Book Review – 2061: Odyssey Three

20612061: Odyssey Three

Author: Arthur C. Clarke

Series: Space Odyssey #3

Genre: Science Fiction

Published 1987

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Goodreads Description

Arthur C. Clarke revisits the most famous future ever imagined, as two expeditions into space are inextricably tangled by human necessity and the immutable laws of physics. And Heywood Floyd. survivor of two previous encounters with the mysterious monoliths, must once again confront Dave Bowman—or whatever Bowman has become—a newly independent HAL, and the power of an alien race that has decided Humanity is to play a part in the evolution of the galaxy whether it wishes to or not.


2061: Odyssey Three is the third book in the Space Odyssey series by Arthur C. Clarke.  Obviously, this takes place 51 years after the events in 2010: Odyssey Two.

Returning as an elderly man who is unable to walk on Earth due to being in space too long, Dr. Heywood Floyd takes a final journey to see Halley’s Comet, but he’s in for a bigger adventure than he bargained for.  Inevitably, the story goes to the Jupiter system to find out what’s going on there.  I won’t spoil it for you, but it will definitely involve a monolith.

Heading the cast of characters is Dr. Heywood Floyd, the only person from the Leonov expedition to be present in this book.  He’s now quite old and seems quite ready for an adventure.  Unfortunately, I found him to ramble on a lot in his thoughts.  Rolf van der Berg is a scientist on Ganymede, and he seems like a pretty selfish scientist who doesn’t like to heed warnings.  I never really liked him.  Floyd’s grandson Chris is also a major character, and he seems to be fairly level-headed and a likeable character.  We also have a collection of other characters, such as the celebrities that accompany Dr. Floyd.  They are a bit odd, but they are all quite one dimensional.  They aren’t very memorable and have little to do with that actual story.  The rest of the crew of the Universe isn’t very interesting.  The crew of the Galaxy has a more interesting crew, though with the sheer number of characters and little time exposed to each of them, they are also easy to forget.  I found that the character development was extremely lacking and most were very one dimensional.

The story was not so predictable, but I found a lack of suspense.  I wanted to know what would happen next, but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat.  It wasn’t as dramatic as I’d hoped.  It lacks the dramatic flair that the first book and, to a lesser extent, the second book had.  Some chapters were rather dull and did nothing to progress the story.  In those chapters, we had a lot of rambling in the narrative about something that was only vaguely related to what was going on.  It was like an old man who is talking about one thing, then goes off on a tangent about something else entirely.

One thing that impressed me is Clarke’s detail concerning the planets and moons, as well as space travel itself.  It makes me feel like I’m there, although surrounded by uninteresting people I don’t care for.

I may sound a bit harsh, but I was disappointed in the character development and some of the writing.  It is an interesting story, though.

Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.  It’s not great, it’s not bad, but it’s reasonably interesting.