I had already read this one a few years ago, but I like revisiting books later to see if I still like them as much. The first time I read it, it started slow, and then I quickly got into that, and ended up powering through the last chapters, quite intrigued to find out what the end would be. So: a good thing for books, I guess?
But I was sort of wondering if maybe I had missed out on something. It was time to go back and read it again, and see what happened.
I ended up doing the same - slow build up and then quickly increasing the pace and reading the last chapters really quickly. I guess it's just the way it is with this book...
On second read:
1) I'm still surprised at the way the 'HAL' issue is sorted out and done with, and not really mentioned again. As a "computer person" I want to know more about this and why it happened, and I'm left wondering and intrigued!
2) The end still seems a bit rushed and I keep thinking it was written in a rush because the movie needed to be finished. Or something like that.
3) It's still all about the plot, not the characters. Arthur C. Clarke's characters could pretty much be interchangeable. It's impossible to have animadversion or liking for any of them as they are just sort of puppets in a play-devices that advance the plot, but unimportant on their own. I couldn't care for any of them any more that it's humanely natural. And the plot is really cool and intriguing, and believable enough that you wonder if Arthur had been to the future and back. It sucks you into reading and reading because you want to know what happens next.
And surprisingly, the most developed character on this novel is a non human: HAL.