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Tag Archives: Arthur C Clarke

3001: The Final Odyssey – book review

3001: The Final Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

You may or may not have seen me work my way through 2001 (book and film), 2010 (book and film) and 2061.  Well, I have to finish the series off, so here it is!  3001: The Final Odyssey is the last installment Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his famous series about mysterious life-altering monoliths.  3001 is the only book in the series to take place outside the lifespan of one person, starting 1000 years after the events of the first book, where a monolith was first discovered on the moon and Dr. Heywood Floyd begins his journeys of discovery (no pun intended).

Things are predictably quite a bit different in 3001 than they were when we last left the Solar System behind.  The human race has reduced in number, but it has also spread itself out in the solar system.  After successfully colonizing numerous bodies in the solar system, humanity is busily preparing others for similar landings.  To do this, you need a lot of one very important ingredient:  water.  With the advent of new drives in spacecraft, it is easier to get around than ever before, and the popular way to get water has become harvesting comets.  One vessel in particular – the Goliath – is undertaking just such a mission in the Kuiper belt (outside the orbit of Neptune), when its Captain Chandler is directed by Earth to investigate a very faint, very small object.  It turns out to be the frozen body of a human astronaut, spinning through space on a course that would inevitably have taken it outside the solar system.  It is the body of Frank Poole, an astronaut on the ill-fated Discovery who in 2001 was sent spiraling into space by a neurotic HAL-9000, and who should have been lost forever.  Just his luck.

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2061: Odyssey Three – book review

2061: Odyssey Three, by Arthur C. Clarke

Whew, I’m catching up on books and happenings.  I actually finished 2061: Odyssey Three at least a month and a half ago, but things have been so flat-out busy (between work and renovations) that I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down and write this post that I owed myself.  Vacation time now, so I’m starting to get to these things.

As you may have read, I’ve been through both 2001 and 2010 now.  Both were hard to cover as I had to go through and compare the movie versions of each to be complete.  No movie this time, just Arthur C. Clarke’s manuscript to talk about.

51 years after the events of 2010, a lot has changed on Earth, both politically and technologically.  For an example of one, the black population of Africa has long since rebelled and formed the USSA (the United States of Southern Africa).  The economy of that nation was built almost entirely on the value of diamonds, now valued for much more than just their luster.  For an example of  the second, a trip to the planets orbiting the star Lucifer (formerly the moons of the now-ignited planet Jupiter) on business is now pretty much as routine as a trip to the moon used to be.

Some things never change, however.  Dr. Heywood Floyd is still alive, and orbiting the earth permanently at the age of 103.  Following the events of 2010, he was injured while  returning to Earth.  As a result of his rehabilitation in orbit, he was never able to repatriate to Earth physiologically and has lived the bulk of his life orbiting the planet where he was born.  Through all of the defining moments in human history he has participated in, he remains somewhat grounded and cynical in his approach to aging and fame.  He has mostly been denied a normal life with family he could have lived had he not pursued historical events out of duty.  Not much stirs him from his routine with his small set of friends in orbit, but one day he gets a call he can’t ignore:  a rich Chinese shipping mogul wants him to be a passenger on the shakedown mission for a new class of passenger cruiser.  It’s not the ship that excites him, it’s the destination:  the Universe is scheduled to touch down on Halley’s Comet during its next pass by the Sun.  How could you say no to the opportunity to set foot on one of the most famous and romantic of celestial bodies?

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2010: Odyssey Two – two reviews

2010: Odyssey Two, by Arthur C. Clarke

Here we go with book and movie in one post, again.  I did this with the predecessor to the book/movie in this post when I covered 2001: A Space Odyssey in both book and movie form side by side.  This time, I’m taking a look at 2010: Odyssey Two (the book) and 2010: The Year We Make Contact (the movie) as close to side by side as I can.  I remember both reading the book and seeing the movie when I was a lot younger, but it’d been long enough that I really only remembered the climax:  I had no idea how either the book or the movie got there.  I remembered that I thought 2010 was the most awesome movie ever at the time (this was some time after 1984 when the movie came out, and 1990 because I saw it before then for sure), so I was a bit concerned because that was when I was young.  I approached the movie version of 2010 with not a small amount of trepidation.  You see (as an example), I ruined my childhood memories of Thundercats by throwing it on the store monitors late at night with my coworkers at Blockbuster Video like 15 years ago.  We all thought that would be a good idea, but only the potheads in the store looking for a “totally whacked movie” to rent appreciated it.  So, the risk was to ruin my childhood memory of a cool space movie.  Well, here we go.

First, both book and movie follow from the general events from the movie version of 2001.  If you read my review of that story, you’ll recall that the movie and the book were slightly different.  In 2001 the book, the story ended up around Saturn; while in 2001 the movie, the story ended up around Jupiter.  So this time, we’re around Jupiter, and the race is on to reach a now famous derelict.  Discovery is still orbiting Jupiter’s moon Io, and still nobody has any idea what happened all those years ago when Dave Bowman famously left to investigate the monolith sitting at the Legrange point between Io and Jupiter.  All anyone on Earth knows is that his last words were “My God, it’s full of stars…”

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2001: A Space Odyssey – two reviews

2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

In my quest to read more, I am revisiting some things I read a long time ago. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of those things. I have enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke’s work ever since I read Childhood’s End in high school English class. I always thought I was 100% into only fantasy novels (thankfully I have branched out in old age), but Childhood’s End got me into science fiction.  If I enjoyed that, stands to reason I’d enjoy one of is most popular works in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Turns out that’s correct.

Now, I didn’t just read the book, I also watched the movie.  I was going to start writing my review of the book right after finishing it, but I held off because I started reading 2010: Odyssey Two.  The forward to that book talks about how 2001 came to be.  It turns out that the book and the movie (though different) were written in tandem.  Strangely, moving forward into the literary sequels to 2001 (starting with 2010), Clarke chose to follow the events and timeline of Stanley Kubrick‘s movie as opposed to the book.  I found it interesting that while book and movie were written in parallel, how parts of the movie were so different from the book, while other parts so wonderfully captured the feeling of what the book described.  Technically, he wrote them both… so maybe he just liked the movie setting better.  I think the two go really well together:  the movie has some wonderful visualizations of the settings described in the book, while the book goes into much greater detail about what’s going on than can be conveyed in the movie.

2001 is divided (in my mind) into four parts:  pre-history, discovery, mission, post-humanity.

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