2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey #1) by Arthur C. ClarkeSci-Fi
A classic book is like a little black dress--it never goes out of style. This book is that little black dress, modern and edgy even after all these years. Except for a few dated references, this book is still weirdly futuristic almost 40 years after it was played and written. True sci-fi fans might find it a bit tame by today's comparisons, but it was perfect for a newbie like me.
The book opens on man's far genealogical past, with a galactic monolith and an ape who instantly gets much smarter. Flash forward millions of year. Another monolith has been found on the moon and some type of alarm deep within it has been triggered. Spacecraft Discover is dispatched to the moon to see what's up. HAL9000, uber-computer, is in total control so this mission should be no problem. HAL has been modeled after humans, so there is a problem. A big problem. Unfortunately, HAL is a neurotic, paranoid mess before the ship can even make it to the moon. David, a scientist sent to figure out the mystery on the moon, first has to figure out the mystery of HAL, if he wants to survive.
I am not a huge science fiction fan but I do love a good alien conspiracy story. The book is based on a screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, which is the complete opposite of what I usually do--book first, then the movie. Apparently, it was only a short story by Clarke until Kubrick got hold of it. I'm glad he did. I have seen the movie so long ago I'm not even sure how it's relevant to the story so feel free to do one, or the other, or both. This is the first in a series but stands completely alone as a complete story, which is nice.