2001: A Space Odyssey

The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.

So we jump forward a century or so in writing history, leaving behind the soap opera costume drama of George Eliot’s Middlemarch for the space opera psychodrama of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first sentence, above, kicks off the novel in the same way as the film, which was produced simultaneously with the writing of the book.

There is a familiar anecdote about the two products, film and novel. The film was released a few months before the publication of the book and Clarke, (ACC as he was also known) left a showing visibly shaken by what he had seen, perhaps anxious that the film had superseded the qualities of the book. This is very similar to the story of William Gibson leaving a screening of Blade Runner only a few months before the publication of his own book Neuromancer. Gibson was also afraid this groundbreaking film would trump some of the ideas he had conceived of contemporaneously. I wonder how many science fiction authors have dreaded every sci-fi movie that comes out, fearing it will beat them to the punch with some of their own great ideas?

Here are the  statistics:

Year Published: 1968

Pages: 297 

Other books by this author that made the list: Rendezvous with Rama, The Fountains of Paradise

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