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"Space Odyssey by Arthur Clarke"
Space Odyssey by Arthur Clarke
Carlos Hernandez
A Space Odyssey, by acclaimed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, is a tale of human evolution as guided by a higher intelligence, making it a landmark in literary achievement. Rather than focusing on an isolated moment in history, 2001 spans the entire course of mankind's development, from the most primitive cavemen to the final stages of evolution, with each period of evolution being represented by a different character or set of characters. These tiers of human achievement are interconnected by the presence of a mysterious stone structure known as "the monolith," which heralds in each new level of existence for the human race. The themes that Clarke addresses in this book include the evolution of mankind, the conflict of human evolution as opposed to the evolution of technology, and the role of a higher intelligence in human development.

The first theme, which forms the foundation of the 2001 story, is the gradual evolution of the human race. In the first part of the novel, mankind is represented by the savage "man-apes," who fit the traditional caveman archetype. These creatures are barely above the intellectual level of animals, until the appearance of an extraterrestrial monolith inspires one of them to hunt using stones, thus beginning the use of tools for the human race and possibly saving the race from starvation. When next we see the human race, science and technology have made amazing strides, and the time period is sometime in a fictional twentieth century. Just as the caveman known as Moon-Watcher represented the man-apes, Dr. Floyd becomes the center of attention during this tier in human evolution. Floyd is called on a mysterious mission to the Clavius moon base, where it is revealed that a monolith much like the one discovered by the ape men has been unearthed.


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