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on 4 July 2017
It is good to be back for another adventure in to the solar system and with Clarke`s straightforward, readable approach to Sci-Fi. It is uncanny how he seems to have predicted some 50 years ahead, China`s emergence as a leading player in the space race! Although this time being first has certain drawbacks! Clarke handles space exploration in such a matter of fact way, and the voyage taking place in our own solar system, that I was reading this more like a documentary than Sci-Fi. The Alien presence also seems to take on a certain credibility, through 2001 and 2010 and we are so adaptable as people that if aliens were to appear it would be a mere generation before they were a normal part of our every day lives.
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on 21 June 2017
Very Good
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A space voyage went horribly wrong. A computer went mad. And an astronaut vanished without a trace.

The epic, cosmic finale to the legendary "2001: A Space Odyssey" is one of the most unique in literary history, but unsurprisingly, it leaves a lot of loose ends for the people back on Earth to tie up. And Arthur C. Clarke addresses these in the solid (though not quite as spellbindingly suspenseful) sequel "2010: Odyssey Two," which features a new voyage to the reaches of the solar system -- and new discoveries that change the way the human race sees the universe.

A few years after the fateful loss of the Discovery, a joint team of US scientists and Soviet cosmonauts (remember, written in 1982) is sent out in the spaceship Leonov. Their goal: find the Discovery, find out what happened to HAL 9000, discover what may have happened to Dave Bowman, and investigate the monolith. Among the crew are Dr. Chandra, the man who created HAL and similar intelligent computers, and Dr. Heywood Floyd.

However, their mission isn't free of complications. A Chinese ship shoots past them in a failed attempt to snag the Discovery data (inadvertently discovering life on Europa), and HAL remembers nothing of what happened to Dave Bowman. But Bowman himself is not truly gone -- he has become an energy creature of godlike power and scope, unrestricted by physical needs or limitations. As he bids farewell to his old human life, he brings a mysterious message to the crew of the Leonov, warning them of massive changes that will endanger the Leonov -- and change the nature of the solar system forever.

Where "2001: A Space Odyssey" was all suspense building up to a glorious finale, "2010" is a somewhat slower build. The first half of the book is solid but not entrancing, mostly devoted to the voyage of the Leonov, the interplay of the crew members and the reclaiming of the Discovery. Clarke keeps it from getting stagnant by injecting some outside perspectives (glimpses of Floyd's family on Earth, the doomed Tsien and its discovery), but it's pretty standard hard-SF fare.

And it's something that Clarke does well -- he gives the highly-technical side of the voyage a sense of suspense and urgency, as well as a gentle undercurrent of humor and compassion (Dr. Chandra's embarrassing incident with the cigar and the fire alarm). Despite the obvious political anachronisms, it's a very solid, semi-realistic depiction of a space voyage.

But that changes when Dave Bowman rejoins the story. He brings back a sense of bittersweet wonder to the book, as we see Bowman saying farewell to the vestiges of his old life, and exploring the universe as easily as Clarke's expansive imagination can allow. The writing becomes utterly spellbinding ("The megatons flowered in a silent detonation that brought a brief, false dawn to half the sleeping world"), and Clarke reveals a great deal more about the mysterious godlike aliens who created the monolith, and the mind-blowingly epic destiny that awaits the changing solar system. Really, this part makes up for the more technical, pedestrian first half.

And he crafts the characters with equal skill. The Leonov's crew each have their own distinct personality and personal history (Zenia's scars, for instance), and there's a lot of personal and romantic interplay between them (including a bisexual love triangle). Clarke especially focuses on the socially awkward Dr. Chandra, as well as the amiable Floyd, who is leaving his younger wife and children for the next two-and-a-half years. And despite his exalted state, Dave Bowman is a fascinating creature, with almost boundless power but with still with vestiges of human thoughts.

