3001: The Final Odyssey
**** 272 pages Del Rey
I’m glad I finally got around to reading this one. It is an effective end to the story that began with 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is more of a direct sequel to that novel/film than 2061 which seemed more connected to the second book/film. They all work together of course but Clarke seemed to not consider them to be direct sequels. He wrote about it in a forward and seemed to think that the fact that 2001 happened without Pan Am moonliners and a Soviet Union that made 2061 and 3001 different stories.
Whatever, I was stoked to get an end to a story that started in the late 60’s with 2001. We got tidbits and answers here and there about what the monoliths. The mystery of 2001 and the unexplained awe is my favorite part of the film. The book offers more explanation, but three books in to this series I was ready for more answers. At the start of this book we still have no idea who sent the monoliths, this book sorta answers this, but the only clear answer comes in why it is there. It is stated outright in this novel, and that has not happened before.
3001 being a thousand years in our future and has a grander scope, but that helps because it is seen through the eyes of Frank Poole who is from our century. Yep, the same Frank Poole that HAL left floating in space. He is revived after spending a thousand years preserved in the vacuum of space. He learns of a populated solar system, featuring a new star, several colonies, orbit tall building the size of countries, and a human race interconnected digitally by implanted Braincap computers. My favorite element were the towers the size of countries that reached into orbit. Cool and scary concept at the same time.
While the ending was not as grand as the story that led up to it (and basically the same as popcorn sci-fi movie ID4) it was the message that I dug. It is worth reading and noting that Clarke that had written novels with syrupy happy cheery endings that celebrates the human race and how awesome it is. That is not exactly the point here. The monolith is watching us and over the many, many years, whatever the beings are that put it there, well they are not pleased about who we have become.