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am 2. Januar 1998
If you are a Clarke fan, if you do not know much about computer viruses (virii?), if you like short-short chapters with not much material on them, and if you are willing to forget "2061: Odissey Three" ever existed, THEN you may like 3001.
The comments regarding computer viruses are ludicrous (locking them up in a vault so they cannot infect anything? burning a robot which handled such a virus in order to disinfect him?). Forgetting all what happened in 2061 --which has become a non-entity-- is not justifiable. The link between Bowman, Hal and Floyd in order to solve the problem of Lucifer's extinction looked interesting... but it's no more. Furthermore, there is something illogical going there. Much of the novel hinges on the problems of FTL (Faster Than Light) travel and information sent out to a place 450 light years away but the Monolith was a sort of star gate which allowed FTL travel, so why the delay?
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am 13. April 2004
First the story, without spoilers: astronaut Frank Poole's body is found after 1000 years in space in the outer rim of the Solar System. In 2001 he was left for dead in space by Dave Bowman, the other astronaut of the famous spaceship Discovery we get to know in "2001". In the year 3001 it is possible to revive Poole, because he was in a deep freeze vacuum. So Frank awakens in a whole new world, makes new friends and learns more about what has happened in the past millenium. But finally he wants to go back to Jupiter and find what may be left from his old friend Dave Bowman...
This sounds like a very promising story. But while it starts fine and is better written than 2061, the book ends in a disappointing, rather anti-climatic and much too simple way, which somewhat destroys the fascination found in 2001. In general: while 2001 is a work of two geniuses (Clarke and Kubrick), 2010, 3001 and especially 2061 are never reaching the heights of their predecessor. Maybe Stanley Kubrick was the one who gave 2001 its intense and mindblowing dimension, that is mostly missing in the sequels.
If you like othter books by A.C. Clarke, whom I consider a very good science-fiction writer in general, and if you really are a fan of 2001, then read this sequel (especially if you have fought your way through 2061).
But to everyone else: if you want to understand 2001 better - watch the film again, read the novelization. 3001 will bring you nothing spectacular.
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am 10. Januar 1999
**WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED 2061, THERE MIGHT BE A SPOILER OR TWO WITHIN THE REVIEW** 3001 is NOT a masterpiece. No, it is not absolutely terrible, but fans of the odyssey series are sure to hate it. That is because of the major, simply unignorable inconsistencies that contradict the other books that this book has. The very weak plot and out-of-the-blue, anticlimatic ending does not help, either. The premise of the novel sounds quite intriguing: Frank Poole, the famous astronaut in 2001 who was presumably killed by HAL, actually survives in a "frozen before actual death" state, drifting away from the solar system, almost a thousand years hence. The plot of the book sets itself up, and proceeds, immediately. Frank Poole is dicovered in the first few pages, and, with the enormous databases of information that the year 3001 has, is identified immediately. He is treated, and told what has happened to him as quickly as possible (page 18). Thus, Frank is truly a time-traveler, and the ideas that this premise leaves suggests intriguing possibilities. Frank, experiencing no culture-shock, finds out how society has advanced: the colonization and terraforming of Venus, needle-like towers that sprout from the earth into space where people live, the Internet access through the mind, and more. The problem that many people may have with this novel, however, is that this is, in essence, the entire plot. Frank represents us; he is a cardboard character that is viewing the world a thousand years hence, and that is all he really does. After a while, this could get boring. And what about Dave, HAL, and Floyd? Floyd does not even make an appearance in this book, Dave and HAL have been severely cheapened. The star-child originally had the ability to travel anywhere through time and space at complete free will (his time-travelling abilities can be evidenced in 2010). Now, Dave--now fused with HAL, cannot travel faster than the speed of light. There are other, even greater inconsistencies that render this book not a true sequel to the former novels, but an independent story that borrows many elements from the previous sagas. Characterisation is weak, of course, but Clarke normally compensates for this by creating a good story. The story, however, is far from great. It goes nowhere until the third quarter, and then, when events appear to become exciting, the story shortly fizzles afterward. There are other ways in which Clarke has, in the past, compensated for weak characters. One way, for example, is to characterise a supercomputer (HAL), turning a "mere" inanimate object into a complex character. Another way to show a charcter coming through is when an extraordinary event has happened to him. When Frank finds out what happened to Dave, that could be considered an extraordinary event. But Clarke does not take advantage of this opportunity to show Mr. Poole as more than just a cardboard cutout. Where is the shocked reaction, the dismay, and the disbelief? Where is the "this just can't be happening!" feeling? Making a crude paraphrase of Frank's genuine reaction: "This is what happened to him? I don't believe it! Amazing! I hope I can try to contact him." That's it! Frank is equally one-dimensional when he actually MEETS his old commander. No tears, no incredulity, etc. This book could have been so much better, so much more complex. Instead it leaves something that is much to be desired.
