2001 Quotes

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2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1) 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
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2001 Quotes Showing 1-30 of 157
“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.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“It was the mark of a barbarian to destroy something one could not understand.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
tags: news
“Now I'm a scientific expert; that means I know nothing about absolutely everything.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“The thing’s hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God!—it’s full of stars!
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“. . . Moon-Watcher felt the first faint twinges of a new and potent emotion. It was a vague and diffuse sense of envy--of dissatisfaction with his life. He had no idea of its cause, still less of its cure; but discontent had come into his soul, and he had taken one small step toward humanity.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Then he [The Star Child] waited, marshaling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“. . . the newspapers of Utopia, he had long ago decided, would be terribly dull.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“But he knew well enough that any man in the right circumstances could be dehumanised by panic.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“The time was fast approaching when Earth, like all mothers, must say farewell to her children.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“If he was indeed mad, his delusions were beautifully organized.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Now times had changed, and the inherited wisdom of the past had become folly.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“He was prepared, he thought, for any wonder. The only thing he had never expected was the utterly commonplace.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Bowman was aware of some changes in his behavior patterns; it would have been absurd to expect anything else in the circumstances. He could no longer tolerate silence; except when he was sleeping, or talking over the circuit to Earth, he kept the ship's sound system running at almost painful loudness. / At first, needing the companionship of the human voice, he had listened to classical plays--especially the works of Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare--or poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library of recorded sounds. The problems they dealt with, however, seemed so remote, or so easily resolved with a little common sense, that after a while he lost patience with them. / So he switched to opera--usually in Italian or German, so that he was not distracted even by the minimal intellectual content that most operas contained. This phase lasted for two weeks before he realized that the sound of all these superbly trained voices was only exacerbating his loneliness. But what finally ended this cycle was Verdi's Requiem Mass, which he had never heard performed on Earth. The "Dies Irae," roaring with ominous appropriateness through the empty ship, left him completely shattered; and when the trumpets of Doomsday echoed from the heavens, he could endure no more. / Thereafter, he played only instrumental music. He started with the romantic composers, but shed them one by one as their emotional outpourings became too oppressive. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, lasted a few weeks, Beethoven rather longer. He finally found peace, as so many others had done, in the abstract architecture of Bach, occasionally ornamented with Mozart. / And so Discovery drove on toward Saturn, as often as not pulsating with the cool music of the harpsichord, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Unlike the animals, who knew only the present, Man had acquired a past; and he was beginning to grope toward a future.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“He was only aware of the conflict that was slowly destroying his integrity—the conflict between truth, and concealment of truth.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“He was moving through a new order of creation, of which few men had ever dreamed. Beyond the realms of sea and land and air and space lay the realms of fire, which he alone had been privileged to glimpse. It was too much to expect that he would also understand.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“He did not know that the Old One was his father, for such a relationship was utterly beyond his understanding, but as he looked at the emaciated body he felt a dim disquiet that was the ancestor of sadness.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“As his body became more and more defenseless, so his means of offense became steadily more frightful.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Now, before you make a movie, you have to have a script, and before you have a script, you have to have a story; though some avant-garde directors have tried to dispense with the latter item, you'll find their work only at art theaters.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“I’m a scientific expert; that means I know nothing about absolutely everything.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Jupiter's fly-by had been carried out with impeccable precision. Like a ball on a cosmic pool table, Discovery had bounced off the moving gravitational field of Jupiter, and had gained momentum from the impact. Without using any fuel, she had increased her speed by several thousand miles an hour.

Yet there was no violation of the laws of mechanics; Nature always balances her books, and Jupiter had lost exactly as much momentum as Discovery had gained. The planet had been slowed down - but as its mass was a sextillion times greater than the ship's, the change in its orbit was far too small to be detectable. The time had not yet come when Man could leave his mark upon the Solar System.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Turing had pointed out that, if one could carry out a prolonged conversation with a machine—whether by typewriter or microphones was immaterial—without being able to distinguish between its replies and those that a man might give, then the machine was thinking, by any sensible definition of the word. Hal could pass the Turing test with ease. The”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“There were other thinkers, Bowman also found, who held even more exotic views. They did not believe that really advanced beings would possess organic bodies at all. Sooner or later, as their scientific knowledge progressed, they would get rid of the fragile, disease-and-accident-prone homes that Nature had given them, and which doomed them to inevitable death. They would replace their natural bodies as they wore out—or perhaps even before that—by constructions of metal and plastic, and would thus achieve immortality.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“any man, in the right circumstances, could be dehumanized by panic.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“One by one he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display unit’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word “newspaper,” of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the everchanging flow of information from the news satellites. It was hard to imagine how the system could be improved or made more convenient. But sooner or later, Floyd guessed, it would pass away, to be replaced by something as unimaginable as the Newspad itself would have been to Caxton or Gutenberg.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Though the man-apes often fought and wrestled one another, their disputes very seldom resulted in serious injuries. Having no claws or fighting canine teeth, and being well protected by hair, they could not inflict much harm on one another. In any event, they had little surplus energy for such unproductive behavior; snarling and threatening was a much more efficient way of asserting their points of view.”
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey

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