Rama II: The Sequel to Rendezvous with Rama Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1990
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"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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“Offers one surprise after another.”—The New York Times
“A masterpiece . . . one of the year’s best hard SF epics.”—The Houston Post
From the Publisher
"Offers one surprise after another." -- The New York Times.
"A masterpiece ... one of the year's best hard SF epics." -- The Houston Post
- Lexile Measure : 970L
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553286587
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553286588
- Product Dimensions : 4.15 x 1 x 6.86 inches
- Publisher : Spectra (November 1, 1990)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #400,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The 'series' is now a Space Soap Opera, its really that simple.....I have the Kindle edition so I can share that 24% of the book had passed before they even got out into space to face the new Rama and 29% before they went in because once they were out there, more soap opera events (that have exactly zero to do with Rama and what goes on later) took place. A total waste of a great storeyline vis a vis the original and where it could have gone....
I am not likely to finish this book at this point.
But I will be sure to avoid reading any book that AA Clarke 'collaborated' on with another author. In this case it seems as if AC Clarke only contributed his name to the book.
I understand now why this book was on sale. It actually made me worry for what may have caused Clarke to put his his name on a novel that does not resemble his writing style at all.
Rendezvous with Rama may be one of my favorite Arthur C. Clarke books. It's just amazing, hard science fiction where the only important star is an asteroid in outer space, and the scientists who are working on it are bland uninteresting automatons.
But after reading that book the one thing I would NEVER have asked for is more information on the back story of the characters. Laura Ernst was a Surgeon and a Commander. Guess what? That's all you need to know, is she good? Well yeah I'm sure she was, she was on the ONLY space mission to a major asteroid find near Earth.
Then over 10 years later Rama II comes out and just makes you appreciate the original more. Arthur C. Clarke's name is still on it in huge letters, with Gentry Lee following it up. But after reading half the book it's clear Arthur C. Clark did nothing for this book, and Gentry Lee's contributions took over. No longer do you have the terse hard science of the book, and instead you get.... drama!!!!
Instead of these one dimensional characters (which again was perfectly fine in the first book) you get a ton of personality. In fact the only character that has no personality in the book is the asteroid itself. The entire focus of the book, the major location, has no personality. They spend 10 pages of back story of one character meeting the pope and learning about a saint, and they spend about 1 page to say "It's the same as the first asteroid". Over 30 percent of the book (the first 30 percent mind you) is about everything that happens before the space mission, and here's the thing... none of it is interesting. Period. I don't care about person A. interacting with person B. I don't care about a fight. I don't care about a bad/good mother, or her king baby daddy. I don't care about ANY of it, because guess what? That's not important when discussing the asteroid. The only important character doesn't appear for the first third of the book.
So when the asteroid finally is reached, there's a lot more questions. It appears that at least 3 characters are unstable, two of them have a fight days before the launch... over a third. And somehow we're supposed to believe the expedition didn't have backups for all of these people. One character has robots who perform shakespeare.. ON A SPACE SHUTTLE which probably cost millions of dollars to transport anything into space? In fact many of the characters and decisions of that space shuttle just don't make sense.
But the worst is the mysteries. There's mysteries which are painfully obvious. Person A has a problem, person B gave them wine the night before. Person C remembers both facts but doesn't seem to put it together. Then Person B also gave drugs to someone who was acting erratic. and drugs to a third person..... really?
The exposition of the poisoning is even worse. The character of Fransesca Sabatini may set women 300 years back in the book (the good news is there's in the years 2000 so she'll only reset us about 100 years). She's promiscuous, she's conniving, it's clearly she's got everyone under her finger, she sleeps with someone just because she can. She made a couple famous documentaries, one major one on sex. and then when you have all that, out of no where she drops a story about how multiple different people molested her. One against her will then the next as a way to get away from it. And this develops her character how? It's clear the author is trying to build her into being a strong female role model, except that she uses sex as a weapon, she is to blame for at least two deaths so far, she wants to "take care of a third". Her personal opinions on sex are questionable at best, and her backstory is just... ugh.
She's not the only bad character. You have a single track mind on one of the scientists (you know the people who normally are slow to act and put their hypotheses to the real test), another female character who acts more like columbo than the doctor she's supposed to be? ("I could dump the biological data that takes 45 seconds, but instead I'm going to go take a nap... hope that doesn't get anyone killed") The shakesphere guy who honestly could be the most interesting guy, A famous Raman scholar who... gets ignored all the time, and so on. In fact there's not a single character I could really call "good", and the only one I wanted to read about is non existent.
