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2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke

I never knew this novel was written more or less in tandem with the movie screenplay.  My edition has an forward by Arthur C. Clarke in which he describes how he and Stanley Kubrick took an idea from one of Clarke's stories and expanded it (quite a bit) and decided to write a screenplay.  But they decided they needed a novel first to "let their imaginations soar" from which they would later derive the script.  So Clarke wrote the novel, though at the end the novel and screenplay were being written simultaneously.  Then Clarke was trying to finish the book while the moving was being shot.  And he wouldn't publish the book until the movie was already out.  So you would think they would be basically identical, but they aren't. 

 

I haven't seen the movie in quite a long time, but I remember being very confused about the ape-man creatures at the beginning and not knowing what the hell is going on.  Then you switch to the future and the space travel to Jupiter is commencing.  Now having read the novel, I know what is going on the ape-men because it describes this in excruciating detail.  We're talking 6 chapters.  I need to watch the movie again, but all I'll say about the novel is that I didn't really enjoy it that much.  I remember Hal (the computer) being such an enormous part of the movie, and he is important in the book but not as important as I would have thought.  Of course the actions he takes when he feels threatened are similar, but I guess the computer's overall importance to the story is not what I thought it would be.  That doesn't make the book bad in any way.  I just wasn't as interested in the story line as I had hoped.  It does explain lots that is confusing in the movie, so that's one good reason to read the novel.  The ending of the movie is very weird and is explained in much more detail in the novel, but it is still weird and not necessarily satisfactory if you are looking for answers.  I won't spoil it, but let's just say that I was hoping for more answers and it still leaves lots of room for discussion.