2001: A Space Odyssey was Clarke's first venture into the film world. Kubrick and Clarke had previously met in 1964 to discuss the possibility working togeher on a film project. As this idea developed, it was decided that the story would be loosely based on the short story The Sentinel, written by Clarke in 1948 as an entry in a BBC short story competition. Clarke was originally going to write the screenplay for the film, but this proved to be impractical. Instead, they both decided it would be for the best to write the novel first and then adapt it for the film when completed. However, in reality, as Clarke was finishing the book, the screenplay was also being written at the same time.
2001 stands as one of cinemas great classic films and is still enjoyed to this day. The rich story and characters are brought to life even more in the novel. A true great in science fiction literature.
This book shouldn't need an explanation. It's one of the biggest classics of SciFi! It actually is an extrapolation of Clarke's earlier short story 'The Sentinal'. It takes place in the year 2001 (DUH!). Scientists discover a strange black pillar on the surface of the moon. When they examine it, it sends out a signal that is traced to somewhere near Saturn. The space-ship Discovery is sent out to envestigate equipped with a highly intelligent computer called Hal9000.
If you've seen the movie by Stanley Kubrik, still this book is worth reading if just for the way the movie is time-period-based and your imagination isn't. The film is very loyal to the book (since Clarke wrote the book at the same time as the movie was being developed), but a single movie can never recapture an entire book.
The story is full of mystery and technology. The way Hal9000 goes haywire because it has to act against it's programming is unforgettable in my opinion. I think the psychedelic journey in the end of the movie works much better on paper. It's hard to visualize abstract feelings on screen, but in the book you really feel the excitement.
All-in-all this is a well-deserved classic. It's got tension, mystery and wonder. It withstands the test of time, although some of 'future' technology will not be as 'state-of-the-art' as it was in the sixties. If you like this book, be sure to read 2010 - Odyssee 2! This is the first sequal and in my humble opinion the best of the lot!
Written on Saturday 1st November 2008 by Antony Jones.
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