This book is mainly a superb comment on A.C. Clarke's and S. Kubrick's masterpiece `2001 A Space Odyssey', on the origin (the short story `The Sentinel') and the development of the screenplay and the shooting of the movie, toppled by the author's view on the state of the planet Earth.
Encounter with super intelligence
These comments are mingled with a tale about a messenger of a super intelligent and immortal `species' (`the mentalities that control the titanic forces flickering among the most ancient of stars'), who tries to foment other civilizations with `the minds and histories of a myriad of races', so that those civilizations `would discover that they are not unique, that they are indeed low on the ladder of cosmic achievement. And if, like many primitive societies, their culture still believed in gods and spirits, they must abandon these fantasies and face the awesome truth.'
The screenplay of `2001 A Space Odyssey' was built on A.C. Clarke's brilliant short story `The Sentinel': `So they left a sentinel, a crystal pyramid. Its builders were not concerned with races still struggling from savagery. They would be interested in our civilization only if we proved our fitness to survive by crossing space and so escaped from the Earth, our cradle.'
The author is extremely pessimistic about the state of our planet: `we have wasted and defiled our own estate, the beautiful planet Earth. Why should we expect any mercy from a returning Star Child? He might judge all of us as ruthlessly as Odysseus judged Leiodes whose head fell in the dust while he was still speaking. A Dies Irae may be closer than we dream.'
Before reading this book, one should first view the magical (also scientifically) movie and read the formidable original novel.
Not to be missed.