"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that..."
It's a famous quote I know that most of you will know, that you may not remember where it's from. My first old-school New Years' Resolution book is the 1968 cult classic which was simultaneously both a book and a movie
2001: A Space Odyssey
This is a book that I've often thought about reading but until making my 2023 Reading Resolution, never quite got around to it. Because I'm a Ninja with skills that transcend just reading - I'm a google and fun facts maven, let me share a few fun facts about 2001 with you...
This was simultaneously both a book and a movie. Not like now where books are made Into movies and/or movies are then bookified. NO - the book was written as the movie was created. Originally inspired by a short story written by Arthur C Clarke, rather than write a screenplay to make the movie, the director/producer Kubrick, got together with Clarke and had him write the novel - thus allowing much more in-depth information and descriptions of scenes, etc. Yes, the film was released just after the film hit cinemas but this just served to enhance both.
2001 - ended up being a four-book series over the span of 30 years. Clarke once famously once stated 'No good trilogy should be more than four books.'
When first written, the 'space race' was in its infancy and man had yet to set foot on the moon.
Computers and AI were just a gleam in their mothers' eyes - of course back then there was a serious concern/belief that one-day computers would become sentient and take over the world.
Seeing as how it's now 20+ years in the future from the predictions of 2001 - it's hilarious and interesting to see where Clarke thought we humans would be by now.
So 2001 brings us an epic space exploration story and when read, I personally think, is more like three completely separate books that don't really link up. It begins with the birth of mankind and the cavemen that existed before auditory communication, let alone written, was even a possibility. This questions the possibility that maybe these prehistoric ancestors of ours had extra-terrestrial assistance in their evolution.
We then jump to the space race and modern human existence on our very own moon. Rockets are fast and travel between earth, space stations and the moon seems to be not only commonplace but super fast too. YAY humanity for making such incredible strides.
The last section of the book is the famous H.A.L shuttle section, with Dave heading out on a mission to explore Saturn. Famously, the H.A.L artificial intelligence of the shuttle goes rogue and attempts, almost successfully, to take control of the ship, the mission and kill everyone. (Apparently, back in the 1960's they were really paranoid that computers would end up ruling over humans - and observing most people with their phones; I think they were right to be concerned.)
What Dave doesn't realise, is that the space-exploration powers that be had an entirely different mission in mind for him and his crew. One that he is not informed of until he's almost to Saturn and has defeated the rogue computer. I guess back when the book was written, it wasn't exactly unheard of for government agencies to have their own agenda that they didn't share with those 'on the ground' who are actually putting their lives at risk to complete a mission they never knew they were on.
The story itself is actually really good (though disjointed) and I personally think that the four-book trilogy that ended up following could actually have been created from the original book itself, with the three sections being expanded and published separately.
Anyway, there you have it - 2001: A Space Odyssey. A book that has been around for over fifty years, with predictions of future human life in an age that has now passed us by, so we all know where we've ended up in 2001 by now. Check it out, 2001 might be an oldie but as with vinyl records and classic cars, it still holds its charms.
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 the universe—and the universe’s reaction to humanity—is a hallmark achievement in storytelling that follows the crew of the spacecraft Discovery as they embark on a mission to Saturn. Their vessel is controlled by HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent supercomputer capable of the highest level of cognitive functioning that rivals—and perhaps threatens—the human mind.