Thursday, March 19, 2015

2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke

(hb; 1982: second novel in the Space Odyssey quadrilogy)

From the inside flap:

"When 2001: A Space Odyssey [was first published, it] was recognized as a classic. . . [It spawned] a host of questions. . .

"Who or what transformed Dave Bowman into the Star Child? What purpose lay behind the transformation? What would become of the Star Child?

"What alien purpose lay behind the monoliths on the Moon and out in space?

"What could drive HAL, a stable, intelligent computer, to kill the crew? Was HAL really insane? What happened to HAL and the spaceship Discovery after Dave Bowman disappeared?

". . . Now all those questions and many more have been answered. . . in this. . . sequel [to 2001: A Space Odyssey.]"


Writing a sequel to a widely-loved, landmark book can be a thankless task, as expectations  are often high for said continuations. No doubt, Clarke had some sense of this when he set to work on 2010.

Thankfully, this second entry in the Space Odyssey quadrilogy is a worthy continuation of 2001.

2010, while not as initially dramatic as the first book, has many of the same characters who were in, or mentioned in, 2001. Not only that, it has that slow-build, well-foreshadowed sense of menace, mystery and urgency that made the first book such a compelling read -- and it has enough updated real-life science to keep it interesting for "hard" science fiction readers, as well. The ending (intense and intriguing in its hair-raising action) is a satisfactory progression of the first book, and -- without pandering to the must-have-a-sequel urge -- sports a natural finish that inherently welcomes another book, as the mystery of this Odyssey (as well as its stakes) have been raised to an entirely new level.

Like 2001, 2010 is worth owning. Followed by 2061: Odyssey Three.


The film version, 2010, was released stateside on December 7, 1984. Peter Hyams, the film's director, also wrote its screenplay.

Roy Scheider played Dr. Heywood Floyd. John Lithgow played Dr. Walter Curnow. Helen Mirren played Tanya Kirbuk. Bob Balaban played R. Chandra. Elya Baskin played Maxim Brajlovsky.

Keir Dullea reprised his role as Dave Bowman. Douglas Rain once again voiced  HAL 9000.

Mary Jo Deschanel played "Betty Fernandez, Bowman's Wife". Dana Elcar played Dimitri Moisevitch. Madelyn Smith Osborne, billed as Madelyn Smith, played Caroline Floyd. Taliesin Jaffe played Christopher Floyd.  

Candice Bergen, billed as Olga Mallsnerd, voiced SAL 9000.

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