3001: The Final Odyssey is the last installment of the Space Odyssey book series. It centers around the revival of Frank Poole in the year 3001 and his attempts to save humanity from disaster and to readjust to his new futuristic lifestyle, considering the fact that man has made many technological advances.
3001 follows the adventures of Frank Poole, the astronaut killed by the HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the Fourth Millennium, Poole's freeze-dried body is discovered in the Kuiper belt by a comet-collecting space tug named the Goliath, and revived. Poole is taken home to learn about the Earth in the year 3001.
This novel begins with a brief prologue describing the bioforms — dubbed the First-Born — who created the black monoliths. They evolved from "primordial soup", and over the course of millions of years, became a space-faring species. Perceiving that nothing was more precious than "mind," they catalysed the evolution of intelligent species wherever they went, by increasing the intelligent species' chance of survival. After visiting Earth, the First-Born found a way to impress themselves into the fabric of space and time, becoming effectively immortal. Meanwhile, the monoliths—implied to have been forgotten by their creators when they ascended to a higher state of being—continued to watch over their subjects.
3001 follows the adventures of Frank Poole, the astronaut killed by the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. One millennium later, Poole's freeze-dried body is discovered in the Kuiper belt by a comet-collecting space tug named the Goliath, and revived. Poole is taken home to learn about the Earth in the year 3001. Some of its notable features include the BrainCap, a brain–computer interface technology; genetically engineered dinosaur servants; and four gigantic space elevators located evenly around the Equator. Humans have also colonised the Jovian moons Ganymede and Callisto. TMA-1, the black monolith found on the Moon in 1999, has been brought to Earth in 2006 and installed in front of the United Nations Building in New York City.
It is determined that following the events of 2010: Odyssey Two and 2061: Odyssey Three, the Jovian monolith had sent a report to its superior monolith 450 light years away, and is expected to receive its orders toward humanity after the nine-century round-trip. Presumably, the monolith was empowered to obliterate the nascent biosphere of Jupiter, but needed a higher authority's approval to do the same with the technological civilisation on Earth. There is considerable worry that the judgment, based on the monolith's observations of humanity up to 2061, will be negative, and the human race thus destroyed as the Jovian bioforms discovered by David Bowman were wiped out (while making Jupiter a small sun to assist intelligence on Europa). Frank conscripts Bowman and HAL, who have now become a single entity—Halman—residing in the monolith's computational matrix, to infect the monolith with a computer virus. The monolith does receive orders to exterminate humanity, and starts a duplication cascade, whereupon millions of monoliths form two screens to prevent Solar light and heat from reaching Earth and its colonies. Due to Halman having already infected the first monolith, all the monoliths disintegrate.
Halman uploads itself into a petabyte-capacity holographic 3D storage medium and thus survives the disintegration of the monoliths, but is infected with the virus and is subsequently sealed by scientists in the Pico Vault. At the close of the story, Poole and other humans land on Europa to start peaceful relations with the primitive native Europans. A statement is made that the monolith's makers will not determine humanity's fate until "the Last Days".