Ranking the Space Odyssey Series
The Space Odyssey series is probably the finest ever science fiction novel series of all time. Arthur Clarke is a fantastic writer and he made a series that is both fascinating and intellectually superlative. I love all of the books in the quadrilogy, but some are better than others and here I am going to rank all four of them along with the two movies.
6. 2010 (Film)
Although it landed on the last place, I still really liked the movie adaptation of the second book. Sure, the epilogue and the Chinese scientists are unfortunately absent here, but the film is otherwise pretty faithful, some scenes are so great and memorable and the characters are actually better than their book counterparts leading to a pretty satisfactory adaptation.
5. 3001: The Final Odyssey
I wanted a better and more memorable ending and the monolith’s purpose here is changed for the worse, but this is still a terrific final installment to this great quadrilogy with a memorable protagonist in Frank Poole, a couple of superb observations from Clarke about religion and politics and a superbly established, intriguing future world.
4. 2061: Odyssey Three
The characters are sorely lacking in 2061, but its adventurous plot more than makes up for it. The film is such a great exploration of convergent evolution and extraterrestrial animals and this high adventure on Europa was so entertaining and unforgettable. It surely is the most fun and adventurous of the books.
3. 2010: Odyssey Two
2010 is more straightforward than its predecessor, but it honestly worked for me and it did that in spades as it gave me the answers to most of the questions I’ve had about this world before and the answers were satisfactory and fascinating. The book also features a great team of astronauts which consists of Russians and Americans working together and that was admirable.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Book)
The choice for the first and second place was extremely difficult for me as I love the book and the film version of this story pretty much the same and both are amazing, but the book isn’t as ambiguous and as artistic which is why it eventually takes the second spot. But still, it is superbly written by Clarke and this was his idea after all and he proved what a great mind he had here. The story is simply unforgettable and classic and the book is filled with many great themes such as evolution, robots and space travel leading to the quintessential science fiction work.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Film)
But the film is just a thing of marvel, a beauty to behold on a whole new level and so it tops my list because of its artistry. The classical score is amazing, the effects are the best ever in movie history and the movie is still smart and thematically rich while also being atmospheric and actually very mysterious and ambiguous in quality as you need to see it more than once to fully comprehend its storyline. It is the best science fiction film ever made, one of the finest films of all time and it is the textbook example of how to properly adapt a book into a film. It retains all of the novel’s qualities while adding a touch of artistry and ambiguity to create an original work that stands on its own.