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2001: A Space Odyssey

A book by Arthur C. Clarke.

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Based on a plausible big idea, this is one of the best science fiction stories of all time

  • Dec 12, 2009
This is one of the best all-time books in the area of science fiction as well as one of the most thought-provoking books of all time. Any being with the capability that would justify them being called a god by humans would need something extremely significant to do. Furthermore, given the age of the universe and the recent evolutionary appearance of humans, it is not unreasonable to think that "gods" arrived before humans. It would then be natural for those gods to perform experiments on the enormous number of planets in the universe. All that is necessary for this to happen is the ability to travel across the vast distances of space in a reasonable amount of time.
That is the initial premise of this book; a species of beings recognizes the potential on Earth and lands a device that subtly manipulates the thought processes of ape-like creatures to increase their intelligence. While the increase is small, it creates a significant evolutionary advantage and human intelligence is the result. The creatures then bury an obelisk on the far side of the moon where it will easily be found when humans begin exploring the moon. When uncovered, the obelisk sends a message out to a moon of Saturn, announcing that humans have developed the rudiments of space flight.
The best science fiction involves the use of a plausible big idea and that is the case here. It is a simple logical progression to believe that life on Earth is an experiment being carried out by advanced creatures, as it would explain many puzzling aspects of the universe as we see it. Clarke expresses this big idea in a manner that keeps you fixated, it is a book that you can read again and again, even though you know how it will turn out, the journey is so pleasant that it is one you love to repeat.

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More 2001: A Space Odyssey (book) reviews
review by . December 06, 2001
. . .serious science fiction novels ever written. This reviewer has to agree.From a beginning 10 million years in the past, to the "creation" of whatever it is that David Bowman becomes, 2001: A Space Odyssey grips the reader and doesn't let go.Much has been said about this book; and I'm not going to re-hash what other reviewers have written. I just wanted to add a few thoughts:1) In the third novel in this series "2061: Odyssey 3" Clarke admits what became evident in the second book (and in the …
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Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #78
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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About this book


When an enigmatic monolith is found buried on the moon, scientists are amazed to discover that it's at least 3 million years old. Even more amazing, after it's unearthed the artifact releases a powerful signal aimed at Saturn. What sort of alarm has been triggered? To find out, a manned spacecraft, theDiscovery, is sent to investigate. Its crew is highly trained--the best--and they are assisted by a self-aware computer, the ultra-capable HAL 9000. But HAL's programming has been patterned after the human mind a little too well. He is capable of guilt, neurosis, even murder, and he controls every single one ofDiscovery's components. The crew must overthrow this digital psychotic if they hope to make their rendezvous with the entities that are responsible not just for the monolith, but maybe even for human civilization.

Clarke wrote this novel while Stanley Kubrick created the film, the two collaborating on both projects. The novel is much more detailed and intimate, and definitely easier to comprehend. Even though history has disproved its "predictions," it's still loaded with exciting and awe-inspiring science fiction. --Brooks Peck --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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ISBN-10: 0451457994
ISBN-13: 978-0451457998
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
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