Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thus spake Zarathustra

In an attempt to prove that I did more than just hang out at the computer all day on my day off, I plowed through the final third of 3001: The Final Odyssey this afternoon. I have always loved the Odyssey books, having read 2001: A Space Odyssey during my last year of college. I watched the movie shortly thereafter. I recall journaling shortly after watching it that I wished I could have been one of those stoned out hippies that laid down on the floor of the theater during the final act when it was first released. Seriously, it's one bizarre film, critically maligned at the time only to be appreciated later.

Well, after I read that book, I inhaled 2010: Odyssey Two and 2061: Odyssey Three. 2010 is quite good, going a long way toward explaining the monoliths and what exactly their purpose was. Perhaps Arthur C. Clarke felt the need to be a bit more clear than he was in the original novel. 2061 is much more in the vein of a traditional sci-fi novel, only set in the Odyssey universe.

I don't know, I just think the Odyssey universe is so cool, and I'm not a huge reader of sci-fi. The concept of a Jupiter nova-ing into a second Sun (Lucifer) so that life could flourish on Europa is quite cool. The entire concept of the monolith as the providing the spark for human evolution, followed by the unearthing of the Sentinel monolith on the moon 4 million years later. It all just falls together so nicely. Clarke is quite a good author, although I will admit that I have not enjoyed any of his other books nearly as much as I have enjoyed the Odyssey series.

3001: The Final Odyssey came out not all that long after I finished reading the original trilogy. I resisted it, feeling like it really wasn't necessary, and plus, they were reviving a character that died in the original novel 1000 years after his death. It just didn't seem like a very engaging plot device, so consequently, I never read it. I bought all the other Odyssey books, but never even borrowed 3001 from the library. Having read it, my skepticism was not entirely reasonable. The story is quite serviceable and the revival of the aforementioned character from 2001 actually works out quite well for several reasons that revealing would spoil the story.

I felt like the book unraveled a bit toward the end, with the existence of humanity threatened for rather nebulous reasons with WAY too tidy of a wrap up, but still, it was more than worth the time to put a cap on the series.

And while doing Google searches for this post, I came upon this. Which just goes to show that there's a conspiracy theory out there for just about everyone. Of course, I couldn't stop reading that page as it was right up my alley. A real Lucifer? Surely not! And judging from some of the techheads on the net discussing it, it's not gonna happen.


Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were more books after 2001. Then again, I wasn't a huge fan of the film (the trippy stuff at the end was a bit too much for me), so I never sought the book out. I'm a bit intrigued by your review, now. Hmmm, this may need to be explored. I have things to take to Half Price books soon...

Yuяi said...

I didn't realize that AC Clarke continued to write the Odyssey books after 2010. I love the movies, particularly 2010 amidst the backdrop of the Cold War. I will need to get that audiobook since I never seem to have time to sit down and read anymore. Thanks for the review, Dan.