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2001: A Space Odyssey

(Space Odyssey)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  287,060 ratings  ·  7,088 reviews
On the Moon, an enigma is uncovered.

So great are the implications of this discovery that for the first time men are sent out deep into our solar system.

But long before their destination is reached, things begin to go horribly, inexplicably wrong...

One of the greatest-selling science fiction novels of our time, this classic book will grip you to the very end.
Paperback, 297 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Roc (first published April 28th 1968)
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João Sousa This book is very well written, so I would say it is a "page turner". Sometimes I still pick it up just to read a chapter or two.…moreThis book is very well written, so I would say it is a "page turner". Sometimes I still pick it up just to read a chapter or two.(less)
Tobias Taylor Without question. I couldn't exist on Earth wondering at the possibility I had turned down.…moreWithout question. I couldn't exist on Earth wondering at the possibility I had turned down.(less)

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Jack Beltane
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 389 from 1001 books) - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey #1), Arthur C. Clarke

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke.

It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film.

Clarke and Kubrick worked on the book together, but eventually only Clarke ended up as the official author.

The story is based in part on various short stories by Clarke, including The Sentinel (written in 1948 f
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
I remember watching 2001: A space Odyssey about seven years back and almost losing my mind during the overlong Stargate sequence and what followed after that acid trip.

*The I might puke face*

Fast forward to 2017, one of my buddies called me up and said, 'Sreyas, 2001: Space Odyssey is a fricking classic. You should read the book before watching the movie'. Fortunately, I had a copy of the novel with me and I jumped right in!

❝ If he was indeed mad, his delusions were beautifully organize
Leonard Gaya
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This novel and the film stem from the same original project. Initially, Kubrick and Clarke had been working together on the same story. While Stanley Kubrick went on to make what is now his masterpiece (and one of the most amazing films in the history of cinema), Arthur C. Clarke wrote his most famous novels, alongside Childhood's End. The narratives in book and movie run parallel and so close to one another, that, while re-reading the novel, I have found it almost impossible to dismiss the imag ...more
Henry Avila
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
The opening scene of a tribe of ape- men in Africa finding a strange gyrating monolith, another rock to these few primitives at first. However after the light show the tribe is fascinated, 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 ponderous drought conditions (millions of years ). The human race might reach their destiny , for better or w ...more
4 stars first time I read
5 stars on the re-read

And, speaking of stars . . . an applicable quote:

"Oh my God, it's full of stars!"

2001: A Space Odyssey is a classic. It could easily be argued that it is one of the top 5 sci-fi books of all time based on its impact since the time it was released. Also, interesting to note as discussed in the intro to the book, the movie is not based on the book and the book is not based on the movie; Clarke and Kubrick collaborated on both and, in fact, the movie w
J.L.   Sutton
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
"He was moving through a new order of creation, of which few men had ever dreamed...which he alone had been privileged to glimpse. It was too much to expect that he would also understand."

There Is an Alien Power Driving the Frenzy Over the Utah Monolith. It's Just Not From Outer Space | artnet News

Second read: With the increasing sophistication of AI, it's interesting to read how early scifi writers (like Asimov and Heinlein) envisioned their role. While today's AI might not be self-aware, it/they seem(s) less cold technology and more human. 2001 is not about the technology, but the journey. There are st
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Sean Barrs
Jan 25, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, 2-star-reads
The film is WAY better than the book.

Sometimes I feel like there’s pressure in the reading community to side with the written word, to defend it over cinema because it’s supposed to be our preferred medium for storytelling. This isn’t always the case. And if I’m honest, I prefer theatre over anything. More importantly though, and what I’m trying to suggest here, is that the phrase “the book is always better” is simply incorrect.

Film comparisons aside, 2001 was not the book I was expecting. It’s
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
“He now perceived that there were more ways than one behind the back of space.”

As a longtime admirer of Stanley Kubrick’s dazzling film, I was more than a little hesitant about picking up this book, apprehensive that it might not be able to live up to my perhaps overly demanding expectations. And it did take me a good 50 pages or so before I really began to connect with Clarke’s writing. After that initial rough patch, however, I became increasingly immersed in this absorbing story, eventual
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. ...more
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
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won’t lie: I began reading 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke because I felt like I had to. It’s a book everyone talks about, and many who do have never read it. I’ll get around to the film soon too. Because of this, I never thought I would actually like it this much…

I love how episodic classic science fiction is

Yes, characterisation leaves something to be desired, but it doesn’t really matter. 2001: A Space Odyssey is about the story, the “What if?”. The characters do have some semblan
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
An SF classic that is more about concept and ideas than a traditional plot. Unlike the movie it does have a plot, though.

