In the introduction to "A Meeting with Medusa", it is mentioned that this is a prequel for "2010: A Space Odyssey". If so, why was the life on Jupiter not mentioned in 2010?

Also, if there was intelligent life on Jupiter, then why was it destroyed by the higher-intelligent people (who made Jupiter into a star)?

2 Answers 2


The justification for this is given several times over in the books, twice in 2010 alone:

And because, in all the Galaxy, they had found nothing more precious than Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed, and sometimes they reaped.

And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed.

Life on Jupiter very much is mentioned in 2010, and again — word-for-word — in 2061 and again in 3001:
There were jet-propelled torpedoes like the squids of the terrestrial oceans, hunting and devouring the huge gasbags. But the balloons were not defenceless; some of them fought backs with electric thunderbolts and with clawed tentacles like kilometre-long chainsaws.
The opinion of the "farmers" on that life and its prospects is clearly stated in 2010 also:
[…] Jupiter was an evolutionary cul-de-sac. Consciousness would never emerge here; even if it did, it would be doomed to a stunted existence. A purely aerial culture might develop, but in an environment where fire was impossible, and solids scarcely existed, it could never even reach the Stone Age.


Life on Jupiter is in fact mentioned in the novel that the "2010" movie is based on: Bowman's avatar visits both Europa and Jupiter, and finds primitive (not intelligent) life forms in both places. The Monolith's controllers let him know that they consider it very unlikely for the gaseous lifeforms on Jupiter to ever achieve intelligence, but see that potential in the life on Europa. Apparently they have no compuctions about playing god and destroying the lesser life to improve the conditions for that potential.

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