Top critical review
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on 11 February 2016
2001 was a complete sensation. However, I get the feeling that Odyssey Two is more of a means to an end, which is leading on to the more epic chapters of the series ahead. It's definitely not bad. However, there is FAR to much general drama, rather than the thrills that you'd want from a sci-fi. 2001 delivered on this front; 2010 doesn't. With 2010, you feel as though Clarke is rather distanced from the action and adventure that he's creating - (and the action and adventure is very infrequent as well). You don't really get the same sense of immediacy that you did from 2001, which means that this book loses that key tonal impact that it needs to have. The drama contained herein is virtually all pointless as well as being too numerous, (those two factors often go hand-in-hand in the sci-fi world). Perhaps some of the drama adds a little bit of character depth/tonal impact, but the rest DOES NOT. There's so much random wittering between the central characters, (which are all pretty darn un-memorable, by the way), that at many points in the story you're more or less losing the will to live. Okay, I'd be alrite with a treakly narrative if the pacing counterbalanced it, but it doesn't! This story is SO gratuitously slow-paced that you may well be tempted to start skim-reading it when you get about a third of the way through! All that said, the scientific material present in this work is rather good. The principles that Clarke discusses will have you well intrigued. However, I wouldn't say that they'd blow you away in the same way as you were by 2001.
It's definitely not offensive, but this book is a bit of an uphill battle, as it's far too long for the key points it contains, and the action and adventure is miniscule compared to that exibited by 2001.
Reviewed by Arron S. Munro.