It's not quite the masterpiece that the first book was, but "2010: Odyssey Two" builds on its story, before unleashing some shocking plot twists of its own -- and leaving doorways (in monoliths) still open for more expansive journeys through the cosmos.
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VINE VOICEon 1 September 2002
Clarke returns once again to the mysteries of the Monoliths as an American/Russian mission races a Chinese one to investigate the disappearance of Dave Bowman in 2001.
Again he manages to catch the genuine sense of scientific exploration as the two missions enter Jupiter's moon system. The race with the Chinese vessel also gives the novel a nice sense of pace.
The scientist's account, as he awaits his own death, of the Chinese's disasterous encounter on Europa is at once gripping, horrifying and touching.
Dave Bowman, the Star Child, also returns on the side of mankind in the face of the strange alien intelligence behind the Monoliths. And this adds another level of wonder to the story as he explores the solar system as all but a god.
If the coming of Lucifer in this story doesn't set your pulse racing and your mind whirring, then I don't know what will.
In general, perhaps not as good as 2001, but a science fiction masterpiece nonetheless.
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on 4 October 2012
Arthur C Clarke (died 2008) was a visionary. He predicted the satellites which have already changed our world and has written about the space elevators that I believe will one day do them same.

The 1968 novel, '2001: A Space Odyssey' was Clarke's take on 'first contact'. His collaboration with Director Stanley Kubrick immortalised this story in a film of the same name which is now regarded as a classic masterpiece. The film did much to popularise Clarke's books but he was already a huge favourite within science fiction circles.

2001 ended definitely yet ambiguously. It was crying out for a sequel and finally, over a decade later, in 1982 we got one. However, it was a different novel from the first with a different message.

2010 tries to tie up the loose ends from 2001. What happened to Dave Bowman? Why did Hal malfunction and kill Frank Poole? What is the monolith - who created it and why?

However, this 'sequel' was written during the Cold War, at the height of the nuclear arms race and Clarke mirrors this tension in the novel with a joint US-Soviet mission to Jupiter to find out what happened while a nuclear crisis brews back on Earth.

This adds an extra dimension to the plot while making it more relevant to the 1980s.

Written as it was in the 1960s (following JFK's famous 1962 speech about putting a man on the moon), 2001 could afford to be ambitiously idealistic and boldly futurist. However, by the 1980s the Apollo programme was over while the space shuttle was yet to fly it's first mission. Interest in space exploration was stalling while nuclear war between the USA and USSR seemed a far more immediate concern.

As a life long supporter and promoter of space travel, Clarke was saddened by this as he still believed that our future lay out amongst the stars. He felt that space exploration had the potential to unite humankind in a way that nothing else could and he explores this idea in 2010 with a more politically themed story.

The 2010 rescue mission to Jupiter is a joint US-Soviet project out of necessity not choice. The USSR is closer to launching a manned spacecraft than the USA so they will reach the 'Discovery' (stranded in orbit around Jupiter at the end of 2001) first. However, the Americans are better qualified to resuscitate the derelict ship and they are also desperate to discover what went wrong. The two nations therefore grudgingly agree to a joint mission whereby three American astronauts will join the Russian crew abroad the "Alexei Leonov". This sets the scene for numerous disagreements/arguments between the crew and results in a potential crisis later in the novel when diplomatic relations between the countries break down on Earth.

This is all very different from 2001 which only touched briefly (if at all) on such issues despite also being written during the Cold War and only a few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I think this change in focus is due to Clarke's own realisation that his hopes for space exploration did not match the reality. In the 1960s he was naively optimistic however by the 1980s he could see that space exploration was mostly motivated by politics not idealism.

Whatever his reasons for choosing such an approach, the story now suffers from feeling dated as a result, whereas 2001 (by avoiding the politics on Earth) has paradoxically remained more timeless and relevant. However, 2010 does answer many of the questions left hanging at the end of 2001 while also rushing towards it's own satisfying, yet unexpected conclusion.

2001 was predominantly a novel about space exploration and alien contact while 2010 is predominantly a novel about avoiding nuclear war in the interests of world peace. Despite the fact it is mostly set in orbit around Jupiter, the threat of a nuclear holocaust back on Earth looms in the background throughout.

Sadly Clarke isn't at good at writing gritty political intrigue as he is at writing inspirational idealistic adventure so 2010 doesn't match the epic nature of 2001. However, it's still an excellent continuation of the story with a tense plot, plenty of good science (e.g use of aero-braking to slow down the spacecraft as it nears Jupiter) and perhaps most importantly - a thorough and convincing explanation of what went wrong with HAL and what happened to Dave Bowman.