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am 10. März 2000
This book represents the embarrasing and unfortunate effort of Arthur C. Clarke to continue to cash in on the high profile of both his name and one of the most famous science fiction series ever. Incredibly, Clarke brings back Frank Poole, who as it turns out was not actually dead after being subjected to the vacuum of space and abandoned by Discovery. Even if we could believe that the gravity of Jupiter or one of its moons would not pull in a human body in a thousand years allowing it to float out to a point near Neptune, the idea of a human body withstanding the lack of both oxygen and air pressure for one thousand years and being in a state of advanced hibernation is unthinkable. Clarke spends the bulk of the story showing us Poole's adaptation to life a thousand years in the future, and then makes one last attempt to explain his intentions for the monolith and Bowman/HAL. This attempt fails again, proving the futility of the continuation of this series. It is disappointing to see one of the most acclaimed science fiction authors ever destroying his reputation for the sake of staying in the public's mind and wallets.
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So schön der Titel auch klingt und so verlockend die Geschichte auch sein mag - meiner Meinung nach ist halt die letzte Odyssee für Clarke nur ein Aufhänger gewesen, um seinen Visionen von der Zukunft des Zusammenlebens und -wirkens der Menschheit eine "passende" Rahmenhandlung zu geben. Unter'm strich sind nämlich die handlungsbezogenen Seiten ganz klar in der Minderheit und wer also hier nach einem krönenden, ausufernden letzten Teil der Sternenodyssee lechzt, dürfte doch ein wenig darüber enttäuscht sein, wie vorhersehbar und übersichtlich die Handlung doch ist.

Nichts desto Trotz kann ich einem meiner Vorrezesenten nur nachsprechen, dass Clarkes Visionen doch sehr, sehr interessant, fundiert und dadurch halt auch plausibel sind. Vielleicht hätte er nur einen anderen Titel wählen sollen und jeder wäre ein bißchen mehr zufrieden gewesen.

Also 3 Sterne von mir, wenn ich ausgehend von der Handlung von 2001 aus dieses Buch betrachte, aber immerhin wären es 4 Sterne, wenn Clarke seinen Visionen ein eigenes, abgegrenztes Buch gewidmet hätte.
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am 9. Juni 2000
As usual for Clarke, the science is pretty good. Unfortunately, there's so much time spent dropping names of famous scientists, events, etc, that it's distracting. By analogy, could we discern between the important people at the end of the 10th century as opposed to those in the 9th or 11th? Of course, not, unless you're a professor of history specialising in that time period. There is such a character in 3001, but it seems tacked on. More interesting is the subplot with the monolith and the contact with Dave/Hal.
Sure, there are incosistencies, as pointed out by others, but none so major as the Saturn/Jupiter shift between 2001 and 2010 (i.e. 2010 is a sequel to 2001 the movie, not 2001 the book), but, like Asimov, Clarke never lets a little thing like continuity get in the way of writing a story the way he thinks it should be written at the time he's writing it. That he's forthcoming and honest about it makes me tend to ignore it.
