Although Arthur C. Clarke’s final entry in the Odyssey series starts off incredibly strong – with genuinely suprising plot points and a disorienting but fascinating updating of technology – it doesn’t take long for it to slowly deflate and end on a whimper. Very little of the awe and inspiration that defined the classic original novel is to be found here, with a plot that has more in common with the languid, uneventful pace of the third novel as well as a rather startling lack of character development. There’s little for the reader to hang on to here, but the absence of Clarke’s signature hard science is a welcome respite, even as his narrative never takes off. After three relatively disappointing sequels, it seems rather clear that Stanley Kubrick’s sensibilities were responsible for the strengths of the original novel (which was developed in tandem as the 1968 movie adaptation), as, left to his own devices, Clarke has crashed the series into a wall of tedium and anticlimax.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)