Friday, June 26, 2009 By: Suzanne

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke and other stuff

This is another classic of Sci-fi that I have not, until now, gotten around to reading. I did try to watch the movie about a year ago. I say try because I was simply bored. I fell asleep and never finished watching it. Jeff too. Too much cinematic beauty and not enough dialogue for me I guess.

I recently got an MP3 player (yes, my first, I am behind the times) and it came with a free audio book from That's when I chose The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint. I enjoyed being able to take my audio book with me where ever I wanted. I've listened to audio books in the past because I drive so much for work. It keeps me awake and from getting bored. But when I had it on my MP3 player I could take it ANYWHERE! I could listen to a story while I packed my house, while I unpacked the new house, while I walked the dogs, while I exercised, and of course, while I drove. It was wonderful! I'm so silly. I know this is something that most people take for granted every day because everyone in the world besides me already has I-Pods and their like. You'll notice I didn't say I had an I-Pod. Too expensive for me. Here's the irony. The very day AFTER I bought mine, the I-Pods went on sale to same price that I paid for mine because some newer, fancier I-Pod was about to be released. That's life for ya I guess.

Ok, less rambling...more to the point. Or maybe not. The whole reason I write these is because I want to share and make it more interesting than the professional on with the rambling!

Seriously, about 2001. I went back to Audible to see if they had any audio books for cheaper than I would find them in the store and I found a bunch of free stuff for members and then while I'm looking this thing pops up that says something about getting certain books for $1!! I downloaded a short story by Neil Gaiman and 2001.

can be found in the collection of short stories called Smoke and Mirrors. It is a hilarious story of what happens when an old woman finds the Holy Grail in her local antique store.

So, back to 2001 (I know, you're thinking, about time!). Before the book begins you get to listen to Arthur C. Clarke tell about the making of this book and the movie. It's fairly interesting. I was not aware that the idea was something that Clarke and Stanley Kubrick came up with together. In fact, Kubrick came to Clarke with the idea of having him write the book for his movie before the movie was made (before there was a screenplay). The book was to act partly as a reference for the screenplay so there wouldn't have to be as much written in the screenplay. The movie was to be released first but the book was written first. It's a very odd way to do things. I had always assumed that the movie was just based on the book. It's always interesting to learn that there's more to the story than you thought. He also talked about the fact that he never meant to write a sequel but it was a "public demanded it" sort of situation. Then, he ended up writing 2 more after that. Then he says, "A trilogy should never have more than 4 books." I loved that. He concluded with how sad he was that Kubrick died shortly before the celebration of the book and movie in the actual year 2001.

I was impressed with the writing of 2001. When I mentioned it to my mom (also a Sci-Fi buff) she was surprised that I had never read it or any of Clarke's other stuff. She started talking about what an amazing writer he is, about how Asimov gets all the credit but Clarke's book are much better. I find that interesting since she was always buying me the Robot Series'. Where were all these great Clarke books? JK mom!

The story was much better than I expected and took a turn I certainly was not expecting. I thought HAL would be a much bigger threat and I suppose he was a fairly huge threat but I guess I expected more from him. I didn't expect him to be taken out so soon after the threat was realized. I thought he would be the hinge of the rest of the book. I was very surprised at the turn (don't want to spoil it so I am repeating myself) just after that. WOW is all I can say.

The narrator, Dick Hill, did an amazing job as well. He got the intonation of the HAL from the movie down so well I actually looked it up to see if it was the same guy. Nope. The original HAL is Douglas Rain but the similarity is remarkable.

I will definitely reading more by Arthur C. Clarke and if you haven't read this, I suggest you do it soon!