed it. Yet, now that I've read the book a lot is explained more fully - as a result I appreciate the movie much more so. They kind of go together hand-in-hand.
Though I don't much care for the evolutionary theories in it, I reveled in the scientific aspects. HAL 9000 is just as creepily human yet cold as he is in the movie - perhaps even more so. Very well written, and I can't wait to explore space some more in the continuing odysseys.
I am a lover of all Sci-Fi. The best depiction of space travel I have ever seen or read. Finding out that another race helped us along our evolution and than they left huge rocks/monoliths for us to find later once we had evolved to space travel.
I loved the movie but the books are so much better, they leave everything to you and your imagination. Something no movie can ever do.
Not Clarke's best (that was Childhood's End), not even his best Sci Fi (that was Rendezvous with Rama), but at least his third or fourth best effort; the movie said it all; even so, a worthwhile read, even having seen the movie. Do not miss "The Sentinel", which is the seminal story.