This allegory about humanity's exploration of the universe, and the universe's reaction to humanity, was the basis for director Stanley Kubrick's immortal film, and lives on as a hallmark achievement in storytelling.
©1968 Arthur C. Clarke; ©1968 Polaris Productions, Inc.; (P)2000 Brilliance Audio
While the movie left me confused and wanting an explanation of what I'd just spent hours watching. The book made me exited to listen to the next in the series.
I, by chance, saw the movie before deciding to pick this up. To me the movie just slowly moved through the paces of, mysterious mission to Jupiter, crazy computer, triumph, crazy drug trip. The ending killed it for me because it made zero sense.
The book fills in the gaps to explain the imagery of the movie and so very much more, the story is well explained and engrossing, so long as you let the imagery take you and are not impatient with the time devoted to detail.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit (come visit us!)
“The thing’s hollow — it goes on forever — and — oh my God — it’s full of stars!”
2001: A Space Odyssey is the novel that Arthur C. Clarke wrote so that Stanley Kubrick could develop it into the now-famous movie. It’s partly based on two of Clarke’s short stories: “Encounter in the Dawn” (1953) and “The Sentinel” (1948). The first story tells of a technologically advanced race that visited Earth millions of years ago, discovered early humans, and gave them some technological jumpstarts (and “one small step toward humanity.”) In the second story, humans have finally reached the moon. Much to their excitement and consternation, they discover an ancient alien artifact that may be an alarm to alert aliens when humans manage to get themselves off their little planet.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know that we see these plotlines unfold and connect in 2001: A Space Odyssey. A related plot involves a spaceship traveling to Saturn that’s controlled by a new self-conscious computer named HAL 9000. Perhaps the most famous scenes in the movie (and I think these are some of the best scenes in the book, too) occur when HAL decides to override the astronauts’ commands because of his own interpretation of his original instructions (this reason is not explained in the movie). These scenes are probably even more frightening today than they were back in 1968. Clarke perfectly captures our fear that the artificial intelligences we create may become smarter than we are and, therefore, out of our control.
I can’t resist Arthur C. Clarke’s visions and I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by him. It’s exciting and awe-inspiring to read his speculations about creation, the mysteries of space and time, extraterrestrials, artificial intelligence, the freeing of the spirit from the body, the existence and nature of God, and what’s “behind the back of space.” I also enjoy his theoretical arguments about the speed of light, physics, relativity, wormholes, etc. Clarke’s awe of space and his expectation that humans will conquer it is infectious and thrilling. At the same time, the possibility that we, who thought we were alone, may not be, is both exciting and disturbing. Clarke writes beautifully of both the potential glories and horrors of space.
I listened to Dick Hill narrate Brilliance Audio’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dick Hill narrates a lot of old science fiction and here he is as wonderful as he always is. His voice for HAL was so creepy it gave me chills (“Hey, Dave… what are you doing?”). The audiobook begins with an interesting talk by Arthur C. Clarke in which he gives us some context and background for the story, talks a bit about his writing process and collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, and mentions some of the pop culture that the book and movie have spawned. Three sequels to 2001: A Space Odyssey continue the story and address some of the questions that Clarke leaves us with.
The book needs no introduction and it would be sacrilege to write a review on it. I will confine myself to the audiobook details. Dick Hill brings the book to life. He has many voices and he uses them wisely. His narration leaves us spellbound.
I wanted to listen to the other books in this series. Sadly I don't find them on Audible.com :( Hope you guys add it to the library pretty soon.
Even if you have read the book before, listen to this performance by Dick Hill now. You will not repent it.
Dick Hill did a great job with the characters, including HAL, and the "preface" interview with Arthur C. Clarke was very interesting and shed light on the movie as well. I haven't watched the movie in years, and I have to admit that listening to this didn't bring back memories of the movie at all, which I think is a credit to the book. This is a great, introspective, and thoughtful journey through space and time, both in the story, and in the context (a lot has changed since this book was written). Enjoy!
The book is much better than the movie! The movie does not describe anything that is happening and half of the time you're wondering what just happened or if you missed something. This is a nice short audio book and is well worth the price. It's great on a road trip!
In my opinion, this was a 5 star book until the last hour. Most of the story was really straightforward, clever, suspenseful, enjoyable sci-fi until the end. Seems like Clarke was trying to cram all his deeper meaning and allegory into the last few chapters. That being said, the rest of the book was fantastic. I would still recommend it, the ending just wasn't for me.
I love hard Sci-Fi and Fantasy. And I pepper in there a few Bios.
I loved this book, it is a well paced novel. Clarke's ability to pull you into a world is amazing.