Looking at the total of the story at the end, you can't help but feel a little nostalgia for this particular little universe Clarke has created. While not up to the standards of 2001 and 2010, I don't think it would suffer a comparison with 2061. It really is time for this storyline to terminate, and I am encouraged that he's called this one the Final Odyssey.
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am 29. Oktober 1999
If you've read the previous books you don't need this one. It has a lot of bad surprises. But I'll start from the beginning:
The good stuff: I like the idea about the Firstborn, and Clarke's vision of the fourth millenium (here we can still see some of the old Clarke). But that is all. Everything else is bad.
The bad stuff: In the valediction, Clarke said that he disregarded some elements of the previous books, but came up with some new elements, probably more important. Unfortunately, he disregarded everything that made the books what they are, everything that made them the best sci-fi books, everything that made them different from the rest. Instead we get a typical Hollywood blockbuster where the good guys always win (it's like making Contact 2, where suddenly the aliens want to destroy the humans, but we have a John Rambo character who's gonna kill them). One of the changes is that Bowman, who previously was a star child, is now a computer emulation in the monolith subsystems. If you remember from the ending of 2061, Bowman and Hal took Heywood Floyd with them, so that he can help them develop intelligent life on Europa. Now we have a completely different situation: it's like they never took Floyd with them, and now the Monolith is developing the life on Europa, while Bowman is only used from time to time to monitor the situation on Earth. Now it seems that he's been awake for only fifty years. And the Monolith, the creator of life, the object powerful enough to destroy an entire planet, is destroyed by a computer virus probably written in c or assembler. I'm sorry, but this just wasn't satisfying revelation and conclusion of the Odyssey series. If you've watched the movies, or read the previous books, you'd certainly expect a more intelligent ending with an idea, that suits the previous stories. I don't see much of the old Clarke here. It's like some cult director, who would accept every change of the script for money, and by doing that he's putting his reputation in question. If you love the previous books, don't read this one. It's better to accept 2061, or even 2010 as the finale.
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am 25. Juni 1999
3001 is almost certainly the worst disappointment I've had from a book, because the first three novels in the series are among my all-time favourites.
I've read more convincing and deep plots in those pulp Star Wars and Star Trek novels, as well as more believable characters. But the real issue for me is that 3001 lacks any of the sweeping grandeur and mystery of its predecessors.
Replacing it is something resembling a rough-draft screenplay for a direct-to-video B sci-fi movie. There is no real continuity between significant events, and new plot elements pop out of the blue in that painfully bad "What IS this vault you just mentioned?" way.
As others have commented, the bulk of the book is basically a bunch of ideas of how the solar system might look in 3001. Aside from the fact that I read novels for the stories, not the gadgets, my problem with this is not that the technologies are too far-fetched, but that they fall far short of any sort of realistic vision (except perhaps in the scale of the constructions). Terabyte data cartridges? Having to shave your head for a direct mental interface? Bleh. In a thousand years, that sort of thing will be lucky to get a full page in a history text.
The anti-religious sentiments in 3001 wouldn't have irritated me so much if Clarke hadn't brought them up again. and again. and again. And not even in an interesting way. But he did.
The actual new monolith-related material (not rehashed from previous volumes, of which there is more than a fair share) went by so quickly I hardly noticed it, and was so unimaginative that it cheapens my memory of 2001, 2010, and 2061. I vastly prefer the monolith's previous incarnations to the sputtering antique computer terminal of 3001. Sometimes it's better to leave things as a mystery - the "revelations" about the monolith are about as convincing and interesting as the Mitichlorians in Star Wars: Episode I.
As others have also mentioned, the length of 3001 is woefully short - or rather, it would be if the story were of higher quality. I finished the entire novel in two days, and found the preview of another author's novel at the end to be more engrossing than any part of the actual book. The appearance of normal novel-length is caused by the inclusion of entire chapters from the previous books in the series, a very lengthy afterward, and the aforementioned preview.
Some of you may need to read 3001 in order to convince yourselves of its low quality, but my suggestion is to get it from the library so you won't regret the purchase cost.
