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Rendezvous with Rama Hardcover – December 1, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 964 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Rama Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An all-time science fiction classic, Rendezvous with Rama is also one of Clarke's best novels--it won the Campbell, Hugo, Jupiter, and Nebula Awards. A huge, mysterious, cylindrical object appears in space, swooping in toward the sun. The citizens of the solar system send a ship to investigate before the enigmatic craft, called Rama, disappears. The astronauts given the task of exploring the hollow cylindrical ship are able to decipher some, but definitely not all, of the extraterrestrial vehicle's puzzles. From the ubiquitous trilateral symmetry of its structures to its cylindrical sea and machine-island, Rama's secrets are strange evidence of an advanced civilization. But who, and where, are the Ramans, and what do they want with humans? Perhaps the answer lies with the busily working biots, or the sealed-off buildings, or the inaccessible "southern" half of the enormous cylinder. Rama's unsolved mysteries are tantalizing indeed. Rendezvous with Rama is fast moving, fascinating, and a must-read for science fiction fans. Clarke collaborated with Gentry Lee in writing several Rama sequels, beginning with Rama II. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

"Mr. Clarke is splendid...We experience that chilling touch of the alien, the not-quite-knowable, that distinguishes SF at its most technically imaginative." --The New York Times
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books; Reissue edition (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899684491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899684499
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (964 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,502,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my youth, when I started reading SF, I was never a major devotee of Arthur C. Clarke; I was mostly into Heinlein and Asimov. But I read this one when it was first published (1973) and I liked it so well I kept the hardback for years and years.
I'm not sure what finally happened to it, but at any rate I've just recently gotten around to replacing it. And the story is still as great a read as it was when it was new. I can't claim to have read everything Clarke ever wrote, but this is certainly the best of his works that I _have_ read.
Other reviewers have pointed out, entirely correctly, that this isn't a book to read for character development. That's true of Clarke's books in general, I think, but it's especially apt here, where the 'star' of the book is an artifact of an alien civilization. In fact, even the 'star' doesn't get a lot of development, since in the end it remains deeply mysterious. (I don't know what happens in the sequels; I haven't read them and I haven't heard good things about them. I'm treating this as a standalone work.)
But man, if you want to read a gripping, haunting story about the first human exploration of a space probe (or something) from an extraterrestrial civilization -- and if you want to watch the exploration process unfold and feel as though you're participating in the discovery yourself -- then this is a book for you. This is what Clarke does best: when you read a story through his eyes, you're looking outward at the objects of scientific investigation, and helping yourself to a chunk of the intellectual wonder and joy that goes with such investigation.
The excitement here is the excitement of hard science, not of character development. If that's what you want, you'll probably love this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Briefly; a very large cylinder appears in our solar system and an expedition is sent out to investigate what obviously is an extraterrestrial object. They are able to enter the cylinder and watch it slowly "wake up" from the inside. The alien technology they encounter is highly advanced and awe inspiring but still possible to understand.

The story develops in a fairly slow pace, but it is full of suspense and mystery. The discoveries that the astronauts make are so fantastic and described with such lucid imagination that all I could feel while reading this book was anticipation and awe. Furthermore, the more the astronauts explore and discover the deeper the mysteries seem to grow. One thing I really like about Arthur C. Clarke is that his descriptions are scientifically plausible and still very imaginative. I highly recommend this Sci-Fi novel.

Arthur C. Clarke is my favorite Science Fiction author and Rendezvous with Rama is one of my favorites. It was a collection of short stories that included my all time favorite short story "The wall of darkness" that originally got me hooked on Arthur C. Clarke (review coming). Arthur C. Clarke will never be forgotten.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A mysterious object dubbed Rama is found entering the Solar System. A team of cosmonauts set out to intercept the craft, only to discover an environment so alien yet strangely human that debates over the purpose the craft become wildly out of control. Perhaps one of Clarke's best writings, he focuses on mankind's eventual transcendence, a second coming, a return to the garden of Eden, and human nature. He believes that human nature is fundamentally good, yet as humans, we have to overcome prejudices to survive. Not only does this book make one think about mankind's role in the universe and if there are intelligent speices out there, it also evokes fantastic imagery. Imagine gigantic bio-metallic crab creatures, a sea that curves overhead, and a waterfall that moves in a spiral. This book is a great read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all: thanks to the Scandinavian parts of Texas for pointing me to A.Clarke, whom I had previously known only on a 'no name basis' as the writer of 2001 Space Odyssey. I have high respect and liking for the SF genre, but not much knowledge of it, apart from one or the other Verne, Wells, Samjatin, Huxley, Orwell, Bradbury, Asimov, Lem... Of course not counting Douglas Adams, who played another ball game, didn't he?
Rama is a worth while experience. Good Science Fiction is usually also about 'science', but if it is good, it is much about society, about history, usually in the future. The evil cliche term of the paradigm comes to practical use when you read good SF. (The word was invented by evil consultants who needed excuses for the havoc they caused.) SF is about changing paradigms. There is lots of that going on here.
In the 22nd century, the United Planets, which seem to be essentially Earth, Mercury and Mars (which are Earthling colonies) plus some moons are confronted with a scary phenomenon: a huge artificial space body travelling with high speed near the Earth. Luckily the initially silly Star Wars technology had later been developed to the advantage of peaceful purposes and helps arranging a 'rendezvous' with the alien craft, named Rama because the Roman and Greek mythologies have been exhausted in the process of naming space. The process of exploring the strange space body and of thinking through its implications is the actual plot.
Go for it!
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