Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2061: Odyssey Three (Clarke, Arthur C)

Rating: 4
Year: 1987
Genre: Sci-Fi
Read again? Yes

It's looking like I'm done with Mercedes Lackey; I've been thinking about re-reading Fleming's "James Bond" series or Butcher's "Dresden Files." But right now, I'm 3 down and 1 to go on Clarke's "2001" odyssey, with no good reason to scrub the mission.

Dr. Heywood Floyd is 103, one of only two people still alive who flew the Leonov's mission to Jupiter in 2010. Floyd's leaving aboard the space liner Universe with a small group of scientists and famous people to visit Halley's Comet.

Lucifer, the tiny sun that was once Jupiter, still burns brightly in the sky. Three of its former moons--now worlds in a miniature solar system--are freely accessible to human exploration. Ganymede sports a modest colony. But Europa is still off-limits.

Whatever powers that exist to enforce that prohibition don't seem to care about orbital probes or peeking via radar from Ganymede's radio telescope. A great mountain has appeared without warning, as large as Everest, but seemingly out of nowhere.

The exploration of Halley's Comet is cut short: a ship has gone down on Europa. Floyd's grandson Chris was aboard.

Can the Universe get there in time to rescue the survivors? Or will the ban on Europa be enforced?

Somewhat less satisfying than "2001," but shorter than "2010." The pacing could have been tightened up a little in places (a few draggy spots), but the story's entertaining and kept me wondering what was coming next.

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