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Publisher's Summary

It has been 40 years since the publication of this classic science-fiction novel that changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man adventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

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

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 10-29-12

The glory and horror of space

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.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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IT'S FULL OF STARS

2 CHILD LAWS, NEWSPAD (I-PAD), STARGATE
I have lost track of how many times I have read the book, listened on tape, watched the movie, and now I have downloaded it. Arthur C. Clarke is in a class, all by himself. To hear his voice in the introduction was a real treat. It is amazing the amount of things he wrote about in the sixties that are now everyday things.

Kids under 40 may find this book and the movie to be a little slow and a little technical. That is only in parts. The story as a whole is a masterpiece.

The book differs from the movie slightly and that is explained by Clarke in the introduction. A good look into the making of a movie and the writing of a book. To be honest I felt that the tension built by dealing with HAL was done better in the movie. I loved this, but I really liked (The City and The Stars )and (Rendezvous with Rama) better.

I had not realized until this reading that Clarke was part of the group warning us about overpopulation, Pohl, Harrison, Asimov, and Silverberg among many. He talks about Americans having meatless days and about many countries having 2 child laws. If you are over 50, you may remember the hysteria about overpopulation and the dire predictions for the turn of the century. Things we need to think about as today's writers call us stupid for not freaking out over there warnings about the most popular predicted crises of today.

Dick Hill is my favorite narrator.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Venu
  • HyderabadIndia
  • 07-04-09

Excellent Narration - Great Book

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.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Douglas
  • Lake St. Louis, MO, United States
  • 12-10-08

The Movie Makes More Sense Now

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.

40 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Read

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!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Katelyn
  • el mirage, AZ, USA
  • 05-16-09

Get it!

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!

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ryan
  • Wayside, NJ, United States
  • 09-14-10

Great story, questionable ending

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.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anthony
  • Puyallup, WA, USA
  • 08-16-09

Classic

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great read.

I loved this book, it is a well paced novel. Clarke's ability to pull you into a world is amazing.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alex
  • Prospect, Australia
  • 02-24-10

A must

Any fan of the film owes it to themselves to hear the book. Recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • 07-31-14

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 :)

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ben
  • 07-01-12

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 :(

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • DJ Morpheus
  • 11-23-08

"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......\"

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • 12-09-12

Excellent audio version but....

Please release 2010. I don't want to listen to the other two books before I hear the second book

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 08-04-17

Wow. Just wow.

I had always thought 2001 was a load of rubbish. That was based on being dragged along to see a special showing of it in the cinema as part of a media studies a level. I don't think many 17 year olds would get a lot from the film to be honest.

I always spend ages looking for my next read of listen and as a confirmed sci-fi nut I'm finding at nearly 40 years of age that my tastes are refining. I honestly can't remember what caused me to try 2001 about 3 weeks ago but I'm really pleased I did. For me it's shot to number 1 sci-fi book without doubt. I would urge anyone planning on seeing the film to read the book first. It'll make much more sense.

The performance was brilliant and there are passages which are strangely prophetic considering the book is nearly 50 years old. I don't want to spoil the story but the concept is brilliant and the story just gets better and better. I'll be looking forward to seeing the film again now!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Howard
  • 04-21-10

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!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan
  • 10-28-16

Doesn't hold up well

Having never seen the film or read the book, I was keen to see what made this story special. Unfortunately I was left disappointed. Whilst there are some sections with genuine suspense and tension, for the most part I actually found this audiobook somewhat boring.

I suspect that I was just a little too late to the party with this one.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Søren
  • 05-23-17

Fantastic story, incredible read

I might have thought that a movie book would be boring. But this is a fantastic story. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I can't wait to now!
And the read is also incredible. Fast and captivating and with great voices for the different characters.

And almost 40 years after the release. The science in this fiction is still very accurate it seems.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-09-16

really enjoyed this,

really enjoyed this, read the book years ago & wasn't disappointed, great narration and easy to listen to on long drives, pity 2010 not available

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brian
  • 03-11-12

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 06-24-16

watch out for Authors spoiler

Excellent book,great reader. Arthur c Clark was ahead of his time.Author's comments at the start gave some of the story away. Still loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-17

A great story

I loved the movie and now I loved reading the book
Aurthur c Clarke is a truly great author

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-12-17

A classic tale and well worth the listen

This is a wonderful book that is as entertaining in 2017 as it was when first released.

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  • John G
  • 11-07-16

Awsome

Too many people hail the movie by Stanley Kubrick as brilliant but it pales in comparison to the book, this book is an awsome tale, it sets the standard for space opera. The oration and performance by Dick Hill is exceptionally well done. Where is 2010:Odyssey Two