What more fitting a way of starting off my posts for 2010 than with a bit on the film and book 2010! Both book and film arrived in 1984, when the year 2010 seemed like ages away. However, unlike some of the wilder predictions of other pieces of science fiction, 2010 probably isn’t that far off the mark. Sure, we don’t have sentient computers or manned space ships orbiting Jupiter, but I don’t think we’re actually that far off from these achievements.
2010 is of course the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was written by Arthur C. Clarke back in 1968. The film of 2001 was released in the same year and was directed by Stanley Kubrick, and has gone on to be one of those classic critically acclaimed films that are considered by many to be a must see. The film is probably best known for having relatively little dialogue although two lines in particular are oft quoted, these being “Open the pod bay doors, HAL” and “My God, it’s full of stars”.
The storyline of 2001 sees the crew of the space ship Discovery One, which is orbiting Jupiter (originally Saturn in the novel), get bumped off by the ship’s computer HAL 9000 as it decides it doesn’t want to die (i.e. be switched off). Astronaut Dave Bowman manages to survive, although only because he is sucked into a mysterious and huge black monolith which is in orbit around the planet.
2010 picks up the story with the Odyssey Two being sent to Jupiter to try and discover what went wrong with HAL. When they get there they find that HAL is the least of their worries, as hundreds of monoliths appear on Jupiter, increasing the planets mass so that it will implode and turn into a star. This process is being controlled by a group of aliens who wish to study and promote life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.
It has been a good many years since I saw 2010, so my memories of it are hazy, but having done a little research into the plot for the purposes of writing this post I’m actually quite interested in seeing it again. I would say I’d read the novel too, but I never seem to quite find the time to read books any more, which is a bit of a shame.