Thursday, August 13, 2009

3001: A Space Plot Hole

After spending 1000 years asleep - though presumed dead by his former shipmate and those in charge of his odyssey - Frank Poole wakes up in a strange new world - errm, time. How much has the human race changed in the last 1000 years? Quite a bit, but they're still awestruck by the large monolith that inhabits the Jupiter/Lucifer moon, Europa. Not to mention the two - wait, there was two monoliths on earth?! - that they have on Earth. So begins the final odyssey in the pages of 3001.

Poole is more than ready to return back to the planet where he met his doom, in hopes that the entity that Dave Bowman has become will greet him. It is after their 1000 year reunion that Bowman reveals to Frank the truth behind the monoliths uncovered on the moon and in Africa, something that threatens the human race.

Where does this take us? Well, down another path of space exploration that only Arthur C. Clarke can take us. However, the finale falls short of its predecessors - with the kind exclusion of 2061. While it's not a complete disaster, it does leave plot holes open that leaves readers scratching their hands in wonder. The one that strikes me the most is the complete clash with the ending of 2010, which flashes forward to the year 20,001. If the events were to take place in linear time, then Clarke screwed it up himself.

However, like he explain to us in 2010 and 2061, he repeats himself in the Valediction essay at the end of 3001: "Just as 2010: Odyssey Two was not a direct sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this book is not a linear sequel to 2010. They must all be considered as variations on the same theme, involving many of the same characters and situations, but not necessarily happening in the same universe." Just like the last two sequels, the final odyssey is far from linear to 2061 in the sense that we learned that Heywood Floyd was also taken apart (much in the same sense that Bowman and Hal - now called Halman in the pages of 3001 - were taken apart, leaving behind just their consciousness. However, Floyd only graces the pages on this final chapter through video recordings and topics of conversation. Otherwise, he is completely left out of the mix.

It's hard to judge the book as a sequel as the author takes the case that it's not linear and shouldn't be read as such. Clarke still possess the power of creating a future - a world - where it all seems possible to us 1000 years in the past, something he never failed to provide to us in the series, even though 2061 seemed to flop miserably. It's a power, I hope, that graces his other novels (which I plan to read in the future). A power very little writers of the genre possess.

No comments:

Post a Comment