• 2001

  • A Space Odyssey
  • By: Arthur C. Clarke
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (11,542 ratings)

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2001

By: Arthur C. Clarke
Narrated by: Dick Hill
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Publisher's Summary

It has been 40 years since the publication of this classic science-fiction novel that changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man adventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

This allegory about humanity's exploration of the universe, and the universe's reaction to humanity, was the basis for director Stanley Kubrick's immortal film, and lives on as a hallmark achievement in storytelling.

©1968 Polaris Productions, Inc.; 1968 Arthur C. Clarke (P)2000 Brilliance Audio

Featured Article: The Best Sci-Fi Book-to-Film/TV Adaptations


Beyond raising fascinating possibilities, the best works of science fiction ask big questions: What does it mean to be human? What will the future look like? What mysteries does the universe hold, and what do they mean for life on Earth? Whether you choose to escape via audiobook, movie, or television, these science fiction stories are truly out of this world—in all their incarnations.

What listeners say about 2001

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Movie Makes More Sense Now

While the movie left me confused and wanting an explanation of what I'd just spent hours watching. The book made me exited to listen to the next in the series.

I, by chance, saw the movie before deciding to pick this up. To me the movie just slowly moved through the paces of, mysterious mission to Jupiter, crazy computer, triumph, crazy drug trip. The ending killed it for me because it made zero sense.

The book fills in the gaps to explain the imagery of the movie and so very much more, the story is well explained and engrossing, so long as you let the imagery take you and are not impatient with the time devoted to detail.

68 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The glory and horror of space

Originally posted at FanLit (come visit us!)

“The thing’s hollow — it goes on forever — and — oh my God — it’s full of stars!”

2001: A Space Odyssey is the novel that Arthur C. Clarke wrote so that Stanley Kubrick could develop it into the now-famous movie. It’s partly based on two of Clarke’s short stories: “Encounter in the Dawn” (1953) and “The Sentinel” (1948). The first story tells of a technologically advanced race that visited Earth millions of years ago, discovered early humans, and gave them some technological jumpstarts (and “one small step toward humanity.”) In the second story, humans have finally reached the moon. Much to their excitement and consternation, they discover an ancient alien artifact that may be an alarm to alert aliens when humans manage to get themselves off their little planet.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know that we see these plotlines unfold and connect in 2001: A Space Odyssey. A related plot involves a spaceship traveling to Saturn that’s controlled by a new self-conscious computer named HAL 9000. Perhaps the most famous scenes in the movie (and I think these are some of the best scenes in the book, too) occur when HAL decides to override the astronauts’ commands because of his own interpretation of his original instructions (this reason is not explained in the movie). These scenes are probably even more frightening today than they were back in 1968. Clarke perfectly captures our fear that the artificial intelligences we create may become smarter than we are and, therefore, out of our control.

I can’t resist Arthur C. Clarke’s visions and I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by him. It’s exciting and awe-inspiring to read his speculations about creation, the mysteries of space and time, extraterrestrials, artificial intelligence, the freeing of the spirit from the body, the existence and nature of God, and what’s “behind the back of space.” I also enjoy his theoretical arguments about the speed of light, physics, relativity, wormholes, etc. Clarke’s awe of space and his expectation that humans will conquer it is infectious and thrilling. At the same time, the possibility that we, who thought we were alone, may not be, is both exciting and disturbing. Clarke writes beautifully of both the potential glories and horrors of space.

I listened to Dick Hill narrate Brilliance Audio’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dick Hill narrates a lot of old science fiction and here he is as wonderful as he always is. His voice for HAL was so creepy it gave me chills (“Hey, Dave… what are you doing?”). The audiobook begins with an interesting talk by Arthur C. Clarke in which he gives us some context and background for the story, talks a bit about his writing process and collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, and mentions some of the pop culture that the book and movie have spawned. Three sequels to 2001: A Space Odyssey continue the story and address some of the questions that Clarke leaves us with.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration - Great Book

The book needs no introduction and it would be sacrilege to write a review on it. I will confine myself to the audiobook details. Dick Hill brings the book to life. He has many voices and he uses them wisely. His narration leaves us spellbound.

I wanted to listen to the other books in this series. Sadly I don't find them on Audible.com :( Hope you guys add it to the library pretty soon.

Even if you have read the book before, listen to this performance by Dick Hill now. You will not repent it.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Get it!

