Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2001: A Space Odyssey: A Discourse

I recently finished reading A Space Odyssey though, honestly, I had to re-read the title to make sure that it wasn't some doppleganger I was reading because it started with cave men.

And that's just about as far from space as one can possibly get.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say that whoever created Stargate was obviously sleeping with a Space Odyssey under his pillow. I mean really, I'm surprised they didn't break copyright.

Not that I mind because I don't.

Running into such blatant inspirations doesn't get me all twisted into a pretzel. It's like cruising along in a space ship (maybe on a teeming planet like Coruscant) and running into an old friend who is also another friend of a different friend of yours!

Mutual friends!

Now. Let me bring out my mass paperback with a dazzling flourish (you'll just have to imagine it).

Though birth control was cheap, reliable, and endorsed by all the main religions, it had come too late; the population of the world was now six billion...

I laughed. And then I cried.

A few mystically inclined biologists went still further. They speculated, taking their cues from the beliefs of many religions, that mind would eventually free itself from matter. The robot body, like the flesh and blood one, would be no more than a stepping-stone to something which, long ago, men had called "spirit."

And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be god.

Oh. My. Deity.

I can't decide which to say first: DOESN'T THIS SOUND FAMILIAR or STARGATE (complete with enthusiastic squees) or THOU ART GOD! YES, YOU, I MEAN YOU ARE GOD!

Call it the Star Gate.


But the age of the Machine-entities swiftly massed. In their ceaseless experimenting, they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter.

Into pure energy, therefore, they presently transformed themselves; and on a thousand worlds, the empty shells they had discarded twitched for a while in a mindless dance of death, then crumbled into rust.


The thing's hollow -- it goes on forever -- and -- oh my God! -- it's full of stars!"

I wish to be immortal so that I, too, might see a gate full of stars.

Okay. Time for serious thoughts:

I'm really not sure what I think of this. I mean, I admit, I devoured it, like I do all new things.

But I'm not really sure what I think about the aliens helping mankind at the beginning, or with David's transformation at the end. For the record, when Daniel Jackson underwent a similar transformation on Stargate, I wasn't sure what I thought of that from a purely philosophical-ish point of view.

When David is approaching the faux hotel suite, the book itself says,

He was moving through a new order of creation, of which few men had ever dreamed. Beyond the realms of sea and land and air and space lay the realms of fire, which he alone had been privileged a glimpse. It was too much to expect that he would also understand.

He did not understand, and that's a pretty big deal for me. Failure to understand something or someone is the cause of so many ills in the world, whether large or small, it seems such a pity and a bit troubling that his evolution was upped a few notches.

It took years for the aliens themselves to ascend -- why should it be different for David?

I mean, ignoring the obvious reason that he'd be dead before then...

I was also expecting HAL to be in it more -- every time mentioned Space Odyssey it was like, HAL this and HAL that and he's in it for like...a few pages at best.

Though his death scene was tragic. I was sad.

Also, the novel made me very wistful.

It's 2010 now and we are so far from Clarke's 2001.

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