Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009: A Space Odyssey reading

Last week, I went hunting for 2001: A Space Odyssey, a book that inspired the Stanley Kubrick classic. I just picked up its sequel and started reading. This novel also spawned the Peter Hyams' film sequel, which starred Roy Scheider and John Lithgow.

I've never been one to compare novels to their film adaptations because I believe each should be able to stand alone. I do, however, dislike it when a film deviates greatly from its novel successor (e.g. Michael Crichton's The Lost World was written because Hollywood pressured him to write a sequel. The film of the same title, however, had little resemblance to the novel as the plot, characters and theme were changed greatly, leaving in question why they just didn't make a sequel on their own, rather than forcing him into writing on for them).

But in the case of 2001, the film did motivate me to read the novel. I'm also glad that I did. While the film adaptation isn't hard to follow - unless you're one who is bored of monotony, as the film contains several scenes of the man just floating around to classical music, a rather simple description - reading the novel has helped shed a light upon the scenes that lost me. Arthur C. Clarke is probably one of the greatest writers that the Science Fiction genre has to offer. He created a dark, yet insightful, tale of man's journey into the unknown, on a never ending question of our origin.

Whether your a creationist, or an evolution-conspiracy theorist, you can understand the problems that might arise in our question to seek out the truth of our "creation." How did man go from a simple ape-man or a grain of sand to the explorers of other worlds? Who first motivated us to pick up that stone and use it as a tool in order to survive? Perhaps some questions should never be answered until we are ready. Or perhaps, we'll never be ready and the monolith only enables us to take in the cosmic intelligence, our origin - the origins of several species.

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