Tag Archives: 3001: The Final Odyssey

Authors Answer 18 – Rewriting a Famous Ending

We’ve all read a book that we looked forward to, but were ultimately disappointed with.  But what if we were to rewrite the ending?  What would we do?  This week’s question is brought to us by Amy Morris-Jones.

ball-of-paper-mdQuestion 18: Have you ever wanted to rewrite the ending of another author’s published book? How would you change it?

H. Anthe Davis

I’m more likely to want to rewrite someone else’s book from the ground up than I am to want to rewrite just the ending.  Frankly I can’t think of any ending that I disliked without also disliking some continuous thread in the rest of the book.  I suppose there is one book where I could twist the ending to make everything that had come before it suddenly a satire, instead of the horrifically cliche outsider-becomes-hero-of-the-land-and-bangs-the-queen tale it was, but I’d still want to rewrite a lot of what came before.

S. R. Carrillo

I actually have a very recent experience with this. I just finished a series where the epilogue was a “10 years later…” that was choppy and rushed anyway. I would’ve shaved off the epilogue and made it into a short story or novella to stand on its own (since the rest of the book stood on its own without the epilogue).

Amy Morris-Jones

The book that comes to mind at the moment is the final Hunger Games book. I haven’t read it for a long time, but I remember that it was based around a love triangle (which is always challenging for an author to navigate). Without getting too specific and ruining it for those who haven’t read it, the protagonist chooses to be with one of her suitors—not a problem. What is a problem is that the other suitor is just sort of “written off,” sent to a faraway assignment. Although the writer tried to explain the protagonist’s choice, it didn’t feel “earned” as an ending. I didn’t care which of the suitors the protagonist chose, as long as there was a choice. This one felt more like a “this is what I’m left with” ending.

Jean Davis

I can’t say as I have gone so far as to rewrite the ending of a published book, but I have been disappointed by a few over the years. Given the time and energy, I would rewrite absolute cliffhanger endings to have at least some level of resolution while still leaving me wanting for the next book. Honestly, that’s the poor ending that drives me nuts most. If the author can’t end the first book, I have little faith they’ll give me any satisfaction at the end of the second or third and I have better things to read than five books to get to the one that finally wraps it all up.

The other ending that makes me throw books is the one that just randomly ends. The main plot may end or but several subplots are still open. Sometimes it’s more like the plot just peters out. I’m left wondering if the author died between the last sentence and what should have been the next, and the publisher just went with it.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Oh absolutely. There have been plenty of books that I loved, but the ending just didn’t sit with me. Usually when I’m not pleased with an ending it has to do with a death that I didn’t think was necessary, or two characters getting together even though they just didn’t seem like the right match. I can’t really talk about much without screaming “SPOILER ALERT!!!”throughout the entire thing, but there’s one pop-culturally relevant series that comes to mind immediately. In said series, there’s a big battle at the end, and multiple characters die. This is completely reasonable because it’s a battle between good and evil, and you have to understand that some people won’t make it through. But some of the choices that the author made about which characters would kick the bucket…well, they bugged me. Some characters’ deaths worked to create an emotional reaction, but others more or less made me miserable.

And make no mistake, there’s a big difference between a sympathetic emotional reaction, and complete misery. Ever read Stephen King’s “The Mist”? The ending of that book was brilliant, in my opinion. It made you think, and it made you fearful for what might happen behind the scenes after the last word on the page. Now, have you ever seen the movie adaptation? That ending (ignoring the fact that Stephen King loved it, because he’s a total psychopath) makes you absolutely miserable. You walk away from that last scene literally feeling like you’ve lost years off of your life from having watched it. I hate that stuff. I like a good emotional connection, and as a writer I enjoy making people love my characters only to have to deal with the harsh reality of their lives/deaths. But if I start making you feel suicidal? Please let me know, because that nonsense is unnecessary.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I have two answers to this question, and will try to elaborate as much as possible while avoiding spoilers.  Let’s see how that goes.

As much as I loved Kenneth Calhoun’s Black Moon, I felt the ending could’ve been wrapped up better.  It felt rushed, and a major plot point was not resolved.  I would’ve liked to see that character complete what he set out to do, even if the resolution was unfavorable, rather than see him give up.

The second is Isaac Asimov’s second robot detective novel, The Naked Sun.  Again, loved the story, but didn’t like how it ended.  Let’s just say I would have made sure a major player was held more accountable for his/her part in the crime.

D. T. Nova

Toward the end of Mockingjay there is a certain death that has a large effect on the ending, and is also somewhat contrived in my opinion, so that it’s hard not to imagine how things would have gone otherwise.

