David Bowman (Space Odyssey)
|Dr. David Bowman|
|Created by||Stanley Kubrick
Arthur C. Clarke
|Portrayed by||Keir Dullea|
|Family||Jessie Bowman (mother)
Robert Bowman (brother)
|Significant other(s)||Betty Fernandez (ex-girlfriend)|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2009)|
Dr. David Bowman is a fictional character in the Space Odyssey series. He serves as the protagonist of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, released as both a novel and a film in 1968. The character later appears in the sequel story released first as a book, 2010: Odyssey Two and then as a movie, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. The character also returns in two more books by Arthur C. Clarke, 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey. In the forewords to both 2010 and 2061, Clarke makes it clear that the plots of the movies and books do not necessarily follow a linear arc, and take place in parallel universes; consequently there are apparent inconsistencies in the character of David Bowman throughout the series.
In the two movies, Bowman is played by Keir Dullea.
Clarke has stated that each book of the series takes place in its own universe and, apart from its basic concepts, has no consistent relationship with one another. Therefore, the David Bowman in each book is a different, yet similar, incarnation of the same character.
2001: A Space Odyssey
In both the book and movie 2001, astronaut and scientist David Bowman is on a mission to track the source of an alien artifact found on the moon, which leads to a moon around the planet Jupiter (in the novel, Saturn); the story takes place in the year 2001. He has to interact with both a human crewmate and an intelligent supercomputer named HAL 9000. The HAL 9000 computer utility suffers an apparent malfunction which leads to the death of all humans on board except David Bowman. Through determination and cunning, David is able to outwit the supercomputer and regain control of the spaceship Discovery. Upon orbital insertion around Jupiter, however, David Bowman is confronted with a huge, black featureless monolith with the exact proportions of 1 by 4 by 9 (the squares of the first three positive integers). He takes a space pod to investigate. In the film, he is greeted by arguably the most surreal sequence of scenes in science fiction film history. In the novel, his last contact with Earth is the radio message "The thing's hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God!—it's full of stars!"
In this last section of the story (book and film), the reactivated monolith consumes Bowman and modifies him into something more than human. Bowman is led through a metamorphosis from a material being to an entity of pure energy, an entity referred to in the novel as the "Star Child". The process of transformation in the film is David Bowman transitioning through various human ages, first from young man to a dying elderly man, the latter finally transforming into a floating fetus. The alien technology that accelerated the evolution of ape-like hominids at the start of the story has now advanced Bowman to the next stage of human evolution.
In the novel, as the Star Child gazes upon Earth, he detonates a nuclear weapons satellite orbiting the planet.
2010: Odyssey Two (book) and 2010 (film)
Midway through the 2010 novel, Bowman returns to Earth in his Star Child form. His first action is to trigger a nuclear weapon in orbit around the Earth, in order to absorb the energy contained within for his own use. However, Clarke states that the Star Child is not concerned that many would be killed by the fallout passing through Earth's atmosphere.
Bowman contacts his former girlfriend, Betty Fernandez, appearing on her television screen by manipulating the tube, and in a more physical way to his elderly mother, who lies dying. In the novel he also relives various memories of his human history. After revisiting Earth, Bowman becomes less human, and begins to communicate directly with the alien intelligence that transformed him. He travels to Europa and observes the different life forms living in the liquid ocean beneath the ice shell, and then visits Jupiter and initiates a process that begins turning the gas-giant into a mini-sun.
Once more assuming his Bowman form, Dave contacts Dr. Heywood Floyd via HAL's communication system. HAL, notably, recognizes him as "Dave". Bowman warns Floyd and the crew of the Leonov to leave the orbit of Jupiter within 15 days (2 days in the movie). To convince Floyd, Bowman appears to him as a ghost (in the film), and a Bowman-shaped field of dust (in the book). As the Starchild's transformation of Jupiter occurs (it becomes engulfed with monoliths), the crew of the Leonov make good their exit, and Bowman gives one last message via HAL, warning the human race not to attempt future contact with Europa, where the new mini-sun has melted the oceans and ushered in a new era of evolution.
2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey
In 2061: Odyssey Three, Heywood Floyd is surprised to encounter HAL, now stored alongside Dave Bowman in the Europa monolith.
In 3001: The Final Odyssey, we meet the merged forms of Dave Bowman and HAL. The two have merged into one entity called "Halman" after Bowman rescued HAL from the dying Discovery One spaceship towards the end of 2010: Odyssey Two. Halman helps Frank Poole infect the monolith (which it once served) with a computer virus; as the life-forms in Jupiter's clouds were sacrificed to make Jupiter into a sun to warm Europa, it is feared that humanity would in turn be sacrificed for the new life on Europa.