(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The main character in 2061: Odyssey Three, Dr. Heywood Floyd, has lived to the age of 103 through episodes of hibernative preservation following serious injuries, and through life in an off-world orbiting hospital. He is said to have the body of a man of sixty-five. Once widowed, once divorced, Floyd is a distant father to people whom he seldom sees and scarcely knows. While he and other characters think of or briefly mention interpersonal relations, he is posed as essentially beyond concern for a love life and only minimally and sporadically involved with family members.

Floyd is one of several VIP guests on the maiden voyage of the new space ship Universe to Halley's Comet because of his past work in space expeditions and his wide knowledge of the solar system and the space programs that have carried humans beyond the limits of the earth— the professional interests that, for him, have consistently outweighed concern for personal relationships.

The breadth of experience that Floyd has with the growth of human technology is the reason he is chosen to transcend human nature and join Bowman and the computer, Hal, in a super conscious state. He is told he has a degree of wisdom the other two need to season the intelligence and information-processing capacities that Bowman and HAL already possess.

Rolf van der Berg, while a more self-serving sort than Floyd, scarcely serves as a full-fledged villain in the plot. A geologist, van...

(The entire section is 603 words.)