It's a story that needs telling because it provides the answers that 2001 deserves but it also carries it's own very worthwhile message that despite our differences we are all residents of the planet Earth and must co-operate if we are to survive. This becomes clear towards the end of the novel when the crews in orbit around Jupiter are forced to do exactly that in order to return home safely.

Several reviewers have commented about the poor characterisation in the novel. I agree that this is true but disagree that it is a failing. Perhaps because he was such an idealist (as well as being a bit of a recluse) Clarke was unable to convincingly portray his characters with sufficient depth and complexity. But people don't read his books for those reasons and if you do, you will be disappointed. He stuck to what he was good at - inspirational, futurist space exploration. Character development didn't rate as a high priority in any of his novels.

Additional Comment: 2010 was also made into a film in 1984 however without a master like Kubrick at the helm it suffered from a satisfactory but wooden screenplay which failed to convey any of the tension or wonder in the story. It's only worth watching if you're a Clarke fan.
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on 15 February 2010
2010 carrys the torch forward in the oddessey series and unlike many sequels I think it is better than the first.

It still has the epic descriptive texts that made the first book so enjoyable but this time there is also more of a story to it.

It starts with the race between the USSR's (with two Heywood Floyd and Walter the engineer as the american contingant) vessel Leonev and the secretly launched Chinese vessel Tsien to reach Juipeter and Discovery to find out exactly what happened to Dave Bowman.

There are a couple of really amazing chapters with the now omnipitant Bowman scouting Europa and Juipeter itself for the Monolith's and Clarke has excelled in creating two different biospheres and races.

The characters all have depth and are individuals, something that can be lost in large crews in sci-fi.

It was a worthy sucessor to 2001 and i'll definatly be reading it again.
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on 12 August 2007
2010 is actually a sequal to the film (2001) and not the book. I would suggest watching 2001 the film before reading this book otherwise you'll be left wondering what's going on.

2010 the book is actually extrememly good. It starts off in many ways very similar to the first. You could be forgiven for thinking everything up to the Jupitar arrival is the same story. Where it advances to is very interesting and as someone has said, the last few chapters are inspired!

If you've seen both book and film of 2001 then this should be on your list.
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on 18 February 2017
First, just letting you know this is a “safe” review, no spoilers below!

I have recently finished reading this series, and without a doubt this book is the absolute zenith of the series. It is a brilliant follow on to 2001, with an extremely compelling storyline and interesting characters, it is extremely difficult to put down. I would go as far as saying this is one of my favourite books of all time. But…

First of all you should know that the book isn't an exact follow on from 2001. Assuming you've read 2001, you know that Discovery was headed to a moon of Saturn, however in 2010 it is changed to they were headed for a moon of Jupiter. This may seem odd, but if you read the authors forward (unlike myself) you will see this is for perfectly understandable reasons. However, the next two books in the series, 2061 and 3001 undo parts of the previous book as well, and actually make the story as a whole a lot less satisfying. Knowing what I do now, I wish I hadn't read the two books after this and would recommend you not to either, simply because the way this ends is by far the most satisfying than the series “official” and very disappointing ending. If I have failed to convince you to stop at this book (and I sincerely hope I haven’t), please remember that while this book is an amazing piece of literature, its all down hill from there…
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on 20 October 2011
As someone spellbound by the Kubrick original film, i later read all the 'Odyssey' novels as i wanted to clear up the amiguity of the film! I love this book and is my favourite of the four. Still after all these years, the foresight of AC Clarke astounds me. Way ahead of his time in every respect.
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on 16 April 2003
When I read this 2nd book of 4 in the Odyssey series I was simply gripped to it! Having read 2001 before hand I suppose I wanted to find out the answers to the mysteries Clarke had left unanswered and what had happened to the famous and elegant Discovery. A Soviet-American space mission aboard the 'Leonov' sets off to Jupiter to retrieve and revive Discovery, spinning hauntingly in the silent depths over the volcanic Jovian moon of Io. They reactivate the Discovery and revive Hal who can't remember anything about his disturbing behaviour in the previous mission because his memory has been erased. We get to see Dave and we eventually get to see the king of all planets meet its downfall. This book is SUPERB! An enjoyable and thrilling read! I would say it also much more action-packed and gripping than 2001, but then again its prequel is still very much the greatest in the series! You must buy this book and read away! (the film is also worth seeing)
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