It all starts roughly three million years ago in Africa, with apes developing an understanding of their surroundings and how to overcome their limitations. With a little help from— our friends? Maybe.

I tried several times, but never got past that first sequence of the movie, until very recently. In the book, though, this part is written with wonderful imagination and quite som
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, classics
I enjoyed this reread on my commute to work. Below is my review from 2018 and my opinion hasn't changed since then. I really enjoyed this book except for the first part which was very boring.

Story wise 2001 a Space Odyssey was great; however, when I read books that say aliens helped humans along then that’s where I draw the line. Aliens did not build the pyramids. I don’t care what anyone says. I like aliens, don’t get me wrong. I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Ender's Game (one of my FAVORITE Sci-
B 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
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
Had taken from a short story by Arthur C. Clarke published in 1951 under the Sentinel, this novel had written in collaboration with Stanley Kubrick. He masterfully adapted it to offer us the 2001 space odyssey in 1968. Like many others, I saw the film on several occasions, bewitched by Zarathoustra and by the waltzes of Strauss, which stick so well to the images of Kubrick free of any dialogue. Hence, the confusing film ending, even if I appreciated that the director left the viewer the freedom ...more
Paul Haspel
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
2001, the year, is a long time ago now. A person born on this date in the year 2001 might now be halfway through his or her second year of college or university. And yet the novelistic and cinematic story that takes its name from the year 2001 is, if anything, more relevant and more compelling than ever.

2001: A Space Odyssey may be better known, within popular culture, as Stanley Kubrick’s visionary 1968 epic of science-fiction cinema. Yet Kubrick, working from an expressed wish to craft “the pr
Melody Sams
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like a lot of sci fi, the first half of the novel was a bit slow and hyper focused on a mysterious technology. It sets you up for curiosity. Which is great because if you love sci fi it’s probably because you like your mystery with a hint of tech.

But then came the descriptions of said technology. Which covered a good portion of the central half of the novel. This is a rough depiction of my face while reading it 🙄.

Then came the mind blowing, spectacularly done third act, which is a bit hard to g
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it's pretty safe to say that this is one of THE scifi novels, yet this is the first time I've read it. To be clear from the start: this, in my opinion, is not one of those book I'll likely enjoy again and again, but it was definitely important to have read it.

Almost confusingly, the novel opens in Africa, about 3 million years ago and shows us some prehistoric humans in their struggle for daily survival. The author snarkily describes their limitations and the immense impact "something" h
Without doubt this is a science fiction classic, and an early example of a novel and a movie that are born at the same time, adding detail and nuance to each other by the makers’ consistent communication and reflection on the respective effects of different media on the end result.

It is an experiment on many different levels, and a very successful one. As a story, I found it interesting and compelling, especially the hilarious initial chapter on early humans and the reason for their development
Lee  (the Book Butcher)
Jul 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
a reverse novelization follows the movie pretty closely. never really understood the end so i read this to see what i missed. Hal 9000 is terrifying!
Joe Valdez
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam Quixote
At the dawn of man, an alien monolith appears amidst the man-apes - and forever changes humanity’s destiny. 3 million years later, as the space age begins for mankind, another monolith is found - this time on the moon! - and appears to be transmitting to Japetus, one of Saturn’s moons. So the crew of the starship Discovery set out on their secret mission to locate the source. Will they discover the mystery of the monoliths, as well as make first contact with their creators, the aliens we might b ...more
Written as the Apollo space race was reaching the Moon!


Aliens uplift our prehistoric ancestors.


Then leave an artifact buried on the Moon for space going humans to discover.


This sets off an "intelligence" alarm for the long gone aliens.


The Odyssey leads us to Saturn where a large artifact takes us to. . .?


Simply fantastic.

Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the few instances where the movie was better than the book, but not by much. The remarkable thing about this book is how it stands the test of time. The science, the technology, the language, the style, all fit into our modern view as if it was written last week. It was published in 1968, before men walked on the moon, before cell phones, before...well, almost everything we take for granted these days. It is science fiction at it's best. ...more
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Arthur Charles 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

Other books in the series

Space Odyssey (4 books)
  • 2010: Odyssey Two
  • 2061: Odyssey Three
  • 3001: The Final Odyssey

Articles featuring this book

Andy Weir takes his readers on interstellar journeys that explore science, survival, and the solar system. His characters have been stranded on...
260 likes · 40 comments
“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.”
“It was the mark of a barbarian to destroy something one could not understand.” 163 likes
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