2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke | Book Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is by far the most disturbing movie I have ever watched. So what about the book?


2001: A Space Odyssey is by far the most disturbing movie I have ever watched. So what about the book?

About the Book

Title: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Author: Arthur C. Clarke

Series: Space Odyssey #1

Published: 1968

Genreclassic sci-fi

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Premise

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

On the Moon, an enigma is uncovered.

So great are the implications of this discovery that for the first time men are sent out deep into our solar system.

But long before their destination is reached, things begin to go horribly, inexplicably wrong…

One of the greatest-selling science fiction novels of our time, this classic book will grip you to the very end.

My Thoughts

I watched the movie of this in August and it has got to be one of the most unnerving things I have EVER watched. I don’t know what exactly it was– the very little dialogue, the extended sequences of silence, the lack of explanation for anything, the monolith theme song from hell, and of course *this* scene:

but I was really shaken up after I watched it. I liked the movie but it was inexplicably disturbing to me. Really disturbing. Maybe that’s why I liked it. I was creeped out.

The book is much less creepy, it goes into more detail about, well, everything and it is actually possible to follow the plot without the help of Google.

Considering the movie and book were developed at the same time, I was kind of surprised at the amount of differences there were between the two.

The plot itself is very intriguing, but I don’t want to spoil anything. There are a lot of really interesting themes such as the humanity or inhumanity of AI, humanity’s place in the universe, the progress of evolution… the book ended kind of abruptly but apparently there are several sequels. I will have to read them.

And it is so ahead of its time, too. The technology is described in great detail and a lot of it pretty much does exist today.

But of course, though the book was prescient and all, behold the sentence that reminded me it was written in the 60s:

“[the space pods] were usually christened with feminine names, perhaps in recognition of the fact that their personalities were sometimes slightly unpredictable. Discovery’s were Anna, Betty, and Clara.”

Classic sci-fi will classic sci-fi… moving on…

The Verdict

This was a pretty interesting book and one that’s relatively well-known in the classic sci-fi canon, so I’d recommend it to anyone who finds that interesting.

Have you read or watched 2001: A Space Odyssey? If so, what did you think of it?

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8 comments on “2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke | Book Review”

  1. I watched this movie a few years after it came out (once it moved from theaters to TV, which took a lot longer back then.) And you’re right it’s very creepy. I never read the book, but now might be a good time to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think 2001 is Clarke’s best book, but the movie is tremendous and he was a big part of it. I think it is the kind of movie that is better on the re-watch, but that’s hard sell.

    The movie sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact is a great Sci Fi film in its own right, but it is very different from the original (and much more understandable). I think the book of that one is closer and adds interesting depth to some of the characters – which is surprising given that Clarke isn’t known for writing characters!

    I didn’t read 2061, but I did read 3001. I think it was written by Clarke and I had read a lot of Clarke at that point (couldn’t find any source on a ghostwriter, so I’d be interested to see a link for that). I also don’t think the book was in anyway necessary, but it wasn’t bad.

    My favorite Clarke novel is The Fountains of Paradise. I don’t think I’d recommend any other Clarke books as ‘good reads’, but some of them are very interesting in terms of ideas and his place in Sci Fi history.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never seen movie. I read the book and the write is really nice. The end though is baffling. I will be reading the sequel to see how it connects with the first book.

    Liked by 1 person

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