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2061: Odyssey Three

📅 2023-Jan-24 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ arthur c clarke, book ⬩ 📚 Archive

Arthur C Clarke is one of the few authors I can pick up when I am in a reading rut. It was easy to choose 2061: Odyssey Three, the 3rd book in his Space Odyssey series.

Having read the first 2 in the series, the settings feel very familiar here. Heywood Floyd, our hero from the earlier odysseys is still alive, his extra-long lifespan the result of living in a low-gravity hospital located outside Earth’s atmosphere. He is recruited for a space mission aboard the Universe to land on and explore Halley’s comet which is passing near Mars in 2061. Filled with a mix of explorers and celebrities, the journey to the comet and its exploration are entertaining.

While they are leaving the comet, they are requested to travel to Europa on an emergency mission. In the earlier novel, the monolith had turned Jupiter into a small star named Lucifer, and Europa, Io and Ganymede (where there is now a human settlement) had been undergoing rapid changes since then. A secret discovery of something valuable on Mt. Zeus on Europa had led to a hijacked landing of the spacecraft Galaxy on it. Here we find Floyd’s grandson Chris and scientist Rolf van der Berg who make a stunning discovery while waiting for rescue by Universe.

Clarke is such a master of hard science fiction. He makes all the fantastical elements of the plot so believable and scientifically plausible. Published in 1987, many details in the plot here are based on the scientific findings by NASA in the years since the 2nd novel. He is unparalleled in keeping me hooked with his descriptions of space travel, life inside space crafts and exploration of Halley’s comet and Europa. This was such a comfortably familiar and easy read, I look forward to finishing the series soon.

Rating: 4/4

© 2023 Ashwin Nanjappa • All writing under CC BY-SA license • 🐘📧