Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)'s Reviews > 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 by Arthur C. Clarke
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really liked it
bookshelves: 20list, 2020, f-fantasy-scifi, fiction, format-ebooks, source-library

Ever since I read 2001: A Space Odyssey, I have been seeing references of this book in everything - the monolith that suddenly showed up and just as suddenly disappeared in Utah. And then, that report of an interstellar object (Oumuamua) that visited our Solar System recently. Plus, the mystery in 2001: A Space Odyssey is not even unusual if you have recently been watching a lot of Star Trek. For a glorious minute, I almost said 'eh, been there, seen that' before earth came crashing to me and reminded me that even Star Trek was fantasy. (That was a very glorious minute though.)

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the spacecraft Discovery is on its way to Saturn on a highly secret mission - something that the crew and the onboard computer HAL seem to have had a different understanding of. As they count down the days, it isn't clear if they are all on the same page. It isn't long before things start getting fatally wrong.

This is the second time I started this book. Even this time, as during my first attempt, I struggled to read past Part 2 (of 6). Without giving a lot away - this book can be thought of as three stories or timelines. Each story ends abruptly (almost in a cliffhanger) and aren't connected to the main thread of the story until much later. By the time I started Part 3, I didn't feel too good about getting into another story that may end just as abruptly, but I'm glad I persisted because things do start coming together soon.

I typically enjoy reading or watching about space - it is, to me, the final frontier - the one whose mysteries are far from being solved. It feels lonely sometimes imagining Earth as the only one with sentient life and so, I prefer to believe that we just don't have the means to detect life on other planets yet. 2001: A Space Odyssey is set in a period when we just begin to have the ability to send manned spacecrafts on interplanetary travel and so, it doesn't feel too futuristic. This book was released right after the beginning of the Space Age, when it may have seemed possible to be on the Moon by 2001. Sadly, it's 2020 now and our Space goals are mostly still the same.

Much of 2001: A Space Odyssey reads as fast-paced and is filled with tension. Even as the spacecraft nears Saturn, there is so much anticipation and fear filling this moment. I enjoyed most of the book, except for the last part, which is where things get really wacky. It was certainly far-fetched but mostly, it felt like an attempt to make things larger than they are but instead, it ended up feeling sillier than it should be. Remember the GOT last season? All that buildup for what Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen could become, and then poof, that ridiculous ending. That's what I felt when I finished 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Still, I'd like to know where the story goes next (three more books in this series). I don't know how soon I will read it - if they have similarly outrageous endings, then it may be worth it to wait a while. I do feel that if this book had ended right before that last part, it would still have gotten a wonderful ending and I may even have rated it 5 stars. It could be a good standalone book but after reading the synopsis of the second book, I know we will be seeing these characters again.

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Reading Progress

July 2, 2017 – Shelved
January 22, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 27, 2020 – Shelved as: 20list
December 10, 2020 – Started Reading
December 23, 2020 – Shelved as: fiction
December 23, 2020 – Shelved as: f-fantasy-scifi
December 23, 2020 – Shelved as: 2020
December 23, 2020 – Shelved as: source-library
December 23, 2020 – Shelved as: format-ebooks
December 23, 2020 – Finished Reading

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