My copy: 9780345423498
Ah, at last we come to the end of the Odyssey saga, 1000 years after the start, and I’m not totally sure what to say about this one. It has a completely different feel than the other books, and it could be because of more than it’s focus.
The book is about Frank Poole, the same one from 2001. Don’t ask how he survived 1000 years in the cold of space before being picked up, because I still haven’t figured that part out. I mean, even if there was some air left in the tank and he’d been put in hibernation, it should’ve run out centuries before, right…okay, not a scientist, so let’s suspend disbelief.
Frank Poole’s picked up by a spacecraft harvesting ice from Saturn’s rings and gains a bit of fame as an anachronism. The first third or more of the book is living and navigating this era much the same way he has. Frank Poole feels like a convenient foil, taking in and asking questions on behalf of the audience. Some of the inventions sound fascinating, such as the Braincap, which lets you store everything you remember. However, I bet some people would be put off by the forays into philosophy, especially readers of a more religious persuasion.
I will say, though, that some moments make you stop and wonder, and just imagine what’s going on. His first date in this new world might make you cringe and belt out laughter all at the same time (worth a read for that part). Let’s just say if you had discussions with Star Trek fans about dating or sex with someone in another culture or species…yeah.
3001 is mostly about exploring “the world of tomorrow” than any real plot that I can decipher, but it does work. There’s also a bit more explanation of the monoliths, the discovery of the “original” monolith on Earth (love how Clarke threw some anthropology in there), and what Dave Bowman and HAL-9000 have become.
I found the ending a bit rushed, abrupt, and simple, considering what all this story universe has made possible. But that could be the genius of it. I’ve read in other places that Clarke wasn’t one for giving final answers–I can understand why because it would date the story far too much–but a few more questions and more suspense wouldn’t have hurt.
I’ll be reading it again (and the whole series) to see what I missed the first time around. There’s always something to find in a sci-fi work such as this one. For a science author’s glimpse into the far-flung future, I did find aspects interesting.
As a story…well…I’ll let you make that decision.