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2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  154,150 Ratings  ·  3,036 Reviews
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, the Discovery, is sent to investigate. Its crew is highly trained--the best ...more
Mass Market Paperback, Signet J7765, 221 pages
Published July 1st 1968 by Signet/New American Library (first published April 28th 1968)
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Asa and Becky For me, it was a page turner. It usually takes me about a week to read through a book this size. This one took me a weekend.
William Under idealised conditions, yes.
1. I would have to be 25 or 30 again, not 63!
2. There would have to be reliable, side-effect-free deep sleep
Under idealised conditions, yes.
1. I would have to be 25 or 30 again, not 63!
2. There would have to be reliable, side-effect-free deep sleep
3. Velocities of 10-20% the speed of light or more
4. The ship would need to support 25-50 travellers, for intelligence, variety and skills
5. Medical technology etc would have to preclude any but the most mild illnesses
6. Bionic amplification of our bodies, e.g. integrated AI inside our minds

None of these requirements seem to ask too much, for if we intend to visit the stars, we had better grow up and be truly ready. No "going over the falls in a barrel" for me.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jack Beltane
Mar 23, 2008 Jack Beltane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is always better than the film, but I'd never read 2001 before. What I didn't know, until reading the foreword, is that this novel was literally written in tandem with the film, with Clarke and Kubrick feeding each other ideas. At some points, however, filming overtook writing, or vice versa, and the two stories, though similar, split along two different paths.

After reading the book, the film becomes little more than a very well crafted container: It's pretty and neat to look at it, bu
Dan Schwent
Aug 16, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
An alien artifact teaches a man-ape to use tools. Heywood Floyd goes to the moon to investigate a mysterious situation. Dave Bowman and his crewmates, most of them in cryogenic sleep, head toward Saturn....

Let me get my two big gripes out of the way first.
1. Arthur C. Clarke's characters are cardboard cutouts and largely interchangeable with one another.
2. Arthur C. Clarke's prose doesn't bring all the boys to the yard.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I enjoyed this book very much. Some o
Jul 27, 2015 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disc
Dirk Grobbelaar
Wow. This is really something. Forget what you think you know if you’ve seen the film.

This is surely a landmark piece of Science Fiction. Although Clarke divulges a lot more detail here than Kubrick incorporated into his film, the mystic aspect of space is still present. I also enjoyed learning more about the monoliths and their true nature and/or purpose.

For some reason I thought the opening sequence (the Dawn of Man) would be boring. It wasn’t. In fact, despite being much more comprehensive th
Jul 26, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I first read this book as a teenager I hated it, I thought it was so dry and impenetrable. I loved the Kubrick movie for its weirdness though. Clearly I was not one of the brighter kids of my generation. Having said that while I like it very much on this reread I can see why I could not appreciate it in my teens. Clarke’s scientific expositions can be very detailed but I would not call them dry now because I find them quite fascinating. The fact that when you are on the moon Earth is the mo ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read 2001: A Space Odyssey when I was a teenager and knew it was a very influential work of fiction because of the film and all the attention it had received. Still, though I found it very entertaining, I did not really get it.

Thirty years later, I have read it again, and though I may not completely get it the second time around, the more mature reader can better grasp the vision and message of the genius author. I especially enjoyed the many allusions to other works and found the re
Brendon Schrodinger
Daah daaahh dah

DA DA!!!

boom boom boom boom boom

That's how the book starts. I swear. No lie. Then there is twenty pages of men in rubber suits called Oog and Ugg.

No, not really.

I'm like most people I guess (only in this regard) in that I saw the movie before the book. And it's a damn fine movie if you have some patience. It's beautiful and oh my god it's full of stars. So it's natural that the comparison is made between text and movie here. But, unusually, the book was written alongside the movi
4.5 Stars. The books of Arthur C. Clarke (at least the ten or so that I have read) have been consistently good and of very high quality. When I pick up one of his books, I can be confident that I won't be disappointed. This book is terrific and don't think that if you have seen the movie you know what is going to happen.
Eric Althoff
Aug 16, 2007 Eric Althoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-Fi goons
Subversive, mysterious, incredible, mind-boggling, and ultimately hopeful, Arthur C. Clarke's "proverbial good science-fiction" novel--written concurrently with his and Stanley Kubrick's screenplay--is the ultimate trip into the universe and mankind's cycle of evolution. The apes of the first section evolve into spacefaring humankind, and then the protagonist, David Bowman, morphs into the Star Child, showcasing hope that from the darkness and the slime, this fragile human species might see beyo ...more

Posle čitanja jednog ovakvog remek-dela teško je naći prave reči koje bi iskazale divljenje koje osećam prema Arturu Klarku; čovek je pravi genijalac, vizionar, a na momente mi se činilo kao da nije sa ove planete.

