2001 Nights

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Is the universe filled with lives? Is this empty space we seek to conquer truly a sea of fertility?


Just beyond that light! The final rendevous... Man, the Universe-- A higher order!


2001 Nights: A Space Fantasy by Yukinobu Hoshino is a love-letter to the classic hard sci-fi stories of yesteryear, especially the works of Arthur C. Clarke. It utilizes the themes and style of Arabian Nights to tell a fantastic history of manned space flight from the dawn of the 21st Century to the twilight of humanity. Tear jerkers abound.

The manga was published between 1984 and 1986. There have been two anime OVA adaptations of selected chapters: the one-shot Space Fantasia 2001 Nights in 1987, and TO, a two-episode CGI production from 2009.

Tropes used in 2001 Nights include:

  • Absent Aliens: Played with. The reader is clearly shown there are other human-like species in the universe, but none of the characters know this.
    • This is also the cause of the Bittersweet Ending where the governments of Earth choose to give up space exploration because no one has found any human-like life outside our planet.
  • African Terrorists: Combined with a little Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters in "Elliptical Orbit".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with KARC 9000, he just has a bizarre sense of humor.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Ozma was actually terraformed.
  • Artistic License Physics: Although Hoshino's work aspires to be hard science fiction, his treatment of science is sometimes inaccurate.
    • In "Lucifer Rising", a ship uses its radar transmitter to pass through a cloud of antimatter dust, the idea being that the electrons in the radio waves will annihilate the antimatter. However, radio waves are made of photons, and they don't annihilate antimatter because photons are their own antiparticle.
    • In "Medusa's Gaze", a team of astronauts are trapped when the soles of their spacesuit boots become vacuum-welded to a perfectly flat plain of ice. Vacuum welding is only supposed to happen between metals.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lots of them. Big one is at the very end: Earth has given up space exploration because the money is running out and few hospitable planets have been found. It's left to a new generation of explorers acting independently to explore the universe.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Completely subverted. He and three others are the only people that survive to the end of 'Lucifer Rising.'
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Scientific terms and the like are usually translated properly, but the wording of some lines is awkward, and some jokes are missed. (KARC was supposed to be KIRK.)
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Plenty of this.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: And this, too.
  • Expy: KARC 9000, a combination of HAL 9000 and Captain Kirk. Also expies of real life people, such as Frank C. Borman, who is based on Frank Borman of Apollo 8 fame.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Faux Symbolism: 'Lucifer Rising' is FULL of it. Scenes are often punctuated with quotations from Paradise Lost.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The title TO was intended to be an abbreviation for "Two thousand One", and also to evoke a sense of humanity's progression to the future. It is, however, extremely difficult to Google for.
  • Kissing Cousins: Or rather, Kissing Twins It comes out of left field and is never explained.
  • May-December Romance: What at first appears to be this in "Elliptical Orbit" turns out to be a twin paradox.
  • Sapient Ship: MY NAME IS-- ROCKET. I AM ROCKET...
  • Shout-Out: In addition to the characters named after real and fictional people (see Expy), the concepts of a planet made of antimatter, a quantum black hole swallowing a planet, trees that serve as organic rockets, and the word "starseed" are all borrowed from stories by Larry Niven.
  • Standard Sci Fi History
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The American biologist and Russian interpreter in "Symbiotic Planet".
  • Tear Jerker: If it isn't a Crowning Moment of Awesome or a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, it's probably this.
  • Time Dilation
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Cleaver has a great one in 'Lucifer Rising.'

So farewell, hope!... Farewell, remorse! As good to me is lost; evil, be thou my good!