This was written by Clarke at the same time that he and Stanley Kubrick wrote the movie. The movie is a masterpiece, which despite all its flaws, is one of the great movies. The book not so much. Clarke, I think, is a highy overrated science fiction author. The book departs from the film at a number of points which is surprising given the origins of both. The books departures are always inferior to the movie. While the movie is suggestive, the book is explanatory, in a way that harms the book. Being suggestive is simply better. The movie has all these magnificent pieces of visual poetry which are simply left out of the book. The finale's location is switched to Saturn, which just does not work as well.
Clarke is just not that great and really can't write that well. The virtues of this book are Kubrick's virtues and the fame of this book is owed to the movie and nothing else.