Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
GARDEN OF RAMA (Sequel to Rama II) Hardcover – August 1, 1991
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Introduced in Clarke's 1973 Hugo- and Nebula-winning Rendezvous with Rama and most recently seen in Clarke and Lee's Rama II , the massive spacecraft Rama is back, but the luster and sense of wonder generated by its first appearances have eroded. The once-exciting vessel, a "cylindrical worldlet," has been turned into a cheaply painted backdrop for an equally garish exposition of vice-lord politics. When Rama returns to earth and demands a sample of humanity for observation, a lying, corrupt government hands over 2000 citizens. These individuals serve as a microcosm to reflect most of today's big sociological problems, thus implying that in 300 years no existing problems will have been solved nor will any others have been created. Clarke's unmistakable style is sadly lacking. Essentially, the book suffers from an imbalance between what occurs onstage and what offstage. Minor characters are built up with detailed introductions and then generally ignored. Major events, about which reader interest has been piqued, are skipped, then given a one-sentence review. Potentially captivating interactions with aliens and advanced technology are ignored. Readers are advised to give this voyage a miss and wait for Rama's next adventure.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Trapped aboard the massive Raman spacecraft as it leaves Earth's solar system, three cosmonauts begin a 13-year voyage toward an unkown destination. Combining the best of space adventure (as the spacefarers encounter other life forms within the multi-habitat vessel) with human drama (as children are born and raised in an unearthly environment), this third novel in the Rama cycle asks as many questions as it answers. Recommended, along with Clarke's classic Rendezvous with Rama ( LJ 8/73) and Rama II (Bantam, 1989, coauthored with Lee), for most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
To quickly summarize, this is essentially a book written in five parts, and that's how I'm going to review it. Throughout the book, you'll encounter contrived, unrealistic plot-devices-of-convinience, piles of unnecessary and boring sex (if you're going to write a sex scene, at least make it interesting), a little pre-planned incest (really), the author(s) strange obsession with marrying teenagers to old men, and several point-of-view characters semi religious/spiritual dreams and other assorted religious gibberish.
Here's the TL;DNR version: This book is horribly contrived, contains a host of shallow, mechanical characters and basically turns into the Jerry Springer show. Rama is practically non-existant. If you want to read a Sci-Fi book about Rama, go read Rendezvous With Rama again, because you'll get no Rama here.
Part i: Nicole's Journal - The returning cast that was left aboard Rama II, Nicole and Richard (now married) and Patrick O'Toole. This section of the book is basically a afternoon talk show drama in which Richard fathers two children with Nicole, who then decides she needs to have more kids with Patrick for some level of genetic diversity. See, her plan is that since they're the only humans around, her children will intermarry (and you thought I was kidding about the incest...wrong!) and carry on the species inside Rama. Richard gets jealous over Nicole's reproductive ideas with Patrick and runs off into Rama in a huff, not to be seen for several years. One hundred pages, five kids and 10 years later, Rama arrives at The Node. Occasionally we're reminded that all this is happening on an alien space craft the size of a small city moving at half of light speed through interstellar space, but that interesting stuff takes a deep back seat to the inter character drama. Good news - you can read this sentence, then just skip this section of the book: Richard, Nicole and Patrick along with their children (Simone, Katie, Benjay, Patrick Jr. and Ellie) arrive at the Node after a long trip aboard Rama.
Part II: The Node - This section of the book is actually interesting and feels more like a Clarke book. The previously mentioned characters arrive at the Node, another, even more massive Raman space structure. There, they meet their guide, "The Eagle" and a few other alien races, explore the wonders of the Node and discover that it's really just another waypoint designed to collect and catalog space-fairing beings like us humans. The Eagle then tells the human crew of Rama II that they will return to Mars orbit and put out a welcome mat for 2,000 more humans who will live inside a habitat in Rama for an unknown amount of time, along with, potentially, a few other alien species in separate habitats. Honestly, you can read The Node section of the book, then toss it out. Along, I'd give it 3.5 stars.
