2010: Odyssey Two, by Arthur C. Clarke

My copy: 9780345303066

Now, I already reviewed the book “2001: A Space Odyssey” last month, so if you’ve read the book yourself, I’ll make sure to let you know some of the oddities and confusion that might stem from reading this book…especially if you haven’t seen the film. I saw the film “2010” probably a dozen times before I realized there was a book, so if you’re like me, I’ll help you out a bit.

First of all, 2010 the movie and 2010 the book are very similar, except that the book goes more into the exploration aspect and involves Chinese explorers and some interesting things about Europa, while the film streamlined the story while using it as a way to address the Cold War. Otherwise, story and structure follow each other, unlike in “2001” where the film has the Discovery headed toward Jupiter, but the book has the crew going to Saturn.

2010movie“2010,” however, must’ve taken cues from it’s predecessor’s popularity (especially the film version) and abruptly moves the action back to Jupiter–no mention of Saturn at all.

Told you there were oddities. It was probably too complicated to try and maintain the different and keep an audience. Sadly, Mr. Clarke isn’t here to answer…but I’ll be looking that up.

The basic premise is there’s a joint Soviet-American expedition to find out more about what happened to HAL-9000 and the Discovery, and to try to understand the 2km-Monolith hovering between Jupiter and Io. While on the way, you get to know the crew, the technology that takes them to Jupiter, and pretty much anything a Clarke fan or basic space-geek might find interesting. About the time the crew gets near Europa, they find that a Chinese ship has beaten them there and meets with disaster (in a way I won’t dare spoil). And when the joint crew get to the Discovery “shipwreck” tumbling in orbit, the oddities really begin.

For the most part, the ending satisfies, but the final chapter definitely sets up a sequel. The best way I can describe the series of books thus far is that “2001” brings out questions, “2010” gives some answers. If anybody found themselves incredibly confused by the presentation in “2001,” this book and the journey it describes is a much easier read. It’s more scientific than philosophical, more streamlined and is largely character and event-driven.

If you like Arthur C. Clarke’s works, or you loved the 2010 movie, then this would be a great companion piece and give a little deeper understanding without all the politics. I will likely read this one again, especially once I finish the series. I’ll have to read them all over again to see if I missed anything.

Addendum: I just found a fan thread and a book to possibly explain what changed between “2001” and “2010.” If you have questions of your own and would like to see more, check this page out. And now I have to add “Lost Worlds of 2001” to my reading list (sigh).

At this rate, I’ll never be done reading…though I should expect that.

2 thoughts on “2010: Odyssey Two, by Arthur C. Clarke

  1. FictionFan says:

    Intriguing! I loved 2001 when I read/watched them recently but haven’t either read or seen 2010 – must look out for them. I take it your repeat watchings of the film mean you think it’s a good one?


    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      It’s easier to digest, though some complain at the loss of mystery…but it’s a sequel for one and 2001 is a whole different animal. This leans more scientific, but I can’t help loving the ending. It makes me play “I wonder how that would work” a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

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