2001: A Space Odyssey

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2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space OdysseyArthur C. Clarke

In 3 million B.C.E., man-apes roamed the earth with other animals. They were starving, since they had no way of getting food A monolith from an alien race appears on earth and develops the man-apes. One of them, Moon-Watcher, discovered tools. He used them to get food for the man-apes. However, these tools went from helping the man-apes survive to killing each other. These man-apes developed and grew to create better weapons like guns and missiles. In 1999 C.E., Dr. Heywood Floyd, a scientist, goes to the Moon. While at the Clavius base, he finds out that there was a disturbance at Tycho, one of the Moon's craters. Underneath Tycho was a black slab called TMA-1, which predated humans by 3 million years. This was proof that alien life existed. That same year, the Discovery mission to Saturn is taking place. David Bowman, Frank Poole, three hibernating colleages, and an IBM HAL 9000 computer were all on board. Their responsibilities were to get to Saturn and have nothing go wrong. Hal warns Poole that a unit critical to communication with Earth will fail. There is nothing wrong with the unit, so the astronauts contact Earth to find how to disable Hal. Eventually, the unit stops working, so Poole takes a pod outside the ship to bring in the unit. The pod collides with the ship and kills Poole. Bowman believed that Hal had intentionally killed him. Bowman takes his three colleages out of hibernation after an argument with Hal. While they were being thawed, Hal opened the airlock doors on the ship and everything begins to fall out. Bowman makes his way into an emergency chamber, where he disconnects Hal and regains contact with Earth. After spending months on the ship alone, Bowman reaches Japetus, one of Saturn's moons. He notices a black slab on Japetus, similar to TMA-1 but larger. Bowman takes a vehicular pod to explore the area, but the slab opened up and was full of stars. Bowman was swallowed by the slab and was never heard from again.

Summary

Themes

-Technology: the advancement of technology can present perils to humans. It shows HAL, a computer, make decisions for itself and become disobedient to the point where his cognitive circuits must be disabled. However, it is not the technology itself that could create problems. The way humans use things like weapons is bad. Weapons were supposed to be used on animals for food, not on other humans. As weapons become more advanced, it becomes easier to kill each other for no reason. Technology can create problems for humans as technology may surpass them in intelligence and humans themselves may not be able to handle technology correctly.-Space exploration: the future of space travel can be magnificent. In the story, there are bases for humans on the moon and humans are traveling to Saturn and other far away planets. This story, which was written before man stepped foot on the moon, could have been written to convince readers that space travel is a good thing.

Characters

-There was an alien race that sent a monolith to Earth to study and develop the starving man-apes. -Dr. Heywood Floyd travels to the Clavius base on the moon.-On the voyage to Saturn, there were two astronauts: David Bowman and Frank Poole. On this journey, they would have 12 hours on and off per day, and would switch places. Another crew member on this trip was the IBM HAL 9000. Hal monitored parts of the ship that the astronauts would not want to. Eventually, Hal began to think for itself.

-3 million B.C.E.- A monolith from an unknown alien race appears on earth to aid the ape-men in finding food-1999 C.E.- Dr. Floyd travels from earth to the base on the moon.-1999 C.E.- The Discovery One voyage to Saturn is in progress

"Unlike the animals, who knew only the present, Man had acquired a past; and he was beginning to grope toward a future." This quote shows that Man was different from the other animals on Earth. Instead of living for the sake of being alive, Man wanted to innovate and utilize his skills. As a result of this, the book says; "with the taming of fire, he had laid the foundations of technology and left his animal origins far behind." Some of the other things Man discovered were bronze, agriculture, villages, speech, and philosophy. Although these innovations are great, technology is not always created for the better, as the book says; "As his body became more and more defenseless, so his means of offense became steadily more frightful." This led to Man creating weapons to use on itself, starting with the bow and leading up to the missile. Technology was made for Man to live easier, not kill each other."It was beyond all reason that Hal, who had performed flawlessly for so long, should suddenly turn assassin." At this point in the book, Poole was killed by Hal and Bowman was considering the possibility that Hal deliberately killed him. The author describes Hal as flawless, which he was. Hal had been operating perfectly for the beginning of the trip. In all likelihood, it was the astronauts who were flawed, because the computer was smarter than they were. This perfect computer began to think for itself and thought it was best, for its safety, to kill Poole.

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