06 June 2008

Writing on Reading: 2001 A Space Odyssey & Intelligent Design

I recently reread Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968. Haven't read it? Get thee to a library! This is a story in three parts: 1.) three million year B.C. when a monolith inspires the hominid ancestors of human beings to conceive of tools thereby awakening intelligence and leading to us; 2.) 2001 when humans on the moon have discovered a monolith--which sends a transmission to outer space; 3.) 18 months later, on a mission to Saturn, HAL-the-computer goes crazy, David Bowman enters a monolith and becomes the star child. This is classic SF at its best, full of gadgets, geeky old white men, and wonder.I also read "The Sentinel" by Clarke from 1948--which he wrote for a BBC competition and lost! (Take heart authors!) This story is basically part 2 of 2001 above. I enjoyed it more than 2001 because the first-person pov makes it much easier to identify with the protag. I also recently watched the 1968 movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, which follows the novel closely. I would have to say while there is a lot of 'wonder' in this film, it does not hold up for modern audiences (it is s-l-o-w).

Anyway, I find the central theme of these works, i.e. aliens are responsible for the evolution of homo sapiens rather disappointing. In fact, this could be considered to a form of Intelligent Design!

Purely by chance, I read another book lately that supports Intelligent Design, albeit of a quite different kind, Black Order, 2005, by James Rollins. Dave blogged about this in May. This is a rollicking thriller set primarily in Europe with Nazis, spy-types, and bizarre science experiments. It really reminded me of Dan Brown's stuff--but better. Anyway, the main idea here is "quantum evolution": human minds via quantum mechanics actually cause the beneficial mutations that lead to evolution! I had never heard of this idea, but it is also clearly a type of Intelligent Design.

Who knew there were so many Intelligent Design versions out there!

Do you know of any others? (Besides the obvious!)

1 comment:

lesleylsmith said...

AFI has declared 2001 A Space Odyssey the greatest sci-fi film of all time. Wow. What do you think?