clarke is a fantastic author and the novel adaptation of space odyssey is filled to the brim with gorgeous imagery and really fucking hard-hitting lines. it captures the Energy of the movie more effectively than i thought it would... but ultimately, in my opinion, space odyssey has Got to be a movie-viewing experience. the novel has to rely a lot on Telling you what things are and Telling you how bowman feels while the movie forces you to interpret and imagine on your own what things are or how bowman feels (which better fits the very loose, naturally-open nature of the story in the first place... not to mention that allowing you to project your own emotions onto bowman lets him work better as a stand-in for the viewer, which i think he's supposed to be). plus, the hal sequence is really really fast and doesn't have the same Impact as the film, probably because you don't get to actually Hear hal as he's getting taken apart. that audio component is superrrr vital to him being ultimately a sympathetic character.
the novel itself just naturally moves really quickly despite all of its description because, well... half of the original movie is nothing but long panning shots of space, after all? which, once again, works in a Visual format for establishing the sheer enormity of space and the loneliness of bowman and the pure "isolation" of humanity, even in a hyper-technological future (at least, when compared to the present). and even though i think clarke's descriptions serve their purpose in trying to capture that same feeling and sense of scale, it doesn't compare with seeing and, once again, Interpreting kubrick's vision for yourself. Overall worth the read if you liked the original movie. Once again the ending sequence made me want to hurl myself into the ocean, which is the point of it all, really.