Lots of description about extra-stellar weirdness outside the pod. In the film, this is where you get twenty minutes or so of trippy psychedelic lights. Can't do that in a book, so it's just Arthur C. telling you that things look somewhat weird.
It's not as effective, really.
There's some faster than light travel going on which messes with Bowman's clock (space and time are all smooshed together. Einstein said so).
Bowman's watch actually stops altogether, but Bowman's still moving.
He's above a planet; he realizes it's some sort of cosmic switch station.
You pick a Star Gate, and it sends you somewhere in the universe.
Like a railroad switch engine yard, but with more stars.