Arthur C. Clarke
2001 Cover

2001: A Space Odyssey


2001 Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke known as one of the most famous sci-fi books (and movies) ever made. The book tells the story of 5 scientists (three frozen, two running the ship) and their computer, Hal, on their journey to Saturn to solve one of mankind's greatest mysteries, a mysterious obelisk that sent a beam of energy towards Saturn, from the Moon.

However, you do not actually know what the mystery is until the very end of the book. This was one of the details of the book that annoyed me. Only at the very end do you figure out what was happening the entire book. At the beginning it tells you the obelisk does something, but it never gets brought up until the very end. And not only that, even the scientists don't know! They have no idea what they are going out there for! As a reader, it annoyed me, but just imagine how does scientists felt, being millions of miles away and not knowing anything!

Another thing was the fact that it seemed like in each section of the book, there was a new set of characters. Just when it seemed like you could finally remember who everyone was, the section ends and you never hear about them again! However, in the end, you do finally see the connection between the different character sets at the very end, along with the conclusion to the mystery.

Also, almost none of the characters got any type of character development. Actually, this part wasn't so bad because A) most of them don't appear again after a few chapters, and B) *SPOILER* most of them are dead by the end of the book.

However, despite my complaints there were many good aspects of the book. The amazing detail of the view outside the spaceship, the characters themselves despite the lack of development, the entire story line (especially the parts with Hal! I would explain them, but that would be too much of a spoiler!), and especially the fact that even though this book was written in the 60's, many of the things he predicted happened. For example, "the population of the world was now 6 billion - a third of them in the Chinese Empire." (pg 37.) Among other things, he predicted the Internet, computers, computers that talk to you and help you do stuff (aka Hal=Siri), and many other things. Even the ending, although incredibly weird, was very well written, and if you think about it for a while, it eventually does make sense.

Despite some of my objections, it was an amazing book. The writing style, description, and plot just blow you away. I believe it is a must read for any sci-fi fan. Even though who aren't into sci-fi should read it, if only for the parts with Hal, and the ending. For a short book, it lacks almost nothing.