which had after all been around for over a thousand years) to defeat the monoliths, which seem distinctly weedy compared to their 2001 colleagues.

Moreover, by 3001, several inconsistencies have appeared in the fabric of the Odyssey narrative, not least the fact that in 2001 the aliens are able to travel at will almost instantly anywhere in the universe with the use of the Star Gate, but by 3001 they are as limited as humans by the speed of light. Clarke's excuse is that the books "must be considered as variations on the same theme... not necessarily happening in the same universe. If you want a good analogy... listen to what Rachmaninoff and Andrew Lloyd Webber did to the same handful of notes by Paganini." Unfortunately, in saying this he stumbles across the fact that that 2010, 2061 and 3001 are all very much light weight Lloyd Webbers to his own Rachmaninoff of 2001. The sequels are, perhaps, more consistent in Clarke's own universe, consistent with his general manifesto of progress through technology, and belief in the basic potential for good of the human spirit, perhaps with a few tweakings rather than a major Nietzschean overhaul.

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