Study Guide

2001: A Space Odyssey Part 5, Chapter 37

By Arthur C. Clarke

Part 5, Chapter 37

Experiment

  • Interlude chapter to tell you about the aliens.
  • Maybe, you might think, it would be more interesting just to not explain the aliens, and leave you guessing, thus making the book about mysteries somewhat mysterious.
  • Arthur C. Clarke likes explaining things, though. That's what he does. If you don't like explanations, you need to go read some other book.
  • Anyway, the aliens love Mind (with a capital M) so they go around the galaxy, cultivating Mind.
  • They gave humans a mental boost (see Moon-Watcher) then they left the solar system for other byways, because they gotta keep on trucking, baby.
  • But they left alarm systems to tell them if the ape critters ever made it to the moon.
  • Meanwhile, the aliens themselves evolved into robot spaceships and then into bodiless energy things.
  • You'd think bodiless energy things would have other things to do with their time, but they're still curious about what happened with their old experiments.
  • Even bodiless energy things have nostalgia, in other words. That's why the starless energy things keep outbidding you for the Star Wars figures on E-Bay.

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