2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction novel written by Arthur Clarke. It is one of his greatest literary achievements.

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The thing’s hollow… it goes on forever and…

oh my God! It’s full of stars!

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2001: A Space Odyssey Review

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Of course the book and Kubrick’s film were made together simultaneously and although I absolutely love the film and it is in my top ten of all time list, I still do prefer the novel a bit more mainly because it is much more clear in its narrative. In fact, I would say it is essential read for everyone who wants to properly understand the film. I only understood the movie after reading the book and I do not agree with some snobbish people who state that the book spells out too much to the readers. Not at all. The book explains a lot, but still leaves many things unanswered. Books should be more on-point and detailed whereas films should rely more on imagination and visuals and that is why these two are so successful at accompyning each other perfectly.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Review

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The story is amazing and one of the best ever written. As in the film, the beginning and ending are the greatest parts. But I loved how in the beginning we got to properly meet the apes and follow them through quite a couple of chapters. Very well written and engaging. The ending is excellent despite that atomic bomb part. That is probably the only part of the book that I did not care for as much as it tells its age too much. Kubrick made the right call to exclude it from his version.
I love all of the other chapters and to me there isn’t one chapter in this book that isn’t great, all of them are fantastic leading to an overall phenomenal literary work that is one of the best that I have ever read. In my opinion the book is hugely underrated as it should have much better status than it received as it was overshadowed by the movie unfortunately.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Review

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2001 is very good in characterization and that is where it trumps its visual accompaniment quite a bit. Heywood Floyd is much better developed and much more memorable here, not to mention that he cared for his mission which in the film he did not unfortunately. HAL 9000 is of course great as this superb, calculated, yet very human villain. All of the chapters with him were amazing. Poole is likable and of course David Bowman is the best realized human character in the novel. He is so much better here than in the film as he is much better developed, much more likable and to me he made a very satisfactory protagonist.
The only slight problem is that the book got rid of Floyd too quickly and I thought that maybe one major character instead of two would have been a better choice. But that is only nitpicking on my part. I loved the imagery in the book, really well imagined and of course written. The dialogue is absolutely fantastic and is one of the strongest aspects of the novel. Clarke has always had a great scientific mind and here he proved it. I loved that 2001: A Space Odyssey is such a hard science fiction work that relies heavily on science in minute detail. We here get to explore and follow every quest on the ship and every single aspect of space travel is so beautifully explained. I loved the descriptions here and Clarke’s writing is top-notch. The book is short, but still never rushed owing to great pacing.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Review

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It has a plethora of themes which is why it is essential genre read. Of course technology and its dangers is one of the best utilized themes through HAL. It wonderfully showcases the flaws and strengths of artificial intelligence. As I said, space exploration is so well established and I loved every single detail of it and how tough it is presented as it really is difficult. As I said, I wasn’t a big fan of nuclear war theme as it was too timely, but I loved its touch on evolution. I myself am some sort of agnostic when it comes to these things as I believe in evolution, but I just have big problems with the evolution of humans as that doesn’t seem right to me. But here he gave us such a clever and unforgettable alternative and to me this is some sort of mix between religion and science and I loved it. The book also goes into too fantastical territory in the end whereas it was previously extremely realistic, but still that part is highly unique and memorable and quite epic for sure.

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the best novels ever written. Clarke’s writing is superb, the various themes of evolution, technology and space travel are beautifully utilized, the characters are good and of course the story is epic and one of the most unforgettable and fascinating ever conceived. It truly is an essential science fiction read and one of the greatest literary achievements.

My Rating – 5

 

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