The book is much better than the movie! The movie does not describe anything that is happening and half of the time you're wondering what just happened or if you missed something. This is a nice short audio book and is well worth the price. It's great on a road trip!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

IT'S FULL OF STARS

2 CHILD LAWS, NEWSPAD (I-PAD), STARGATE
I have lost track of how many times I have read the book, listened on tape, watched the movie, and now I have downloaded it. Arthur C. Clarke is in a class, all by himself. To hear his voice in the introduction was a real treat. It is amazing the amount of things he wrote about in the sixties that are now everyday things.

Kids under 40 may find this book and the movie to be a little slow and a little technical. That is only in parts. The story as a whole is a masterpiece.

The book differs from the movie slightly and that is explained by Clarke in the introduction. A good look into the making of a movie and the writing of a book. To be honest I felt that the tension built by dealing with HAL was done better in the movie. I loved this, but I really liked (The City and The Stars )and (Rendezvous with Rama) better.

I had not realized until this reading that Clarke was part of the group warning us about overpopulation, Pohl, Harrison, Asimov, and Silverberg among many. He talks about Americans having meatless days and about many countries having 2 child laws. If you are over 50, you may remember the hysteria about overpopulation and the dire predictions for the turn of the century. Things we need to think about as today's writers call us stupid for not freaking out over there warnings about the most popular predicted crises of today.

Dick Hill is my favorite narrator.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read

Dick Hill did a great job with the characters, including HAL, and the "preface" interview with Arthur C. Clarke was very interesting and shed light on the movie as well. I haven't watched the movie in years, and I have to admit that listening to this didn't bring back memories of the movie at all, which I think is a credit to the book. This is a great, introspective, and thoughtful journey through space and time, both in the story, and in the context (a lot has changed since this book was written). Enjoy!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, questionable ending

In my opinion, this was a 5 star book until the last hour. Most of the story was really straightforward, clever, suspenseful, enjoyable sci-fi until the end. Seems like Clarke was trying to cram all his deeper meaning and allegory into the last few chapters. That being said, the rest of the book was fantastic. I would still recommend it, the ending just wasn't for me.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A great read.

I loved this book, it is a well paced novel. Clarke's ability to pull you into a world is amazing.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worth the first half

After the halfway point it picked up. Hard for me to get into initially, too much description and technical information. But the second half was hard to stop listening to! Excellent narration.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Skip the Intro, Great Book

Starts with an introduction by the author which is not well recorded, which is about 50 minutes.

The book's narrator, Dick Hill, was fantastic and his narration was well recorded. Read the book even if you've seen Kubrick's movie. The movie was a nice artistic rendition of the book but does not hit the level of detail of the book.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martin
  • 07-31-14

Excellent... but why no 2010 on Audible yet?

Superb story, I have been patiently waiting for 2010, book 2 in the series to be available on Audible, but we can only get books 1,3 & 4 which seems a bit of a shame? I have seen both the movies and really would like to hear the story and complete the series.. please :)

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 12-09-12

Excellent audio version but....

Please release 2010. I don't want to listen to the other two books before I hear the second book

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 07-01-12

Loved it, but where's the sequel?

Perfect audio version, loved it, but how come 2010 (the sequel) isn't available on Audible? Books 3 and 4 are! Really would love to listen to it, but I guess I'm going to have to resort to a dead tree version as it isn't even available on Google Play or Kindle :(

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jamie
  • 08-04-17

Wow. Just wow.

I had always thought 2001 was a load of rubbish. That was based on being dragged along to see a special showing of it in the cinema as part of a media studies a level. I don't think many 17 year olds would get a lot from the film to be honest.

I always spend ages looking for my next read of listen and as a confirmed sci-fi nut I'm finding at nearly 40 years of age that my tastes are refining. I honestly can't remember what caused me to try 2001 about 3 weeks ago but I'm really pleased I did. For me it's shot to number 1 sci-fi book without doubt. I would urge anyone planning on seeing the film to read the book first. It'll make much more sense.

The performance was brilliant and there are passages which are strangely prophetic considering the book is nearly 50 years old. I don't want to spoil the story but the concept is brilliant and the story just gets better and better. I'll be looking forward to seeing the film again now!

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DJ Morpheus
  • 11-23-08

"My God, it's full of stars"

Anyone even remotely interested in science-fiction, or science-fact for that matter, will love this book.

