2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Re-read, probably for the third time, now that I think about it.
This time, I watched the movie BEFORE reading the book, and despite my wonderful precognition, disabled by 25 years of having last read this particular story, I came out of my home theater wondering WTF I just watched.
Classic? You bet. Incomprehensible? ... maybe. :) Or at least, at that last bit.
And so we come to the book, which does an admirable job of EXPLAINING all those endless silences replaced by good classical music or the moaning of the theater-goers of 1968 (or the damned, I can never tell between those two) or the totally psychedelic end, man, which might have single-handedly turned-on a whole generation of LSD freaks without drugs.
We do know that the movie and the book were made at approximately the same time and the story was pretty much commissioned by Kubrick, AND it holds the prime historical land of being the most well-funded, highest-production value SF movie to date. Like the times and ethos, it wanted to be the Andy Warhol of SF cinematography. And it succeeded. Wildly. Along with the book.
(I won't quibble here. I could possibly make a case for 1927's Metropolis being the highest-production SF ever made, but it was also pretty much WAY before everyone's time.)
Yeah, yeah, but what about the BOOK?
Oh, it's a fine, big concept piece that explores alien influence on our anthropology as a species, introducing all the pretty commonplace SF that had been bandied around for years before the tropes became watered-down versions of themselves in our current SF market. Overpopulation, food production, but also great commentaries on tool use, AI problems (mostly GI/GO), and need to HAVE stressors if we ever want to evolve.
I won't say it wasn't a little clunky and the pacing was sometimes awfully weird, but considering how GOOD it is in conjunction with the movie, each becoming the soul-mate to the other, I can't divorce them. At all.
Together, and yes, they DO belong together, they are a thing of beauty. And it even makes sense. :)
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