Summary from Goodreads:
The dramatic novel of one of the most spectacular films ever produced.
Space is the final frontier. Space is the undiscovered country. Space is the place where no man….no one…has truly gone before. I may be utilizing a lot of Star Trek quotes, but Star Trek itself might owe a lot of its own existence to one novel in particular. As a matter of fact, the entire Space exploration/adventure genre of novels, games and movies owe its existence to one novel. These grand pieces of science fiction which I am referring to include Star Wars, Mass Effect, Firefly, Babylon 5 and many more. The one novel in question? 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Arthur C. Clarke’s stunning and illuminating vision of the future is presented in a grand scale in this genre defining novel. The novel itself created a movie which has stood the test of time and has been highlighted to be of historical importance by the Congressional Library. It has been preserved for its historical significance and rightfully so; it is a tale of a better tomorrow for all mankind. The legendary and visionary director Stanley Kubrick created this film with support from Arthur C. Clarke himself. It is perhaps one of the few movies I can think of which is as good as its literary originator and that is a profound compliment. I do not want to go in detail about how much I do love the movie, as it is one of my favorites, but I do want to stress to you all reading this the importance of viewing this movie after reading my review. So much so that I would like to include this clip from the opening of the movie, just to add a bit more depth to my review. The clip itself will provide a different scope to my review. It is that important to me for you all to be able to understand the true significance this novel had on the science fiction genre.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWnmCu3U09w This clip is the intro to the movie and exudes a sense of power and beauty.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd3-1tcOthg This clip signifies the evolution of humanity and is our first step towards the stars.
It is hard to begin how to accurately depict such a deep prose which was written by a genius of science fiction. This novel is not long by any stretch, but its impact felt on the reader is undeniable. The novel depicts the past, present, and future of humanity. Now this may seem like an overused literary exploration, but to my knowledge, no one truly did it before and no one has done it better since. The past is depicted at the dawn of human history. It shows the first steps of mankind, from ape to man as they go from being so primitive, walking hunched and grunting to eventually using tools to kill, thus blazing the way for us (modern humanity) to exist. Sounds like something you might have heard about in school? Well in your studies, did you ever remember hearing about a black monolith making its presence known to early man, thus jump starting evolution? I thought not, but in 200: A Space Odyssey, that is exactly what happens. The beginning and end of the book are my favorite parts because of what they offer to the reader; a new perspective on us.
“My god…its full of stars!”–David Bowman
Arthur C. Clarke did not just write a science fiction book; he wrote THE science fiction book. At least it can be considered the premier science fiction book of the 20th century. It helped to redefine what the genre truly is and what it is truly capable of. This book speaks to our own human nature and as I stated, offeres a new perspective on us. The writing itself is masterful. Sometimes with a deep science fiction book, the writing can be a bit plodding as the terms are unfamiliar and the scenery is alien (no pun intended), but Arthur C. Clarke’s words are impactful and simple, which is a rare and difficult feat to achieve. I choose not to explain the details of the book, as if I were to do so, the grand voyage of this sweeping tale would be spoiled. Instead I must stress the importance of this book; reading this will change your entire perspective on how you fit into the universe. It is an understated book, so its true message are but subtle nuances and one must pay close attention for its full effect to be felt. If one is observant enough, by the climax of the book, a feeling of overwhelming pride and a renewed passion for life would be felt. Whether you are intrigued by the Moon-Watcher, perplexed by the actions of HAL-9000, or are astonished by the journey of David Bowman, anyone will be able to take something from this book and use that to enrich their lives.