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2001 word count: ~75000
2010 word count: ~94000
2061 word count: ~94000
3001 word count: ~67000

Those are the word counts I get by counting the words in a representative page, then multiplying by the page count (not counting non-story content). The book really does appear shorter, and I was expecting the comparison to be more dramatic, but you can see the fourth book isn't _that_ much shorter than the first three.
At any rate, this book really only has one character, Poole, and you can't say you know _anything_ about his character after you read this book. All you know is what happened to him. There is not even a token attempt to describe what goes on in his thoughts.
Similarly, the story is truly impoverished. It's barely there. Just like in 2061, the plot literally has only one element. In this case: Frank Poole is revived 1000 years later. Monolith gets message to destroy earth. Man destroys Monolith. An entire one page was spent in the deliberation "how should we destroy the Monolith?" Surely more creativity could have been applied to this topic. It seems to me the author just didn't care about the plot. He only wanted an excuse to describe a few elements of his vision of 3001 society. And he doesn't need an excuse, really. He's Arthur C. Clarke! If he had entitled the book "here's some neat things that might exist in 3001" I wouldn't have started the book expecting what I did, but I still would have bought it and read it.
Clarke says himself that there are inconsistencies between the four books, citing the new information that has become available since the first book was written, not to mention that time has already caught up and passed by some of the events described in the first book. I'll give him that, no problem.
But there is no excuse for the stories to contradict themselves in areas that were purely the invention of the author! For example, at the end of 2010 is an epilogue entitled "20001" in which it is indicated that the Monolith guarded Europa at least until then. It also indicates that the Europans were intelligent, e.g. studying astronomy and having religions. But in 3001, the Monolith is destroyed, and the Europans have proven to be a dead-end. According to Halman, they haven't changed at all.
At the end of 2061, there are six towers hooked to the ring around the planet. In 3001, four. And at the end of 2061, Lucifer is extinguished. Yet in 3001 it continues to burn on as a star.
At the end of 2061, Heywood Floyd's identity is copied into the monolith to join Hal and Dave. But no mention of this in 3001.
A final note: The characters and society that Clarke creates are contemptuous of all religions. This offended me. Clarke is allowed to say what he wants to say about this subject. However, if you would be offended to be told that your religion is stupid, then you will be offended by this book.
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am 18. März 1998
Hard SF: 9
Story : 4
The reader, I, stares bewildered through the eyes of Frank Poole at the future, compares it with his time, does a few things and that's about it. And I thought there was more. So the book disappointed me a bit.
The scientific and socioeconomic speculations are nice, not necessarily true(they would be visions if they were; call me in a thousand years to evaluate), but nice nonetheless. Soothsaying isn't easy if you want to be plausible and original.
'3001' extrapolates the developments of its direct predecessor '2061', it omits the star gates mentioned in '2001' and '2061' completely. One could be angry at that, but to what avail? ACC corrects himself and puts A.Einstein on a pedestal again. He does this to give humanity a break, roughly 1000 years, before the almighty monoliths, mindless gardeners of intelligence, are given the order to weed out those barbarians of the beginning space age. It's like abortion in the 1000-th week, after you detect a genetic anomaly. (So you kill the 18-year old as an afterthought)
'3001' is more a stand-alone book than a real sequel.
The hard SF part is pretty cool, the hula-hoop of earth is just awesome, though ACC is not the first to think or write about one.
As for characters, they seem pretty weak. Frank Poole is quite lifeless for a barbarian of our days. He doesn't go nuts, doesn't cry, no outburst, no nothing. Frankensteins Monster of the 31-st century. On the other side, if you can domesticate and control a dinosaur, so you can also do with a 20th century barbarian.
Metaviruses ( Try to explain 'I always lie.' to the monolith ), Space-Elevators, Terraforming of the planets near the sun, GeneticReengineering of Species, VirtualIrreality, MindWarping, SuperWeapons - HARD SF-wise it has it all, sometimes a little bit off target ( my opinion )but always plausible.
So if you like hard SF, read it!
If you like good characterizations or fast paced action, leave it be!
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