Sunday, November 23, 2008

2001: A Space Odyssey

I just read 2001 by Arthur C. Clarke. I also watched the film by Kubrick.
The film feels very arty, and I remember after seeing it the first time thinking "what just happened?". The book is much better from an understanding point of view, and actually after you've read it, you can see where Kubrick is going with it.
The book is very readable and I really enjoyed it. Much of it is still in prediction territory, regardless of the name. You really have to remember that this was written in 1968 before the whole moon landing thing.
I love the coriolis tech used in the space stations and ships, although I'm pretty sure you need a radius of at least 300m to feel comfortable. The 10m radius of David Bowman's exploration ship's rotating section would drive a person insane.
The themes are all very cool, although I was disturbed by the implication that at alien race may have been needed to push apes into humanity.
The book should have ended two chapters earlier than it did as well, with the Starchild. The subsequent chapters are about a pre-Babylonian hunter/gatherer tribe meeting aliens, and an exploration group on the moon finding a different alien artifact. Irrelevant and irritating. Clarke was ahead of his time with the whole consciousness run on computers, then as pure energy. 1968. Damn.

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