Part III: Rendezvous at Mars - Not nearly as interesting as it sounds. Simone and old man O'Toole stay at the Node per The Eagle's instructions and get married (Simone is 13, O'Toole is over 70 - first teen sex scene...yikes). Everyone else goes into suspended animation and they arrive at Mars. Alarmist government people on earth essentially lie to 2000 people, telling them that they're going to re-colonize Mars, but instead they get stuffed into Rama. No one really complains about this though. I guess it was easier to ignore the fact that a couple of thousand people were lied to in the biggest way imaginable than to have to explain that. Right, so this section is fairly boring. We're introduced to a host of new point of view characters, many of whom very closely resemble the characters from Rama II in all but name (making new characters is hard work...skip it!) The new characters are a cross-section of humanity, from saintly to Machiavellian. So we set up the inevitable showdown between former crime boss (Nakamura) and his followers vs supra geniuses Nicole and Richard who have had a long time to prepare for this. Guess who's going to come out on top?!? (It's not the really smart people who had a long time to prepare).
Part IV - Epithalamion: If you haven't stopped reading yet, kudos to you sir or ma'am, but the pain has only just begun. In this part of the book, things really derail quickly. Basically, a human habitat has been built inside Rama (because why have any of the amazing parts of Rama to investigate when you can just build a tiny little Earth inside it and bypass all the technical difficulty). Bad guy Nakamura basically runs rough shod over everyone and no attempt is made to get him under control until it's way too late. Smart people do stupid things, Nakamura is ahead of them at every turn and Part IV basically requires you to shut off your brain and not ask how or why at any point.
Like when Nakamura shows up on a yacht, "Where did he get a yacht?"
Quit asking question you!
"How did an economy that Nakamura controls come into being?"
Making up economies from nothing is hard, we skipped that part, stop with the questions!
"How did Max get a shotgun to break up that mob scene?"
Hey, if we can give a character a yacht, smuggling or producing guns must be easy despite a total lack of manufacturing. What did we tell you about the questions already!
Part V - The Trial - in which Nakamura, the mustache twirling big, bad, evil guy has taken total control. The humans find another habitat, owned by The Avians (who we met in Rama II), break into it, start a war (with machine guns and lots of other firepower - no idea where they got it from...that's not important, no questions, NO Questions!!) and slaughter scads of Avians. Richard escapes to help the Avians and meets their symbiotic partners then flees the Rama version of New York. Nicole is imprisoned, awaiting execution. Other meaningless stuff happens. You won't care at this point anyway.
The end - but not really, because it's continued in Rama Revealed. I bet that Nakamura guy gets his comeuppance, but I don't really care.
Garden of Rama was certainly not what I expected after the second Rama book where they were happily exploring the interior of Rama and sure to find a garden of some kind or another. Instead, Garden of Rama is first filled with the day to day details of Nicole’s family life, parenting, relationships, her memories of life on planet Earth, her feelings and longings, misgivings, hopes and fears. The story slowly develops until we meet other HUMANS.
Just think – you’re sent to a planet which is a virtual Garden of Eden; you never have to do any cooking, cleaning or laundry; the weather is always perfect; the transportation system is state of the art; the views are breathtaking; you’ve established the physical amenities of your life on Earth. What could go wrong? And how fast could it go wrong? Ha ha. Just put 2000 human beings together in a space like that and let’s find out. Here we have a combination of various races and strata of society, including, (just to make things interesting), “clean” convicts. Needless to say, it’s a recipe for disaster – these people didn’t leave behind any of their vices, prejudices, greed, or fear. Along with intelligence, ingenuity, passion and curiousity comes criminality, discrimination, corruption, and politics, and in this book, the bad hats seem to win out, even to the extent of waging an unprovoked war that nearly destroys a whole other extraterrestrial species. The few high-minded persons who have any sense at all are systematically being eliminated.
It sounds just like the planet Earth today: wars waged for no good reason, the strong and evil taking advantage of the weaker, the fouling of the environment, and the herd mentality of the masses that can be manipulated for their own demise and the fortunes of a few evil control freaks.
I gave this story 4 stars instead of 5 – I love Nicole des Jardin but could have done with less of her inner maunderings and more action and exploration of Rama.
I have read several other of Mr. Clarke's books and loved them. However, the Garden of Rama was so bad that I had to quit in the middle. I can only conclude that comparing the books that Mr. Clarke has written himself to the total disaster that the remainder of the Rama series turned out to be, that the coauthor decided to elevate his meager literary status by adding his name onto that of Mr. Clarke. In short folks, don't waste you money on any of the books following Rendezvous.