I just finished (no joke. Five minutes ago) reading 2001: a Space Odyssey. Wow. You really have to read the book to get anything at all from the movie. All that stuff with the apes makes sense now, and the first third of the movie actually means something.
If you haven’t read this book, do it right now. If I can read it in a week (and I did), you can do it in less. I didn’t realize that while Stanley Kubrick was filming the movie, Clarke was still writing the book, which wasn’t in bookstores until after the film was released.
Okay. I could just type every word of the epilogue, but I won’t. Go to a bookstore, or download the book, or go to the library. If you’re not going to read the book, at least read the epilogue. It doesn’t give anything away. It’s not even part of the story.
So… Last week I read Caves of Steel, and that was good, but different. Asimov is a great storyteller. Clarke is a great writer. Asimov tells an engrossing story of a detective in a future society where robots are third-class citizens. It’s a very complex social environment and it’s very cool.
Clarke rights about people. Humans. Every page is drenched in so much imagery that sometimes you have to read a page twice because you get so wrapped up in it that you forget what he’s actually describing.
Concerning machines: HAL is real. He acts like a computer; he thinks like a computer. Asimov’s robots… Not so much. They’re more romanticized. They’re people who happen to be made of metal. Very far-fetched and hard to relate to. When you read an Asimov book, you put reality on hold and take it on faith that these things are possible.
Reading Odyssey, I had to leave the light on. I measured my blackberry (on whom I read the whole book) to make sure it’s dimensions aren’t exactly 1:4:9 (It’s close enough that I had to measure it twice). I didn’t have to suspend reality because everything in the book is not so much “within the realm of plausibility” as it is “completely believable.” I mean War of the Worlds believable.
While I don’t mean to knock Asimov, I’d forgotten that reading a book could be this much fun. The last book I read that was this good was Dune. I wonder if 2001 is on blu-ray yet…