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Publisher's Summary

It has been 40 years since the publication of this classic science-fiction novel that changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man adventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.This allegory about humanity's exploration of the universe, and the universe's reaction to humanity, was the basis for director Stanley Kubrick's immortal film, and lives on as a hallmark achievement in storytelling.
©1968 Arthur C. Clarke; ©1968 Polaris Productions, Inc.; (P)2000 Brilliance Audio
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By Katherine on 10-29-12

The glory and horror of space

Originally posted at FanLit (come visit us!)

“The thing’s hollow — it goes on forever — and — oh my God — it’s full of stars!”

2001: A Space Odyssey is the novel that Arthur C. Clarke wrote so that Stanley Kubrick could develop it into the now-famous movie. It’s partly based on two of Clarke’s short stories: “Encounter in the Dawn” (1953) and “The Sentinel” (1948). The first story tells of a technologically advanced race that visited Earth millions of years ago, discovered early humans, and gave them some technological jumpstarts (and “one small step toward humanity.”) In the second story, humans have finally reached the moon. Much to their excitement and consternation, they discover an ancient alien artifact that may be an alarm to alert aliens when humans manage to get themselves off their little planet.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know that we see these plotlines unfold and connect in 2001: A Space Odyssey. A related plot involves a spaceship traveling to Saturn that’s controlled by a new self-conscious computer named HAL 9000. Perhaps the most famous scenes in the movie (and I think these are some of the best scenes in the book, too) occur when HAL decides to override the astronauts’ commands because of his own interpretation of his original instructions (this reason is not explained in the movie). These scenes are probably even more frightening today than they were back in 1968. Clarke perfectly captures our fear that the artificial intelligences we create may become smarter than we are and, therefore, out of our control.

I can’t resist Arthur C. Clarke’s visions and I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by him. It’s exciting and awe-inspiring to read his speculations about creation, the mysteries of space and time, extraterrestrials, artificial intelligence, the freeing of the spirit from the body, the existence and nature of God, and what’s “behind the back of space.” I also enjoy his theoretical arguments about the speed of light, physics, relativity, wormholes, etc. Clarke’s awe of space and his expectation that humans will conquer it is infectious and thrilling. At the same time, the possibility that we, who thought we were alone, may not be, is both exciting and disturbing. Clarke writes beautifully of both the potential glories and horrors of space.

I listened to Dick Hill narrate Brilliance Audio’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dick Hill narrates a lot of old science fiction and here he is as wonderful as he always is. His voice for HAL was so creepy it gave me chills (“Hey, Dave… what are you doing?”). The audiobook begins with an interesting talk by Arthur C. Clarke in which he gives us some context and background for the story, talks a bit about his writing process and collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, and mentions some of the pop culture that the book and movie have spawned. Three sequels to 2001: A Space Odyssey continue the story and address some of the questions that Clarke leaves us with.

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31 of 34 people found this review helpful


By Jim "The Impatient" on 01-09-15

IT'S FULL OF STARS

2 CHILD LAWS, NEWSPAD (I-PAD), STARGATE
I have lost track of how many times I have read the book, listened on tape, watched the movie, and now I have downloaded it. Arthur C. Clarke is in a class, all by himself. To hear his voice in the introduction was a real treat. It is amazing the amount of things he wrote about in the sixties that are now everyday things.

Kids under 40 may find this book and the movie to be a little slow and a little technical. That is only in parts. The story as a whole is a masterpiece.

The book differs from the movie slightly and that is explained by Clarke in the introduction. A good look into the making of a movie and the writing of a book. To be honest I felt that the tension built by dealing with HAL was done better in the movie. I loved this, but I really liked (The City and The Stars )and (Rendezvous with Rama) better.

I had not realized until this reading that Clarke was part of the group warning us about overpopulation, Pohl, Harrison, Asimov, and Silverberg among many. He talks about Americans having meatless days and about many countries having 2 child laws. If you are over 50, you may remember the hysteria about overpopulation and the dire predictions for the turn of the century. Things we need to think about as today's writers call us stupid for not freaking out over there warnings about the most popular predicted crises of today.

Dick Hill is my favorite narrator.

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22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Martin on 07-31-14

Excellent... but why no 2010 on Audible yet?

Superb story, I have been patiently waiting for 2010, book 2 in the series to be available on Audible, but we can only get books 1,3 & 4 which seems a bit of a shame? I have seen both the movies and really would like to hear the story and complete the series.. please :)

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful


By Ben on 07-01-12

Loved it, but where's the sequel?

Perfect audio version, loved it, but how come 2010 (the sequel) isn't available on Audible? Books 3 and 4 are! Really would love to listen to it, but I guess I'm going to have to resort to a dead tree version as it isn't even available on Google Play or Kindle :(

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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By Ben on 06-24-16

watch out for Authors spoiler

Excellent book,great reader. Arthur c Clark was ahead of his time.Author's comments at the start gave some of the story away. Still loved it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 12-04-17

A great story

I loved the movie and now I loved reading the book
Aurthur c Clarke is a truly great author

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