Study Guide

2001: A Space Odyssey Part 4, Chapter 30

By Arthur C. Clarke

Part 4, Chapter 30

The Secret

  • The secret mission is to investigate possible alien life. You already know this. The novel is constructed in such a way that you already know all the big revelations, and then there's a buildup to the revelation, and then you're like, "I know that already."
  • Shmoop doesn't know why the novel is set up like this. Maybe Clarke was afraid that if he surprised you, you'd be sad.
  • Thanks Arthur C.
  • Anyway, Heywood Floyd pops up again here—not in the middle of space, but on the viewscreen.
  • He's still boring, but Bowman doesn't notice because Bowman is boring too.
  • Also, Bowman is facing certain death, so he may be distracted from all the Floyd boringness. You can't really blame him.
  • So Heywood babbles on about TMA-1 and how it came from aliens and etc.
  • He says they think TMA-1 was buried and designed to go off when the sun hit it as a kind of alarm; to warn the aliens somewhere out there when someone dug it up.
  • The signal was aimed at Saturn, so that's why Bowman is headed out to Saturn, and specifically to the moon Japetus—to see if there are superpowered aliens there.

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