Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

2001 A Space Odyssey black cover 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Based on a Screenplay by
Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

2000 Roc Book
297 pages (left)
Includes introduction by author

Signet 1968 paperback edition
221 pages (right)
plus 16 pages of movie stills
2001 space odyssey movie book

From inside cover of new paperback:
       From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man ventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.
       This allegory about humanity's exploration of their universe, and the universe's reaction to humanity, was the basis for director Stanley Kubrick's immortal film and lives on as a Hallmark achievement in storytelling.

From back cover of the movie DVD:
       2001: A Space Odyssey is a countdown to tomorrow, a road map to human destiny, a quest for the infinite.  It is a dazzling, Academy Award winning visual achievement, a compelling drama of man vs. machine, a stunning meld of music and motion.  It may be the masterwork of director Stanley Kubrick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur C. Clarke)...and will likely excite, inspire and enthrall for generations.
       To begin his voyage into the future, Kubrick visits our prehistoric ape-ancestry past, then leaps millennia (via one of the most mind-blowing jump cuts ever conceived) into colonized space, and ultimately whisks astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) into uncharted realms of space, perhaps even into immortality. "Open the pod bay doors, HAL."  Let the awe and mystery of a journey unlike any other begin.

Read for group discussion on March 9, 2005

How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 9 Barb -
Aaron 8 Cynthia -
Jackie 8 Ron 6
Christine 7 Deb 6
Mike 8 Stephanie 8
Gary 8 Natalie -

Aaron's Commentary  Arthur C Clarke - 2001: A Space Odyssey

You could say this novel has too much exposition and too little plot, but Clarke does it with such flair that I don't mind (and the same goes for Kubrick in his classic film).  Clarke's exuberance is infectious as he leaps from the last great advance in human evolution to the next.  The scale is go grand that it is forgivable that Clarke doesn't slow down for characterization of individual players.  (He actually wrote scenes set on Earth before the Discovery's launch to develop the characters of David Bowman and the other Discovery crewmembers.  You can read them in Clarke's The Lost Worlds of 2001, and you will find that they would have added little to the novel and nothing to the film.)

Clarke does a nice job of conveying the utter strangeness of meeting a more advanced race, although he could not match what Kubrick was able to achieve visually.  Clarke and Kubrick's concept of hyper-advanced aliens trying to nurture emerging intelligence, which they treasure above all else, is one of the all-time great, and comforting, ideas of science fiction.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to

2001: A Space Odyssey - the movie (1968)
Producer/Director Stanley Kubrick. 
Starring Keir Dullea as Dave Bowman; Gary Lockwood as Frank Poole; William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood R. Floyd; Douglas Rain as HAL 9000 (voice)
Features music by Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss, and Gyorgy Ligeti
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, based loosely on Clarke's "The Sentinel". Movie running time 160 minutes, cut to 141 minutes. Originally in Cinerama.

Our book group has also read the following books by Arthur C. Clarke:
-- Childhood's End  in October 1994
-- Rendezvous with Rama
-- The Songs of Distant Earth  in May 2008

Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) was a UK writer of science fiction and nonfiction.  He was born in England.  From 1956 until his death he lived in Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon).  He was knighted in 1998.

1956 Hugo Award for short story "The Star"
1972 Nebula Award for novella "A Meeting with Medusa"
1974 Hugo Award for novel Rendezvous with Rama
1974 Nebula Award for novel Rendezvous with Rama
1980 Hugo Award for The Fountains of Paradise
1980 Nebula Award for The Fountains of Paradise
1986 SFWA Grand Master Award

Space Odyssey series
-- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
-- 2010: Odyssey Two (1982)
-- 2061: Odyssey Three (1988)
-- 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997)

Odyssey movies
-- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick
-- 2010 (1984), directed by Peter Hyams

Nonfiction about the Odyssey movies

-- The Lost Worlds of 2001 (1972), alternate script versions of 2001
-- The Odyssey File (with Peter Hyams) (1984), communications between Clarke and the director for 2010

Rama series
-- Rendezvous with Rama (1973) winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards
-- Rama II (with Gentry Lee) (1989)
-- The Garden of Rama (with Gentry Lee) (1991) direct sequel to Rama II
-- Rama Revealed (with Gentry Lee) (1993)

A Time Odyssey series
-- Time's Eye (with Stephen M. Baxter) (2004)
-- Sunstorm (with Stephen M. Baxter) (2005)