Priznajem, oduvek sam bila fascinirana Svemirom. Kada sam bila mala, Mesec je za mene bio nešto najveličanstvenije što postoji. Svakakve ideje su mi se u to vreme motale po glavi, počev od toga da li neko živi na Mesecu, pa do toga šta bi bilo kad bi Mesec jednog dana pao na Zemlju?! Š
Mar 07, 2016 Scarlet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jill
Recommended to Scarlet by: Samadrita
I did not expect a book on extra-terrestrial life to leave me thinking about the evolution of mankind.

You won't find any alien action here, no war-of-the-worlds scenario. Instead, 2001 is a book that relies on the sheer strength of ideas - which is what I believe good science-fiction should be about. All those intriguing what-if and maybe questions that can challenge your beliefs and change your perspective.

Maybe light is not the fastest medium there is. How do we know what lies buried on the mo
Sep 11, 2013 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terry by: Kirstine
Shelves: sci-fi
3 – 3.5 stars

Another entry in my occasional forays into classic SF and I’d have to say this one was definitely a success. The Big Ideas in this one are sufficiently big and yet handled deftly enough that they don’t completely overshadow the story. The prose and characterisation, as I generally expect from ‘classic’ SF, were unexceptional (one might say ‘workmanlike’), but I didn’t find them to be off-putting as I often do when I try dipping into earlier examples of the genre where the ‘big idea’
2001: A Space Odyssey: The perfect collaboration between book and film
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Arthur C. Clarke collaborated with Stanley Kubrick to produce the novel version of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) in order to provide the basis for the brilliant film of the same name. So although the book can be considered the original work, Kubrick also had a role in its creation, and Clarke rewrote parts of the book to fit the screenplay as that took shape.

Readers and viewers will foreve
Henry Avila
The opening scene , a tribe of ape- men ,in Africa,finding a strange gyrating monolith .Another rock to these few primitives, at first.But after the light show,the tribe is fascinated.It teaches them how to make and use tools.Kill animals and prevent their own extinction. With an unlimited supply of food and not be dependent on plants and fruit ,for survival.Very rare during the long drought conditions(millions of years long).The human race might reach its destiny ,for better or worse ,after all ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
“They became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed and sometimes they reaped.
And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed.”

Written a year before Neil Armstrong became first man to step on moon, the science fiction story is really well written. Clark mixes his speculative predictions with true events from past (like the panic caused by broadcastings of Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’) and once he quoted Niels Bohr (““Your theory is crazy-but not crazy enough to be true.”) I loved his descrip
Mar 17, 2009 C.S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was listening to the radio a few weeks back, and I came across an interview with a film critic and historian who'd recently published a book of 1000 movies everyone should see before they die. The host of the program asked about this film and that, how the book was compiled, what the author's favorite movies were, things of that nature. And then he asked him what he thought the most overrated film of all time was, to which the author immediately replied "Citizen Kane."

And of course he is quite
Jan 25, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will always love 2001: A Space Odyssey no matter how many times I read it, and I think this is the third or fourth time. There’s a definite plot — which I really can’t comment on without giving away spoilers — but 2001 is more than just a “story” — it’s a very conceptual, scientific, and thought-provoking book. No matter how many times I read 2001 (and the three follow-ups: 2010, 2061, and 3001), my mind is blown every time. Arthur C. Clarke had such a brilliant mind.

all my reviews can be foun
Gabriel C.
Oct 18, 2015 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: among-others, 2012
-Arthur C. Clark is obsessed with exposition.
-He loves the idea of first contact with aliens to the point of sickness.
-He thinks that humans (who matter) are essentially rational technocrats, making their behavior both boring and puppet-like.
-The only female characters in this book were ape-men [sic] and two stewardesses.
-There were several pretty problematic passages, like the following:

"Yet already...the warmth and frequency of the conversations with their girls on Earth had begun to diminish
Mar 05, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read much science fiction, but I’m continuously awed by how incredibly devoted it is to instruction. Most fiction seeks to entertain or to describe or to prod, either intellectually or emotionally. Science fiction, on the other hand, wants to educate. Its readers are learners, its authors teachers. And the class syllabus is vast: it covers subjects like the functioning of planetary orbits or astronaut behavior in zero gravity, yet I’m tempted to label this area of instruction as pedest ...more
Unfortunately, most of the best bits in the movie aren't in the book. The first one I think of is the sequence where Bowman has finally arrived at Jupiter. In the book, it's Saturn, and the Monolith is in the moon Iapetus; this is clever, and from a scientific point of view a more plausible place to put it, but poetically is completely flat.