I really enjoyed this book. It's a simple story with a lot of detailed description but it was so well written that i couldn't put it down. The narrator did a good job in keeping it interesting without overacting. Highly recommended.
Simply put, a must series for any Sci-Fi fan. I read this, and still have, all of these in hardback from picking them up at a used book shop ten or twelve years ago. I loved this audio iteration and it truly took me back to why this story is so great.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
This whole novel was actually based off of Clarke's previous short story, "The Monolith", but obviously VASTLY expanded upon.
As I'm sure is the case with most people, I saw the film 2001: A Space Odyssey BEFORE having the opportunity to read the book.
Let me tell you - it makes a LOT more content within the movie actually make sense.
The opening scene of the movie with the apes and the monolith actually spans the first SIX chapters of this book. That should give you an idea of the amount of material left out of the film which fills in the curious plot gaps.
I don't want to ruin anything by giving more away, but whether you have seen the movie or not, I believe it is your DUTY as a science-fiction fan to read this book. There aren't many modern-day masterpieces anymore, but this would definitely fall under that category.
PS = Also, do yourself a favor and be sure to check out Arthur C Clarke's library of short stories as well. He is truly a master of the medium.
9.31 / 10.00
"Loved it, but where's the sequel?"
Perfect audio version, loved it, but how come 2010 (the sequel) isn't available on Audible? Books 3 and 4 are! Really would love to listen to it, but I guess I'm going to have to resort to a dead tree version as it isn't even available on Google Play or Kindle :(
"Excellent audio version but...."
Please release 2010. I don't want to listen to the other two books before I hear the second book
"Excellent... but why no 2010 on Audible yet?"
Superb story, I have been patiently waiting for 2010, book 2 in the series to be available on Audible, but we can only get books 1,3 & 4 which seems a bit of a shame? I have seen both the movies and really would like to hear the story and complete the series.. please :)
""My God, it's full of stars""
Anyone even remotely interested in science-fiction, or science-fact for that matter, will love this book.
I first saw the movie during the 1970's, when I was still a young child, and a spark of imagination was ignited. This spark is now a raging inferno that will never be extinguished. Given my age at the time, I was left with gaps, unanswered questions. Years later, these gaps remained, even after seeing the movie again, and the sequel (2010: The Year We Make Contact). This was until I decided to buy the full set of 4 books. After that, these gaps were filled-in, and the questions answered.
Having now listened to the audio book version of this novel, these answers are much more apparent, almost blatently obvious, mainly because you have the opportunity to focus on details when it's read for you.
You are taken on a highly-visual (and detailed) exploration of one of many possible beginnings of mankind, and the Universe, a tour of our own Solar System, and beyond, stretching your imagination further than you thought possible. This is the only restraining factor.....your own imagination.
This is a true 'classic', it really does make you think.....\"What if......\"
"Love at first listen"
Great film, great book. I have listen to this three times and can't wait to do it again. I think it is great.
"The original and best"
This is a classic and way out ahead of the film. the whole plot is more apparent and works really well. Whether you've seen the film or not this is a must!
"Epic in scale, long and satisfying"
The description is rich without being irrelevant, the characters and plot hold you tightly with the full G-force of Clarke's story-telling ability. The introduction by the author is an added bonus. Dick Hill performs rather than merely reads the novel, bringing the atmosphere (or lack of it) lucidly to life. A must-have for all Sci-Fi and movie fans.
"All the thrills you need.."
No matter how well you think you know the story, there's always a little bit that is hidden... Very well read by Dick Hill... true enjoyment.
After reading the RAMA trilogy I wanted to read some more ACC books. This book blew me away, I saw the movie, but the book is lots better and suddenly you understand everything :-).
Even after 35 years this is still a very good classic sci-fi book, although the story could have been written anno 2011... So it's timeless .
I wasn't bored a single time and found his way of writing fantastic. The narrator is also OK
There's also a great introduction, narrated by Arthur himself.
"Not as I remembered it"
This was one of the first grown up books I read. I really enjoyed it with my dried sponge of a brain soaking up new ideas and philosophies. It was time well spent then but I am not so sure it was now.
My main issue is the cold, unempathetic way the story is written. It is as if Mr Clarke is trying to impress us how clever he is rather than telling a tale that grips and inspires you.
Read in a slow rather monotonous tone is not actually bad. It's almost as if HAL is telling the story. But it doesn't sell the story which is really needed here.
Yes it made me watch the film again which I believe to be far better. Kubrick gives character to the story which Clarke failed to do.
If you like a story with an autistic feel then this is a book for you. If you enjoy a story to have feel and emotion look elsewhere.
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