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Rama II Paperback – August 22, 1991

2.9 out of 5 stars 404 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Rama Series

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Paperback, August 22, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1973, Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama won the Hugo, Nebula and Campbell awards. This new novel is the second in a trilogy about the mystifying world-ships and their flybys of our solar system. Unfortunately, the focus is no longer on alien mysteries, but on the petty concerns of an unlikely assortment of cosmonauts. The 12 specialists chosen to explore a second Raman craft passing through human space 70 years after the first are more involved with adultery, religion and media contracts than they are with scientific advancement. Not only are their actions unrealistic, but the chapter titles telegraph what comes next. The excitement of discovery that was present in the first book is altogether missing from this soap opera plot.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Arthur C. Clarke is awesomely informed about physics and astronomy, and blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations... New York TIMES For many readers Arthur C. Clarke is the very personification of science fiction The ENCYCLOPEDIA of Science Fiction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Edition edition (August 22, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857231937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857231939
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (404 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,123,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Look, I can understand why you'd want to read this book. "Rendezvous With Rama" was a gem of a science fiction book. Maybe it was a little short on character development, but with such a wonderful world to explore, who cares? Around every corner of the exploration were wonders... flights over a cylindrical sea, biots, mile-long stairways... Wasn't it great? Didn't you feel like you were reading the journals of explorers who themselves felt like ants in a cathedral? Didn't the whole book just blow your mind?
Well you WON'T find any of those virtues in this book or any of the sequale that follow.
Gentry Lee seems to have been given the seemingly impossible task of making RAMA--a space-bourn Grand Canyob-sized artifact of an alien culture--a boring place. What's his secret? He filled Rama with insipid caricatures straight from a 20th century soap opera.
Remember that heroic group from the first book that pulled together in the face of catastrophe? Gone! Rama II and it's sequals leave us with short-sighted bureaucrats, beautiful-but-power-mad Italian women, impossibly altruistic scientists, amoral lawyers, American corporate types who want to use Raman technology to create new weapons (boy, that's not cliche!), cowboy presidents, the pope, African-American gangsters, chess-playing Russians, oversexed teens, murderously jealous lovers, and a computer geek who overcomes his social ineptness to save the day and win the girl (Gentry Lee, not surprisingly, is a computer guy).
Maybe Clarke and Lee were worried that Commander Norton and his crew were all cut from the same "noble scientist" cloth that many of Clarke's characters use. If so, they overcompensated drastically.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Why, oh why, did he have to take such a jewel of the storyteller's art and drown it in such dreck? This sequel is brutally bad. It is worse than bad. It is a betrayal.
If Rendezvous With Rama is the high point in Clarke's career, then this sequel is most certainly his nadir. It sacrifices everything that makes its progenitor such a classic. The mystery and inspiration of the Ramans are turned into a cheap stage prop for an episode of Survivor. We are treated to the Roman spectacle of a bunch of worthless misfits, each conniving to remain the last one standing. We neither know nor care about their fate. Halfway through, I found myself praying that the Ramans would just show up and ray the lot of them.
To understand how bad this novel really is, one must understand why the original is so good.
The best science fiction gives us something no other genre can: a cosmic perspective that is vastly greater than the merely human. In offering this, it teaches us valuable lessons like humility, tolerance and understanding. And it teaches us these things not at the personal level, but at the universal one. For example, suppose we meet an alien species that is nobler than we. Nobler in every way and in every detail. In art, science, philosophy, morality. What if, due to some cosmic calamity, only one race could survive? Should it be the alien's or ours? Is there a higher cosmic ethic than survival of our species?
This is just a poor approximation to the kinds of reflections that good science fiction can provoke; yet it gives you a sense of the thoughts that the original novel stirred. Such a book cleaves to your heart and to your mind and just won't let go.
Now, take this theme and trivialise it. Consider instead a supermodel who is prettier than we.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Rendezvous With Rama," the first novel in this series, is one of the all-time classics of science fiction, brilliantly capturing the exhilaration of discovery. "Rama II" rivals "Exorcist II: The Heretic" as perhaps the worst sequel ever. It is a bloated windbag of a book that manages to be both pretentious and trivial.
Clarke, who was about as religious as Madalyn O'Hair, somehow let himself be talked into attaching his name to this preachy soap opera, whose climactic sequence features an outer-space baptism. Think of an especially long and tedious episode of "Melrose Place" with Jerry Falwell as a guest star and you'll have a pretty good idea of this travesty.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
...
The original book in this series was very good-close to a classic. One of the few criticisms one could make of it was it was so transparently commercially manipulative was clear more books were on the way and this was as much--if not more--a money making exercise as an artistic one. But the book was good and this trilogy thing has apparently become a (bad) habit in the sci-fi world, so you give people a little leeway.
Or I did till this monstrosity came out.
If you read the first book then read this one, one thing is brutally clear-the books were written by different people. Clearly this book should have read "By Gentry Lee, based on the ideas of Arthur C. Clark.
The book is awful-the worst sort of 4th rate pulp sci-fi fiction. Sex and sensationalism replace sci-fi as the driving force of the book. It advances the readers understanding of the Raman'-their form, ideas, intentions, etc.--not one whit. It's even a lousy read if you never had exposure to the first novel and were clueless about the whole Rama concept.
It's sad to see a giant of the genre sell out but I can think of no other explanation for this abomination.
Save your money...
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