In the prehistoric African plains, a strange alien monolith appears amongst the early humanoids. As it reaches out to study the primitive lifeforms they learn more and more, progressing to the point of using very primitive tools. When the monolith has learned what it sets out to, it disappears, along with many others, leaving in its wake a more advanced civilization-one on its path to intelligence and survival.
In 1999, Dr. Heywood Floyd is needed on Clavius Base to review an electromagnetic disturbance. When they investigate a large black monolith is found, its appearance and creation hinting intelligent origins.
The Discovery One is sent to Saturn with most of the crew put into stasis. The ship is run by two humans: Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole. They are assisted by HAL 9000- an artificial intelligence that is extremely human in attitude and manner.
As the ship continues on its journey into the vastness of space HAL begins to report malfunctions to various parts of the ship…many of which are not occurring. The problem is HAL refuses to admit that his diagnosis was wrong. While trying to fix the issues Bowman and Poole discover that more might be going on that they realize. What happens when your supercomputer might be trying to kill you? And what are these odd monolithic structures doing popping up all over the globe?
-Author: created by Arthur C. Clarke at the request of Stanley Kubrick
-Number of Pages: 221/224
-Main Characters: Moon-Watcher, Dr. Heywood Floyd, David Bowman/Star Child, Frank Poole, HAL-9000
-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! Also available on Audible if you enjoy audiobooks!
-Page of Reference in RP1: 107
Review (contains spoilers):
Honestly not my favorite book, but I was fascinated with the story that was told at the beginning of the copy of the book I read. It was a foreward with Arthur C. Clarke himself where he discussed how the story came together in the first place.
Usually when I am reviewing movies that are based off of a book it is a struggle to review whichever one I am less familiar with. In this case I had seen the film of 2001: A Space Odyssey several times before. It is classic science-fiction and is often recommended as one of the top 100 sci-fi films that you should watch in your lifetime.
As I read through the book (well, honestly, listened to the audiobook because multi-tasking for the win!), I was fascinated by how closely the book followed the film. Like eerily close. This is super common in a lot of older films that I’ve experienced based off of a written material verses but this particular novel/film pairing was basically the same save the book goes to Jupiter and the movie goes to Saturn…other than that they are identical.
So I went back and read the forward. I’m terrible and usually skip it because it often doesn’t add much to the enjoyment of the book for me. If I’m interested in what the author or the publisher or whoever put together the publication thought was important enough to add in something of the sort then I’ll go back.
I’m glad I did. It changed a lot of my perspective on this book.
Apparently, the film and the book were basically written together. In fact the novel is basically just the screenplay…but since Stanley Kubrick knew that Arthur C. Clarke would be bored writing a screenplay he asked Clarke to write a book instead when Kubrick approached him asking if they could collaborate on a science-fiction story.
While that doesn’t change how I feel about the writing (pretty much the same I feel about most adult and/or straight science-fiction novels-what can I say they aren’t my cup of tea), or the plot (quite long and drawn out…and it was really hard to see the connection and why it started in the prehistoric era…), or even the ending (why is Star Child even a thing???)… it did give me some insight into why the two things were so insanely similar.
My opinion on the book: if you are a hard-core science-fiction lover, read it, you’ll probably love it or at least enjoy seeing where a lot of modern sci-fi stories, ideas and storytelling come from. If you aren’t a hard core sci-fi novel lover….just watch the movie…its literally the same thing.
Oh, and I did enjoy the audiobook if that is your jam. The narrator had a pleasant voice to listen to.