You are on the most wonderful and fanciful thing to EVER happen to human kind and we're spending time talking about molestation, and petty fights? We're spending time on mysteries? We're spending time with a crew that is so dysfunctional the question needs to be repeatedly ask "WHO APPROVED THESE PEOPLE?" There's at least 6 out of the 12 people in the story who should not be on the space shuttle for any reason. It's not like they couldn't find others to replace them. They specifically mention one character having a backup if his secret getting out. But somehow they all got on the space shuttle together?
Save yourself some time. Read Rendezvous with Rama twice, because honestly the first half of this book is so bad it is unlikely I ever even attempt to read the second half. There's no hard science here. There's only a horrible sequel to what was one of the best unsolved mysteries in science fiction of our time.
Top reviews from other countries
It's immediately noticeable that this is not by the same writer as Rendezvous with Rama, the feel is completely different.
When a second Rama ship appears in the solar system, 70 years after the first, a new mission sets out to meet it. Most of the first quarter of the book is taken up with building characters and a 'history' of the Earth between Raman visits, much of it is superfluous to the story.
The make up of the crew is not really believable; in contrast to the professional crew in the first book, several members of this crew have characters that would not realistically make it through the kind of psychological testing a crew on a mission of this importance would be subjected to. There are narcissistic baddies and saccharin sweet heroes. Though much time is spent filling in back stories of some characters, others we barely know. They fill out the crew, but we know nothing of their motivations and feelings.
The book is at it's best when it is closest to it's predecessor. Namely, when it concentrates on the mission to explore the Rama ship. There are new revelations and discoveries and this crew has more equipment to help with their travels inside the mammoth structure.
The character conflicts are obviously designed to inject tension and drama, but sometimes they are a bit corny. The climax of the story should have been full of tension and anticipation (in the hands of a more skilful writer it would have been!), but is actually a bit of a let down. There are also some quite important areas of the plot left unresolved and with the ending in this book I can't see them being part of the next novel.
This isn't a bad book. It just suffers a little when put up against the brilliance of 'Rendezvous with Rama'
Nothing that happens in the first 2/3 of the book has any bearing on the final third and the climax of the story is really not worth the time taken to get there.
If you are strongly Christian then you may enjoy parts of the book. If you are strongly a fan of science fiction then you are unlikely to enjoy any of it at all.
The first third of the book basically consists of a number of ill-conceived and poorly executed character sketches which amount to little more than standard Hollywood character types. Endless back stories for these characters are regurgitated in an attempt to make them interesting; this attempt fails utterly. The pace is so ponderous and barely refers to Rama at all.
In the second third the wondrous and mysterious thing that is Rama serves as backdrop for a misplaced and frankly pathetic murder mystery. It's not until the final third of the book that we see any real Rama action. Until this point the exploration of Rama has been put off for a number of implausible political and safety reasons, with the characters constantly taking naps, just to slow down the already slumbering pace of action.
There is no sense of wonder here, which the original book inspired. The worst aspect for me was that the story dripped with Christianity. God is constantly mentioned, visits to and video conferences with the Pope, prayers and baptisms. I had to skip some pages as they were sickening and actually found myself at a number of points saying out loud "oh for f&*% sake".
In conclusion, I wish I had heeded a friend's warning that Rama II wasn't a patch on the original. I think he was very kind in his assessment. One of the very worst books I have ever read, and if it wasn't for the hope it would expand on the original I simply wouldn't have bothered reading to the end. Unfortunately I purchased 'Garden of Rama' at the same time, and after checking I see it was also co-authored by Gentry Lee. I think I'll chuck it on the fire in case I'm ever tempted to read it.
It focused more on the people exploring it and the petty politics and their relationships to each other, feels more like a half story that people did not know how to finish or tie up.
Not Arthur C Clarke's finest novel
It would be more bearable if there was some sort of payoff but it's not much of a spoiler to say there isn't. There is more exploration of Rama itself but, in retrospect, they may as well have not bothered. No questions answered, no motivations revealed, no hints as to why this was dragged out so long.
If you are planning on reading the rest of the series you would still do well to read this, but feel free to skip over basically the entire first third of the book, and also skim over anything that goes into dream territory (did I mention it keeps doing that?). When you cut right down to the main story it satisfies *just* enough to be worth reading, although mostly in the context of hoping the next entry will be better by the time it ends.