3001: The Final Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke
Del Rey Books; March 1998; ISBN0-345-42349-6; 272 pp.;
reviewed by John W. Herbert
The last of the Big Three has finished the last chapter of his magnum opus. Like most of Clarke’s latest solo work, 3001 is really no more than an excuse for Clarke to present to the reader a travelogue through the future of his imagination. There is no characterization to speak of, nary a plot development until half way through the book, and then the monumental, galactical goings-on are tossed off with as little fuss as a rumpled sport coat after a day at the office. That being said, this is still Clarke’s most effective work in some time. Because it’s Clarke, we forgive the lack of character development – we really weren’t expecting any anyway. The Odyssey series’ most compelling character continues to be the Monolith, that strange artifact of alien origin. And don’t let the title fool you – Clarke has left things wide open for another sequel. Is that Gentry Lee I hear warming up his word processor?