2010: Odyssey Two is the second book in a series by Arthur C. Clarke, following the tremendous epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dr. Heywood Floyd, the expert who was called upon in 2001 to study the monolith found on the moon, is once again asked to join a joint Soviet-American crew on a salvage mission to the spaceship Discovery, and if possible, for further study the monolith near Jupiter and the disappearance of Dr. David Bowman. Also with the crew is Dr. Chandra, the creator of Hal 9000, whose mission is to reactivate Hal and determine his cause of failure.
The science in this work of science fiction is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the long conversations among the crew of deciding how to board Discovery and the best way to approach the monolith. And I absolutely loved Dr. Chandra’s patience with the restoration of Hal, and his strong defense of him to the crew. Unfortunately, several other details did not hold sway for me, including the non-corporeal Dave Bowman traipsing around the galaxy, visiting old friends on Earth, and finally appearing before Dr. Floyd (who turns out to be a rather unnecessary character), to warn him of impending doom.
In addition to the spiritual hokeyness of Dave, the “retroactive continuity” of this novel in favor of the preceding movie felt unauthentic. In 2001 the book, the monolith was located on a moon of Saturn, and in 2001 the movie and 2010 the book, it was floating in space near Jupiter. Secondly, in this book Dave recalls going after the corpse of Frank Poole and having to re-enter Discovery through an emergency airlock, which only happened in the movie. There are a few more specifics I won’t harp on, but having just finished 2001 the novel, these major points seem like a big deal.
I would recommend this book for Clarke fans and those interested in fiction that contains real science and/or era-specific science fiction, as it was a very enjoyable read.
“Whether we are based on carbon or on silicon makes no fundamental difference; we should each be treated with appropriate respect.”