Science Fiction Novels
-- Prelude to Space (1951), (alternate titles Master of Space and The Space Dreamers), Clarke's first novel
-- The Sands of Mars (1951)
-- Childhood's End (1953)
-- Against the Fall of Night (1953)
-- Earthlight (1955)
-- The City and the Stars (1956), expanded version of Against the Fall of Night
-- The Deep Range (1957), undersea life and farming
-- A Fall of Moondust (1961), Hugo-nominated novel of a buried lunar cruiser
-- Imperial Earth (1975)
-- The Fountains of Paradise (1979), Hugo and Nebula award winner
-- The Songs of Distant Earth (1986), Earthmen and a utopian planet
-- Cradle (with Gentry Lee) (1988), near-future underwater adventure novel
-- The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990), near-future novel of raising the Titanic
-- The Hammer of God (1993), attempt to prevent an asteroid from colliding with Earth
-- Richter 10 (with Mike McQuay) (1996), near-future SF thriller. (Written by McQuay from a Clarke 1,000-word outline)
-- The Trigger (with Michael P. Kube-McDowell) (1999), device that triggers nearby explosives
-- The Light of Other Days (with Stephen M. Baxter) (2000), novel of quantum physics

Young adult novels
-- Islands in the Sky (1952)
-- Dolphin Island (1963)

Short fiction collections
-- Expedition to Earth (1953)
-- Reach for Tomorrow (1956)
-- Tales from the White Hart (1957), linked Harry Purvis stories
-- The Other Side of the Sky (1958)
-- Across the Sea of Stars (1959, omnibus)
-- From the Ocean, From the Stars (1961, omnibus)
-- Tales of Ten Worlds (1962), 15 stories
-- Prelude to Mars (1965, omnibus)
-- The Nine Billion Names of God (1967)
-- The Wind from the Sun (1972)
-- Of Time and Stars (1972, UK)
-- The Sentinel (1983)
-- Tales from Planet Earth (1990), 16 short stories
-- Against the Fall of Night and Beyond the Fall of Night (with Gregory Benford) (1990) (also titled Beyond the Fall of Night), Clarke's classic short novel and a modern sequel by Greg Benford
-- More Than One Universe (1991), large collection
-- The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001), large collection

Other novels
-- Glide Path (1963) WWII novel about the first use of radar

Nonfiction books
-- Interplanetary Flight (1950), Clarke's first published book
-- The Exploration of Space (1951)
-- The Exploration of the Moon (1954)
-- The Young Traveler in Space (1954)
-- The Making of a Moon: The Story of the Earth Satellite Programme (1957)
-- The Promise of Space (1968)
-- Beyond Jupiter: The Worlds of Tomorrow (1972, with Chesley Bonestell)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (1980, with Welfare and Fairley)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (1985, with Welfare and Fairley)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's Chronicles of the Strange & Mysterious (1987, with Welfare and Fairley)
-- The Reefs of Taprobane (2002)

Nonfiction collections
-- Voice Across the Sea (1958)
-- The Challenge of the Space Ship (1959)
-- Profiles of the Future (1962)
-- Voices From the Sky (1965)
-- Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations (1972), essays on possible futures
-- The View from Serendip (1978), autobiographical essays
-- Ascent to Orbit: A Scientific Autobiography (1984), essays and scientific papers
-- 1984: Spring, A Choice of Futures (1984), essays
-- Astounding Days (1989), first 15 years of Astounding/Analog as seen by Clarke plus pieces published in the magazine
-- How the World Was One: Beyond the Global Village (1992), about telecommunications
-- The Snows of Olympus (1994), essays about colonizing Mars
-- By Space Possessed: Essays on the Exploration of Space (1993, edited by John Burke), essays and extracts
-- Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (1999), over 100 pieces
-- From Narnia to a Space Odyssey: The War of Ideas Between Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis (with C. S. Lewis) (2003, edited by Ryder W. Miller), letters between Clarke and Lewis, and some stories and essays

Anthologies edited by Clarke
-- Time Probe (1966)
-- The Coming of the Space Age (1967, nonfiction)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's July 20, 2019 (1986), a look at a day in the future

Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime series
Shared world based on concepts by Clarke, written by Paul Preuss

-- Volume 1: Breaking Strain (1987)
-- Volume 2: Maelstrom (1988)
-- Volume 3: Hide and Seek (1989)
-- Volume 4: The Medusa Encounter (1990)
-- Volume 5: The Diamond Moon (1990)
-- Volume 6: The Shining Ones (1991)

Our book club's page for The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke
Steven Silver's Reviews - Arthur C. Clarke: 2001: a space odyssey
The Authorized Stanley Kubrick Web Site: films - 2001
Locus Online: Arthur C. Clarke interview (1999)
2001: A Space Odyssey Collectibles Exhibit

Return to Home Page - Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

This page was last updated October 16, 2008