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Cradle Hardcover – August 1, 1988

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Cradle + The Garden of Rama + Rama Revealed (Bantam Spectra Book)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; 1st Edition edition (August 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446513792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575041646
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,264,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arthur C. Clarke is the world's best known and bestselling author of science fiction, winner of many awards and accolades for his writing.Gentry Lee is a screenwriter and chief scientist on NASA's deep space exploration programme. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Hidden plot, cardboard characters, disjointed storyline.
Cassandra Arnold, Children's Librarian
I really cannot recommend this book to anyone, so if you haven't read it and were considering it I have to give you fair warning.
Joshua Koppel
It's not nearly as good as the Rama series, but more enjoyable than much of what's out there in science fiction.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having thoroughly enjoyed Clarke's solo works, especially Rendezvous with Rama, I thought I would give Cradle a shot as that story idea looked interesting. I would soon be disappointed however as I began sinking in the quicksand that is Gentry Lee. If you are looking for a really good science fiction book, you should pass on this one and continue your search.
The first few hundred pages are filled with more-or-less pointless character development, clearly written by Lee, that would be perfectly at home in a Harlequin romance novel. A few pages of sci-fi, clearly written by Clarke, are interspersed so that the reader may be reminded that they paid $6 for a Clarke novel and not $2 for a grocery store romance tome. To be fair, I will admit that the general character interaction and background does come into play later on. But it just drags on and on and is littered with unnecessary sex scenes. I fail to understand Lee's obsession with writing about sex in the middle of a science fiction novel. Once would be OK, but after about the 4th time I found myself dropping the book and thinking "again?!" In addition, Lee's obsession with race, with each character being introduced as being black, white, Arab, Mexican, etc. is very annoying. The way that the race is then portrayed in the most cliché way is increasingly so. Lee may be an able and accomplished scientist, but his writing does not belong on the same pages with that of Arthur C. Clarke.
For some reason, probably because I had paid 900 yen for the book, I decided to stick with it and see the story through to the end. Around page 250 (of 408 total) the book got interesting. From that point forward I found myself wanting to continue to see what would happen next.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Lawrence on August 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember receiving this book with excitement. Arthur C Clarke was up until then a consistently good read: capturing, like few others, a real sense of wonder without belabouring his points.

This book was his first "collaboration" with Gentry Lee, and from here on his books completely lost me. Lee seems to be obsessed with rubbing our noses in the lesser qualities of humanity while Clarke always made me feel there was something better about us. In this respect I consider that Lee sabotages and subverts Arthur C Clarke's original style and visions. Likewise, he emphasises religious topics where Clarke was always refreshingly free of this.

He did the same thing with Rama, taking something wonderful and piling it up with low-grade human dross. In some respects his writing is realistic, but he is too pessimistic and seems to be fundamentally at odds with the genre he is in; he wants to write basic human drama but for some reason insists on doing it within science fiction trappings.

As others have said he is unfortunately not all that great at human drama anyway. There is a lot of effort expended, but characters somehow fail to convince me.

At the end of Cradle I was left feeling flat and uninterested, and I can't really remember much of the story.

The politest way to view this "collaboration" is that the "marketing department" simply chose to use Arthur C Clarke's name to boost a less-than-average writer. Clearly, Clarke has lost interest in the mechanics of writing, or at least no longer has the time for it. As a result I consider that he stopped writing some time ago and discount Cradle and the Rama sequels entirely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve P on September 15, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had a very hard time with this book. I was quite confused, as I had read the whole Rama series as they came out. While perusing lists for something to read, I came across Cradle.
The beginning vignette about the "zoo craft" was, IMHO, written moderately well, but as soon as Carol comes on the scene, it gets very, well, amatuerish. I even went back and reviewed the Rama books, thinking that maybe I had read them so long ago that maybe they [were bad] then, but no, alas, they were (mostly) well constructed plots, with characters with whom I could relate, and relatively few confusing sections. Rama (original) did seem quite different from the others, but that made sense, since Clarke did the original in 1979 (or so, I think), and Lee came on with Rama II.
The opening vignette in Cradle seemed as if it were written by a totally different author, then shipped across the sea to another author who finished the rest of the book.
Then, it dawned on me, Cradle was either a) Written by an amateur author (Gentry Lee), with very little involvement with Clarke, or b) written by an entirely different author than the Rama series, again with little Clarke influence.
The constant switching "mindpoints" (where in one paragraph you hear what Carol is thinking, then the very next sentence you hear what Nick is thinking) is a typical early "learning writer" syndrome. There is a lot of "telling" instead of "showing". The plot points are haphazardly structured throughout, with interesting tidbits thrown in here and there without an uberpurpose. I felt throughout the whole novel that it might not go anywhere, and sho-nuff, it really didn't.
In the Rama II and beyond series, these problems are significantly improved, and show levels of improvement over the evolution of the series.
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