For Christmas this past year I bought my husband the Space Odyssey quartet by Sir Arthur C Clarke. I know there were two books: 2001 and 2010 as there are movies of each but I had no idea that there were two more: 2061 and 3001. Hubby read them all and enjoyed them overall. He did have a few complaints and gave me a warning in case I chose to read the books. So I was forewarned when I picked them up this summer which was probably a good thing or I might just have quit as I started the second book. With that said let me tell you a bit about each book.
2001: A Space Odyssey is not as I thought the basis of the movie by the same name, rather they were written concurrently. Clarke includes a great introduction to the book that explains the process he and Stanley Kubrick went through to write both the book and the movie. There are some differences between the two though as they are mainly in location it didn’t bother me. The story centers on the monoliths that appear throughout the solar system throughout history. I enjoyed the book more than the movie, I think because at the beginning when the monolith appears in Africa and you’re reading about the man-apes you get their thoughts. It feels much more complete as a story than the movie did. The next part is nearly identical. The section about Dave Bowman, Frank Poole, and the infamous HAL has some big changes from the movie but again they don’t feel odd even having seen the movie first.
2010: Odyssey Two begins thank goodness with a big intro by Clarke who explains that where the 2001 book and movie differed he wrote this book to follow the movie instead so there are some big differences. These were the ones that bothered hubby so much and to be honest even with the explanation it did bother me at first but as the story progressed I was able to move past it and simply enjoy. This story takes us back to space to the ship left behind from 2001 and to HAL.
2061: Odyssey Three a big jump in time for this story and yet some of the characters are the same amazingly though with the explanation given I was able to accept it and keep reading. I think this book and 2010 were actually my favorites of the set as they each have one major conflict thread that trails through the whole book. The original book was good and it does all tie together but it feels a bit disjointed. Again in 2061 people go back to space to save someone, it really was a good story.
3001: The Final Odyssey makes obviously a huge jump in time and I was amazed at the direction it took. Unlike the previous two book this one had several small conflicts and the big one didn’t come around until about halfway through the book. Still it is an interesting and engaging story.
If you like science fiction, if you like stories about space this is a set you should definitely read. I know I’ll be rereading it at some point in the future.