Describe similar themes in the novel 2010: Odyssey Two and the movie Interstellar.

2010: Odyssey Two and Interstellar share themes of being set in the near future. They deal with separation from family, mysterious aliens that can transform people and create powerful spacial anomalies, and lifelike artificial intelligence.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Although they are very different science fiction stories in many senses, 2010: Odyssey Two and Interstellar do share several themes. First of all, they take place in the near future (2010 is now in the past, but it wasn't when the story was written in the 1980s). This means that the technology is not too fanciful. Rocket-powered spacecraft and artificial intelligence are things that exist today, and it is easy to imagine them actually existing at the times these stories are set.

While it is much more central to the plot of Interstellar than to 2010, both protagonists are dealing with the difficulty of leaving behind their families as they go on very long space missions.

Both stories also involve mysterious aliens who manipulate humans in order to save them. (Spoiler —In Interstellar, we learn that these aliens are actually humans from the future). These aliens create powerful anomalies, a wormhole in Interstellar and the transformation of Jupiter into a star in 2010, for the purposes of helping the human race. These aliens also have the ability to transform people so that they become more powerful beings who are capable of evolving past the four dimensions.

The role of artificial intelligence is another theme in these two stories. HAL, TARS, and CASE were all built to serve people. They mimic the personalities and speech patterns of people in order to form a working relationship with them. Although HAL experiences deadly malfunctions in the prequel to 2010, he remains a helpful character in the sequel. TARS and CASE are nothing but team players in Interstellar. However, Cooper does mention their potential to malfunction and turn dangerous in an early scene when he tells Brand that "they're old and their control units are unpredictable."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team