Caren Rich

This is a dangerous question.  I can think of two books where I would like to change the ending.  One is a teen favorite, but in all honesty I would change the entire book.  So that book shall remain nameless. The other book, also a teen book, is the last in a trilogy. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth.  I loved the first book, was thrilled with the second book, and was less than happy with Allegiant. No spoilers, I wouldn’t change who lived, died, or ended up alone that was perfect.  I felt the premise was a bit of a letdown.  It may be that I figured it out and was disappointed. It just felt like Roth took the easy way out. My apologies to Roth, she is a great writer, I just would have liked a different reason behind it all. I was carried away by the characters and their trials in the first book and even the second.

Paul B. Spence

I wanted to once, but the author put out a new edition of the book with all the changes I would have made.  Don’t you hate telepaths?  *ironic grin*

Linda G. Hill

Ha! I did, actually rewrite the ending of a book as a “fanfic.” It was 50 Shades of Grey and can be found here. It will take about 30 seconds to read…

Jay Dee Archer

I loved Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The next two books were good.  However, 3001: The Final Odyssey seem like something he just put out to wrap up the story.  The book went slowly with not much happening, but the ending had absolutely no tension or suspense.  He did so well with the first two books in that respect, but for the final one, it had me thinking, “That’s it?” The final solution was something I felt not much thought went into.  I could find so many flaws with it, I would completely rewrite it.  Into what, I don’t know.  Just something with more tension and a more satisfying conclusion.

How about you?

Is there a book you’ve read that you’d love to rewrite the ending of? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Book Review – 3001: The Final Odyssey

30013001: The Final Odyssey

Author: Arthur C. Clarke

Series: Space Odyssey #4

Genre: Science Fiction

Published 1997

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Goodreads Description

One thousand years after the Jupiter mission to explore the mysterious Monolith had been destroyed, after Dave Bowman was transformed into the Star Child, Frank Poole drifted in space, frozen and forgotten, leaving the supercomputer HAL inoperable. But now Poole has returned to life, awakening in a world far different from the one he left behind–and just as the Monolith may be stirring once again…

Review

3001: The Final Odyssey is the fourth and final book in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series.  It concludes the story more than a thousand years after it began.  You’d think it would be an adventure to see an amazing future.  Well, there was something major missing.

The story is actually quite simple.  Frank Poole has been revived after drifting through space and has to learn a lot about this new time.  He spends much of his time being a kind of celebrity, but finally does go to Ganymede and check out Europa.  The story moves slowly without much happening, other than his daily life and learning new technologies. There’s been a shift in language, so he has to learn that, too.  He also learns about what happened to Jupiter, Dave Bowman, and HAL.  And of course, talking to Dave is his goal.

Frank doesn’t really stand out much.  He’s a very analytical person, but he seems to go with the flow a lot.  He’s always very accepting of every situation.  His main friend is Dr. Indra Wallace, a woman fluent in 21st century English, and the person assigned to help him with his transition.  Their friendship grows quite strong.  Dimitri Chandler is an old-fashioned spaceship Captain who also befriended Frank.  He’s a bit rebellious and I felt was a bit of a bright spot in this book.  He wasn’t very plain and liked adventure.  And then there’s Ted Khan, an old friend of Indra’s, and a man who absolutely loves having Frank to talk to.  He lives on Ganymede and is a kind of philosopher.  He has an intense interest in Europa.  And finally, Dave Bowman and HAL are just shades of their former selves.  They basically have no personality.

The setting is quite interesting.  The Earth has four very tall towers that go out to the geostationary orbit level.  We get to see a lot of this, as half the book is spent there.  Very imaginative, and I’d love to explore it myself.  The other half is on Ganymede and Europa.  I didn’t get as good a feeling about Europa as I did in 2061.  Not particularly enthralling.

The story itself was the thing that disappointed me the most.  While reading about Frank learning all about the way Earth was in the 31st century was interesting, any kind of conflict that happened was met with calmness and acceptance.  In fact, there seemed to be nothing adverse at all.  All experiences were positive, lacking in any kind of tension.  The biggest threat of the Monolith was handled in such a way that seemed like the easy way out with little to worry about.  There was absolutely no tension!  2001 had a lot of tension. 2010 had plenty, as well.  2061 also had a lot of tension.  But this book had none.  I was completely let down by the ending.  It’s like Clarke wasn’t even trying.

So, from an amazing start in 2001 to a good sequel in 2010, then a decent third book in 2061, we have a final volume in 3001 that makes me just want to say, “meh.”  I give this a 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.  Recommended?  Maybe, if you like overly optimistic science fiction about a society that seems rather uninteresting to live in despite the amazing technology.