I know this category is called “Books I recommend”, but I’m not sure I want to do that with these two books.

The bottom line is the lack of drama. 2001 set up so many possibilities for Clark to follow. 2010 did a nice job with the new space race featuring the Chinese landing on Europa, only to be destroyed by a slow-moving plant crawling out of the sea and Jupiter becoming a small sun. I saw the 2001 movie and read 2010. They were good.

Heywood Floyd was the hero in both those stories. In 2061, he returns, at a young hundred plus, to carry the story a bit farther. The problem is, there was very little story to carry. Floyd was a passenger aboard a private ship that visited Halley’s Comet while a sister ship was forced to land on Europa. Floyd’s ship was sent to the rescue–carried out with little drama.

Yes, Floyd did extend the basic story from 2001 when he was contacted by both Dave and Hal. They told him the monolith was a giant computer and they were learning how it worked. That news took a couple of pages.

3001, even Floyd is dead, so Frank Pool had to be discovered drifting away from the solar system. He was killed by Hal on the first trip, drifted in space for a thousand years, yet was so well preserved that his brain worked like a Swiss clock.

Pool spent half the book living in a space city that circled Earth before Dave and Hal contacted him about action in the monolith. That news required long committee meetings so that Pool could not save earth until near the end of the book. That saving was also without any real drama.

You must read these two books if you want to know how NOT to write a story. Most of both books were spent reading about the wonderful worlds of the future. You will be happy to learn that crime hardly exits and committee meetings get to the point and quickly find a solution without anyone becoming upset with anyone else.

The world will be free of the burden of religion in a millennium. Everyone will be more like Spock.

I’m sure there are people who liked the books, but most reviewers panned them. 2061 was published in 1987 and 3001 in 1997.

Mike Lawrence

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