In the movie, we get this unforgettable picture of all the Jovian satellites majestically lining up to the strains of Thus Spake Zarathustra; every time I h
Feb 29, 2012 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I have seen Stanley Kubrick's movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, a handful of times and I think it is an incredible film as will as a cinematic achievement. I still like Clarke's novel version of the story even more. Clarke's genius was in telling stories involving complex science and history altering events and telling it in a way that was easily understood. If you have only seen the movie, the book is even better. At least I think so.
Nov 08, 2015 0rkun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ekleyeceğim bir şey yok, inanılmaz güzeldi.
Jan 12, 2016 rahul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book, the movie and this song.

Space Oddity-David Bowie

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom

Ahh, what would life be without books, movies, music...

Ahmad Sharabiani
389. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke
آرتور سی. کلارک، 2001 یک ادیسه فضایی
عنوان: راز کیهان؛ نوشته: آرتور سی کلارک؛ مترجم: هوشنگ غیاثی نژاد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، پاسارگاد، چاپ دوم 1374؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م
To prepare myself for reading this book I first went and read the short story that inspired it. You can find a copy in the authors collected short stories The Sentinel or you can do what I did and find a version online. It's only 6 pages long and for the most part is a fairly ordinary description of a journey across the Moon, until a mysterious Monolith is discovered and reawakened by the curious travellers. It's the last few lines that elevate this story from the mundane to the sublime.

"we hav
Sep 01, 2015 Owlseyes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Owlseyes by: c larke
Shelves: sci-fi
Before the book or the movie, since they are looks into the future,allow me to recall Clarke's wishes when he turned 90 (yes,"90 orbits" completed round the sun): (1) evidence of extraterrestrial life to be found, (2) humanity to kick its addiction on oil,rather than clean energies, (3) a lasting peace to be reached in "his" divided Sri Lanka--his abode for 50 years.

How would he like to be remembered? [though he had many trades,I would say]

---as a writer, like Kipling.

I've watched a lot of t
Wayne Barrett
Jan 13, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, sci-fi, 2015

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

This was more a story about the universe observing us than it was us observing the universe.
Moonwatcher the caveman, David Bowman the astronaut, the black, rectangular monolith from the unknown and of course, Hal 9000. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the Science Fiction greats. There are some slow moments but over all the book had that great quality of taking my mind to unexplored regions delving into the amazing mysteri
Dany Burns
Feb 04, 2016 Dany Burns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did really enjoy this book. There isn't a lot of dialogue in this book which I didn't have a problem with but some people might not like that. The ending is a little confusing but the book was still enjoyable. There really isn't much of HAL in this book which was surprising to me but I don't think that it was detrimental to the story. Overall I think this is a great read and very necessary for anyone who likes science fiction.

"And eventually even the brain might go. As the seat of consciousness, it was not essential; the development of electronic intelligence had proved that. The conflict between mind and machine might be resolved at last in the eternal truce of complete symbiosis…"

You know what my favorite thing in the universe is? Human consciousness. It is such a mind-boggling thing, it leaves me sleepless just marveling at the fact that it exists. It’s a goddamned miracle, is what it is. So I love this book. And
Oct 15, 2013 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why did no one make me read 2001: A Space Odyssey before? It's really, really good. I don't know quite what I was expecting, but not a really easy, absorbing read like this. It's so famous now that of course you know some of what happens going in, but the attention to detail and the quality of the guesswork is really great, and some parts of it are gorgeous.

It might be a classic now, but it still has power. I was riveted. I was loath to put it down even when I got to the Angry Robot office for m
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Arthur C. Clarke was one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century science fiction. He spent the first half of his life in England, where he served in World War Two as a radar operator, before emigrating to Ceylon in 1956. He is best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-created with the assistance of Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke was a graduate of King's Co
More about Arthur C. Clarke...

Other Books in the Series

Space Odyssey (4 books)
  • 2010: Odyssey Two (Space Odyssey, #2)
  • 2061: Odyssey Three (Space Odyssey, #3)
  • 3001: The Final Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #4)

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“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many--perhaps most--of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven--or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; 'Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?'

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stranger.”
“The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.” 75 likes
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