I first saw the movie during the 1970's, when I was still a young child, and a spark of imagination was ignited. This spark is now a raging inferno that will never be extinguished. Given my age at the time, I was left with gaps, unanswered questions. Years later, these gaps remained, even after seeing the movie again, and the sequel (2010: The Year We Make Contact). This was until I decided to buy the full set of 4 books. After that, these gaps were filled-in, and the questions answered.

Having now listened to the audio book version of this novel, these answers are much more apparent, almost blatently obvious, mainly because you have the opportunity to focus on details when it's read for you.

You are taken on a highly-visual (and detailed) exploration of one of many possible beginnings of mankind, and the Universe, a tour of our own Solar System, and beyond, stretching your imagination further than you thought possible. This is the only restraining factor.....your own imagination.

This is a true 'classic', it really does make you think.....\"What if......\"

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Howard
  • 04-21-10

The original and best

This is a classic and way out ahead of the film. the whole plot is more apparent and works really well. Whether you've seen the film or not this is a must!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 10-28-16

Doesn't hold up well

Having never seen the film or read the book, I was keen to see what made this story special. Unfortunately I was left disappointed. Whilst there are some sections with genuine suspense and tension, for the most part I actually found this audiobook somewhat boring.

I suspect that I was just a little too late to the party with this one.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 04-29-12

Epic in scale, long and satisfying

The description is rich without being irrelevant, the characters and plot hold you tightly with the full G-force of Clarke's story-telling ability. The introduction by the author is an added bonus. Dick Hill performs rather than merely reads the novel, bringing the atmosphere (or lack of it) lucidly to life. A must-have for all Sci-Fi and movie fans.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Marie
  • 10-19-17

like a boring dream

I expected to love this but it was like being forced to listen to someone's VERY long and boring dream

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JACQUI BROWN
  • 11-28-16

Don't bother wasting your money

Very robotic and mechanical sounding voice. Totally ruined any pleasure from listening to what should be, a fabulous story.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 06-24-16

watch out for Authors spoiler

Excellent book,great reader. Arthur c Clark was ahead of his time.Author's comments at the start gave some of the story away. Still loved it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah Frye
  • 09-25-22

NOW I get it !

Watched the movie umpteen times over the years. Didn't get it. Now I get it.
Book much better than movie.
Discuss

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Liss and Pen
  • 02-28-22

Interesting.

An interesting imagining of space exploration, AI, and first contact.
I struggled with the narration, as the voice was so soft and somewhat like someone reading a bedtime story, I found I needed to have it quite loud to understand clearly.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve Belcher
  • 11-05-21

Made more sense than the movie

Having loved the movie. But was puzzled by the baby etc etc.....reading or listing to the book. Made it all make sense. I have listened to a few novels now. Its very clear why ACC is one of the greats!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 10-23-22

A Classic Odyssey

It's hard to believe that this is a work of imagination, before the time when much of its reality had seen fruition. A testament to the skill and imagination of Arthur C Clarke. A delightful look into a possible history of mankind, and life unknown.
A brilliant compendium to the 2001 Movie, albeit, with distinct differences that make it a thrilling new adventure.
Biggest disappointment is that the sequel, 2010, doesn't appear to be available on Audible... yet.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine Cooper
  • 09-03-22

Somewhat dissatisfying

I haven't seen the movie and I had no expectations, but I enjoyed the intro by the author more than the book. Although I liked his writing style on the whole, it flowed badly, and it really was just a set up book for another book. End was terribly described, seemed quite lazy but I wonder if they tried to be clever by baffling their readers. Am left confused and disappointed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-27-22

A timeless tale of science fiction

Sir Arthur C Clarke has a way with words. His vision is still amazingly timely, more than fifty years after the publication of this quintessential work of science fiction. I've read the physical book countless times and the narration does justice to the writing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DDD
  • 07-17-22

a lot better than expected!

I guess this book is a classic for a reason because I enjoyed this a lot more than I had expected.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Yaakov c Lui-Hyden
  • 06-27-22

wonderful

similar to the movie but with a bigger prologue on prehistoric Earth, what sets it apart is the ending which is just glorious.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Colin Wedd
  • Colin Wedd
  • 12-21-21

Better than the movie

ACC shows his futuristic view of everything... hard to believe this was published when I was 8.