Min­utes ago I fin­ished read­ing Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is, undoubt­ed­ly, one of the best sci­ence fic­tion nov­els I have ever perused. It makes no bones about its sta­tus as alle­go­ry [which I, like Tolkien, have cor­dial­ly dis­liked for some time]. But it does not strike me as an alle­go­ry about human­i­ty as much as it is for human­i­ty. The sto­ry is about uni­ver­sal poten­tial. It also works as a good accom­pa­ni­ment to the film.

Sir Arthur deserves his knight­hood for Con­tri­bu­tions to Lit­er­a­ture from this book alone. The writ­ing is superb, con­cise, and poignant. He is able to keep a theme run­ning for over three mil­lion years by the use of a sim­ple sym­bol and a remark­able grasp on basic human impuls­es. Per­haps hard­est to ful­ly appre­ci­ate is Clarke’s inti­ma­tion that an extra­so­lar enti­ty is respon­si­ble for the the suc­cess of human­i­ty. Although it could very well seem insult­ing to stan­dard man-ape that we are mere­ly an exper­i­ment, Clarke some­how man­ages to con­vince the read­er to be proud that we are an exper­i­ment — most­ly because we are a suc­cess­ful one.

This is def­i­nite­ly a book I plan on pur­chas­ing at the next avail­able oppor­tu­ni­ty.

6 Replies

  • what the ten px already there don’t look good on safari? damn thing looks fine on every oth­er brows­er i’ve checked. [on both mac and pc: opera, mozil­la, ie, netscape, fire­bird, camino]

  • I dun­no why i’m here haha, and i have no idea how i got in your site. Any­ways, i did some read­ing. Nice! Hmmnn i know A.C. Clarke but i haven’t read that book you were say­ing. Sounds very inter­est­ing. Might check it out some­time. Okaayy, guess i bet­ter be off. Sor­ry for the intru­sion haha. Have a great day!

  • I read 2001 in less than a day. I find 2010 to be a wor­thy sequel. You might want to take a look at that one too Harv. I fin­ished 2010 in 5 hours flat.

  • I read Clarke’s entire oeu­vre in 7 min­utes flat, then as sure as God made lit­tle green apples, I trans­lat­ed the afore­men­tioned into Esperan­to and col­lo­qui­al Egypt­ian Ara­bic, in the fol­low­ing 12. Not to brag, but I was doing the trans­la­tions simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, Franklin-style: the Esperan­to with my left hand, the Ara­bic with my right. By the twen­ti­eth minute, I was eat­ing foie gras on my porch, with Nordic roy­al­ty, to the sound of trum­pets, while Brazil­ian super­mod­els aggres­sive­ly fel­lat­ed me. Boomshakala­ka; I’m spent.

    Note to Adam: let’s get a few pix­els of cell padding in these tables.

  • I found 3001 to also be a very inter­est­ing read as well. I’ve been a big Clarke fan for many years. I am glad you took the time to read them, Adam.

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