Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Star-Child


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
by Arthur C. Clarke

There before him, a glittering toy no Star-Child could resist, floated the planet Earth with all its peoples ... Then, he 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 ...

Enigmatic, frustrating, but revolutionary ... Arthur C. Clarke's novel of 2001: A Space Odyssey was developed concurrently with the Stanley Kubrick film version and was published after the movie's release.  Though many find the film's deliberate pace with LONG stretches of nearly silent imagery dull, I find it fascinating.  I am NEVER bored by the classic film, which many critics now consider to be one of the greatest ever made.

I remember picking up the book as a teen and poring over every. little. detail.  What were the monoliths?  How were they controlling man's evolution?  More importantly, WHO was controlling man's evolution?  Why did HAL malfunction?  What happened to Bowman when he made his final mind-blowing trip to the monolith near Jupiter?  Was Bowman's transformation into the "celestial fetus" the final step in man's controlled evolution?

The book answered just enough of the questions to fill in SOME of the blanks, but fortunately not all.  This book began a small love affair with the work of Arthur C. Clarke - I followed it with Rendezvous with Rama (which was surprisingly the inspiration for a fascinating video game) and the three Space Odyssey sequels: 2010 (and its faithful film version), 2061, and 3001.  But NOTHING will match the majesty, poetry, mystery, and power of the original 2001.

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