Saturday, 12 January 2013

2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke

2001: A Space Odyssey wasn't at all what I was expecting. I expected a fantastic story travelling through space. What I got was a weird beginning with it's basis in prehistoric man and an almost comic mass murder by a computer system with it's own awareness.

The interim was somewhat boring. There was a large amount of navel gazing as two characters travelled into space, they weren't really aware of a lot, they were just on a very long journey where they were able to spend most of their time reading and sleeping. After they'd been doing this for a couple of years the computer decided to identify a non-existent problem, repeatedly. While one of the characters was in the process of fixing this it detached then pod he was floating in causing him to float into a solar flare and make him the first person to the higher awareness.

The computer then proceeds with the murder of the three sleeping passengers, and the attempted murder of the captain of the ship, at which point the captain proceeds to shut him down and eventually lose all contact with earth. He floats for some time and does eventually reach his final destination, by which point it has become useless since he cannot carry out the tests that were planned, or transmit the data back to earth.

The story ends with the captain being 'upgraded' for want of a better term to a superior being.

What I'd expected from this book was a pacy story, above all there for interest. It was in fact more of an inner reflection written in reasonably dry prose.


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